How To Avoid Flying a MAX Airplane

There are two models of MAX airplanes that are currently in service around the world. They are the 737-8 MAX and the 737-9 MAX. Passengers have asked “how can I avoid flying on a MAX airplane?” Here’s our advice:


Don’t purchase a ticket on a MAX airplane. When you go to purchase your ticket, check to see if there are details about the airplane. Each airline has their own way of providing this information. For example, Alaska Airlines has a “Details” link where you can see the airplane model.


Sign up for notifications for changes to your flight. For example, some airlines will alert you if the time of the flight has changed or if the model has changed. Some airlines will not inform you if the airplane changes.


As you approach the day of your flight, check to see if there have been any changes to your flight. If you are now scheduled on a MAX, call the airline and tell them you want to be rebooked on another flight. Some airlines will allow you to do this at no cost, whereas others might charge a fee. If they insist on charging a fee, then we recommend you escalate your complaint to a more senior airline employee.


On the day you are to fly, check to see if any changes have been made. This is when the most changes typically occur because airlines will try and move airplanes around to deal with current maintenance and weather issues and/or will try to ensure the airplanes are filled to capacity. You need to check the status of your flight and if you find yourself scheduled on a MAX airplane you should talk with the gate agent to see what can be done. It is important to note this is not the gate agent’s fault, so being polite but firm is the best technique. If you are lucky there might be another flight, perhaps a little later that day that will allow you to avoid flying a MAX airplane.


If all else fails you will need to make a personal decision on whether or not you fly on that airplane. We recommend sending a complaint letter to the airline CEO requesting reimbursement and a complaint letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary. Other ideas include complaining to your legislative representative(s). Here’s a link to the DOT Consumer Guide for Air Travel