Hundreds of guests & employees fly on first Alaska 737-9 MAX flights

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine and Susan Ewbank.

Today, Alaska Airlines is flying the first passengers on board its first 737-9 MAX aircraft. The aircraft will complete two roundtrip passenger flights between Seattle and San Diego, and between Seattle and Los Angeles.

We’ve eagerly waited for this day. It was a proud moment to board our newest 737 aircraft last week on one of our employee flights and fly it home,” said Alaska President Ben Minicucci. “This plane is a significant part of our future. We believe in it; we believe in Boeing and we believe in our employees.”

We’ve tested and verified all required and necessary processes to prepare the aircraft for passenger service. We’re ready to welcome you on board!

Since taking delivery of the aircraft in January, our teams have tested and verified all processes to prepare the aircraft for passenger service. We put the plane through its paces, which included flying it more than 19,000 miles and 50+ flight hours all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii — proving to the FAA we can operate the plane safely.

In order to fly the 737-9, pilots are required to take eight hours of flight simulator and computer-based training that focus on the operation of the MAX. Our pilot training program for the MAX is more extensive than what’s required by the FAA.

For us, if an aircraft is not safe, we won’t fly it, period.

Before the aircraft entered commercial service today, hundreds of employees from across the company flew the 737-9 MAX last week in Seattle and Los Angeles. See what it was like through a few of their eyes:

Video: Last week, customer service agents, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, reservations agents and others flew in from everywhere like Fort Lauderdale, San Jose and New York to experience the new plane.

Our maintenance technicians undergo a minimum 40 hours of training on the variations between the MAX and our existing 737 NG fleet, with certain technicians receiving additional specialized training.

We have high expectations and confidence that Boeing has made the required changes and necessary improvements to the MAX. With these enhancements and the FAA’s thorough inspection processes, this aircraft  meets our high safety standards. Learn more about our dedication to safety and our training programs for the MAX at

Alaska staff writers Tricia Bruckbauer and Ray Lane contributed to this article.