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American Airlines has, at the time of writing, taken delivery of six Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. This may not seem like news you’re should be particularly interested in but, if you fly with American Airlines with any frequency (especially out of Miami), this is probably a blog post you should pay attention to.
The American Airlines 737 Max 8 aircraft has a cabin configuration that the airline will eventually use on as many of its short-haul aircraft as it can get away with and it’s a configuration no traveler should be looking forward to.
This is the aircraft that has introduced 30″ seat pitch (leg room) to the American Airlines fleet (there are also A319 now flying with 30″ pitch too) and which offers a lavatory so small that an American Airlines pilot called it “the most miserable experience in the world”.
30″ of leg room on the American Airlines 737 MAX 8 – image courtesy of Airbus777 via Flickr
View From The Wing has been great at shining a spotlight on the experience this aircraft provides and the following quote, attributed to an American Airlines pilot, is from that blog:
“It’s the most miserable experience in the world and everybody I’ve ever talked to that had to fly on this thing… Alaska Airlines has a 737-800 as we do and has 4 lavatories. We have 3.”
“Now you’ve added 12 more seats, no more lavatories, and you’ve shrunk that lavatory to 75% the size that it was before.”
“I can’t turn around in it. The sink is the most miserable thing going, and you cram those people in those little tiny seats you just bragged about to the point that I can’t sit back there. As a crew member if I ever have to deadhead back there I’ll refuse because it’s just not practical.”
“I think you need to have you and Parker and everybody sit back in the last row of the 737 on a long flight and see what it’s like to use those lavatories…that’s the biggest complaint I get is those lavatories.. there’s 160 [economy] passengers for 2 lavatories on 5 hour flights.”
In case you were wondering, here’s how the 737 MAX 8’s seat pitch compares with a few (not all) of American’s other short-haul aircraft figures per SeatGuru.com):
As you can see, there’s a configuration of A319 that’s nearly as terrible as the 737 MAX 8 and an A320 configuration that gives less leg room in First Class (I never knew this before I researched this post) but, everywhere else, the MAX 8 is worse….and in some cases by a distance.
Rather incredibly, the American Airlines 737 8 MAX offers the same leg room in Main Cabin Extra and less leg room in Economy class than a tiny ERJ-140 which seats just 44 passengers.
As I mentioned towards the beginning of this post, American Airlines would like to reconfigure as much of its short-haul fleet as possible to give passengers as little personal space as the MAX 8 currently offers so, in the future, there may be no escaping this hell.
But right now we can still avoid it.
American Airlines 737 MAX 8 Economy Class cabin – image courtesy of Airbus777 via Flickr
American Airlines 737 MAX 8 Routes
The American Airlines 737 MAX 8s are currently mostly based in Miami so if your flying doesn’t take you anywhere near there you’re mostly safe for now – but things can change.
Here are the current active and scheduled American Airlines 737 MAX 8 routes:
Miami – New York LaGuardia
This was the first route to be operated by the 737 MAX 8 and, since the aircraft started flying between Miami and LaGuardia, the number of daily flights has increased from 3 to 5.
AA1011 MIA 07:00 – 10:09 LGA (Daily)
AA2520 MIA 09:10 – 12:18 LGA (Daily)
AA1427 MIA 13:50 – 16:59 LGA (Daily)
AA2240 MIA 15:30 – 18:39 LGA (Daily)
AA2534 MIA 17:30 – 20:44 LGA (Daily)
AA1410 LGA 08:00 – 11:18 MIA (Daily)
AA1011 LGA 11:00 – 14:23 MIA (Daily)
AA2520 LGA 13:20 – 16:37 MIA (Daily)
AA1389 LGA 17:55 – 21:15 MIA (Daily)
AA2240 LGA 19:29 – 22:46 MIA (Daily)
Miami – Quito
This route is scheduled to be over 4 hours long so if you’re brave enough to fly this in Economy Class on American Airlines you’re a stronger person than I!
The Miami – Quito route gets its first American Airlines MAX 8 from 25 March 2018 while the second flight of the day will get MAX 8 service from 3 April 2018.
AA947 MIA 15:35 – 18:56 UIO (Daily)
AA939 MIA 18:15 – 21:37 UIO (Daily)
AA932 UIO 06:35 – 11:51 MIA (Daily)
AA946 UIO 11:50 – 17:07 MIA (Daily)
Miami – Boston
The American Airlines 737 MAX 8 will commence service on this route from 3 April 2018.
AA1509 MIA 06:56 – 10:16 BOS (Daily)
AA1509 BOS 11:05 – 14:37 MIA (Daily)
Miami – Puerto Plata
Just as with the Boston route, the MAX 8 will begin operating this route on 3 April 2018.
AA935 MIA 12:05 – 14:08 POP (Daily)
AA935 POP 15:03 – 17:27 MIA (Daily)
Miami – Barbados
Barbados will be getting the American Airlines 737 MAX 8 treatment from 4 May 2018….but only on one of the two daily flights.
AA1089 MIA 11:06 – 14:43 BGI (Daily)
AA1089 BGI 15:44 – 19:52 MIA (Daily)
Miami – Santo Domingo
American Airlines will start serving Santo Domingo with its 737 MAX 8 from 4 July 2018 but it isn’t until 5/6 July 2018 that all four daily flights are scheduled to be operated by 737 MAX 8 aircraft on the following schedule:
AA987 MIA 10:37 – 12:56 SDQ (Daily)
AA1481 MIA 12:11 – 14:29 SDQ (Daily)
AA1337 MIA 17:55 – 20:20 SDQ (Daily)
AA1511 MIA 19:42 – 22:03 SDQ (Daily)
AA1154 SDQ 06:26 – 08:50 MIA (Daily)
AA1026 SDQ 08:02 – 10:25 MIA (Daily)
AA987 SDQ 13:57 – 16:23 MIA (Daily)
AA1481 SDQ 15:25 – 17:59 MIA (Daily)
At the time of writing the 787 MAX 8 is set to operate these flight through the end of the bookable schedule.
Miami – Denver
The 737 MAX 8 is only currently scheduled to operate own this route for a few weeks but as the flight time is loaded at 4 hours its worth knowing which flight to avoid.
Between 5 August and 20 August 2018 one of the three daily flights between Miami and Denver will be operated by an American Airlines 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Here’s that aircraft’s schedule
AA2793 MIA 19:50 – 22:06 DEN (Daily)
AA2793 DEN 23:26 – 05:25 MIA (Daily)
I can’t emphasise enough how much I would try and avoid that red-eye if I had to fly on this route while the MAX 8 was operating.
Miami – Antigua
From 5 August 2018 Antigua will be getting daily 737 MAX 8 service from American Airlines on the following schedule:
AA2405 MIA 10:45 – 14:06 ANU (Daily)
AA2405 ANU 14:53 – 18:34 MIA (Daily)
This route gets an addiotnal daily flight in the winter season but, at the time of writing, that flight is still scheduled to be operated by a regular 737.
Miami – Los Angeles
American’s 737 MAX 8 will operate one of American’s 8 daily flights on the Los Angeles – Miami route from 4/5 September 2018. Specifically these are the flights to avoid:
AA2237 LAX 21:17 – 05:25+1 day MIA
AA1061 MIA 21:10 – 23:45 LAX
This flight is scheduled to take 5 hours 8 minutes when flying east and and 5 hours 35 minutes when flying west and, to compound matters, the LA – Miami flight is a redeye.
As things stand the MAX 8 is only scheduled to operate on this route through 3 October but don’t be surprised if this gets extended.
Los Angeles – Washington DC
American’s 737 MAX 8 is schedule to operate one of American’s two daily flights between LA and Washington Reagan airport from 5 September 2018 (it’s replacing a regular 737 aircraft):
AA163 LAX 08:00 – 16:11 DCA (MAX 8 Service)
AA2532 LAX 13:00 – 21:06 DCA
AA1275 DCA 07:13 – 10:08 LAX
AA163 DCA 17:30 – 20:16 LAX (MAX 8 Service)
This flight is scheduled to take 5 hours 11 minutes when flying east and and 5 hours 46 minutes when flying west – that’s an incredibly long time to spend in a seat with just 30″ of legroom.
Right now the MAX 8 is only scheduled to operate on this route through 3 October but there’s every chance that the airline will extend the service further.
Note: Schedule times are liable to changes (especially when airlines move between summer and winter seasons) so please check the exact timings before you book any flights (don’t rely entirely on the timings above).
Even First Class looks tight on the 737 MAX 8 – image courtesy of Airbus777 via Flickr
On some routes American offers other aircraft so that may be a way to avoid the MAX 8 if you still want to fly with American but, on routes like the one to Puerto Plata, there’s no alternative to the MAX 8 on American and no other airline flys the route…so you may want to vacation elsewhere 🙂
Here’s something to think about: wouldn’t it have been nice if American Airlines could have equipped the MAX 8 like SilkAir has equipped theirs (well, at least First Class)?
I’ll try to keep this list of American Airlines 737 MAX 8 routes as up to date as possible but if you happen to spot a change that I haven’t listed (a new route or more MAX 8 service added to an existing MAX 8 route) then please let me know in the comments below.