Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 is an aircraft that is growing in importance for Alaska Airlines. The airline started flights with the type earlier this year after waiting for several years for its first delivery. Over the next two years, the aircraft will grow to become a very important part of the Alaska Airlines fleet. By the end of 2021, Alaska expects to have 12 737 MAX 9s in its fleet. Here is where it is scheduled to fly them.

Alaska 737 MAX 9
Alaska Airlines will be ramping up 737 MAX 9 operations by next summer. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Alaska’s 737 MAX 9 routes in December

Using data from Cirium, it is clear that Alaska Airlines has some particular missions for the MAX 9. The airline has scheduled no transcontinental routes on the Boeing 737 MAX 9, but it has scheduled the aircraft to go as far as Hawaii. Here are the top routes (by the number of flights) scheduled in December:

  1. Honolulu (HNL) to Seattle (SEA): 107 flights
  2. Seattle (SEA) to Honolulu (HNL): 76 flights
  3. Las Vegas (LAS) to Seattle (SEA): 58 flights
  4. Seattle (SEA) to Las Vegas (LAS): 49 flights
  5. Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA): 45 flights
  6. Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX): 45 flights
  7. Seattle (SEA) to San Francisco (SFO): 32 flights
  8. Honolulu (HNL) to San Diego (SAN): 31 flights
  9. Kona (KOA) to Seattle (SEA): 31 flights
  10. Seattle (SEA) to Kona (KOA): 31 flights
  11. San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL): 31 flights
  12. San Diego (SAN) to Honolulu (HNL): 30 flights
  13. Honolulu (HNL) to Los Angeles (LAX): 16 flights
  14. Honolulu (HNL) to Portland (PDX): 16 flights
  15. Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL): 16 flights
  16. Portland (PDX) to Honolulu (HNL): 16 flights
  17. Seattle (SEA) to San Diego (SAN): 14 flights
  18. San Diego (SAN) to Seattle (SEA): 13 flights
  19. Seattle (SEA) to Portland (PDX): 10 flights
  20. Portland (PDX) to Las Vegas (LAS): 9 flights
  21. Portland (PDX) to Seattle (SEA): 2 flights
  22. San Diego (SAN) to Portland (PDX): 1 flight
  23. San Francisco (SFO) to Seattle (SEA): 1 flight
Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?
Alaska’s 737 MAX 9 routes in December. Photo: Cirium

In short, Alaska Airlines has scheduled 680 flights on the 737 MAX 9 in December. A whopping 514 of those 680 scheduled flights touches Seattle. 401 of 680 scheduled flights touch a point in Hawaii. As is evident from the top routes, most of Alaska’s 737 MAX flights scheduled in December are between Seattle and either Honolulu or Kona.

Alaska Airlines is planning on using its 12 737 MAX 9s quite heavily. All of them may not be in service by the end of the year, given that there is a delay between delivery and induction into service. Nevertheless, in December, if looking to fly Alaska’s 737 MAX, your best bet is to try to fly to Honolulu or Kona via Seattle. Given Seattle’s presence as a major hub for Alaska Airlines, there should be plenty of nonstop and connecting itineraries on the MAX.

Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?
Alaska’s 737 MAX 9s are mostly scheduled to Hawaii this December. Photo: Boeing

What about in 2022?

In 2022, Alaska expects to take 31 new 737 MAX 9 aircraft. Spread out through the year, the airline will still have a larger mass of aircraft come next summer than this December. As a result, it has scheduled nearly four times as many flights next summer compared to this December.

These are the top routes on Alaska’s 737 MAX 9 (by flights) scheduled as of now, according to Cirium, for July 2022:

  1. Anchorage (ANC) to Seattle (SEA): 124 flights
  2. Boston (BOS) to Seattle (SEA): 124 flights
  3. New York (JFK) to Seattle (SEA): 124 flights
  4. Seattle (SEA) to Anchorage (ANC): 124 flights
  5. Seattle (SEA) to Boston (BOS): 124 flights
  6. Seattle (SEA) to New York (JFK): 124 flights
  7. Phoenix (PHX) to Seattle (SEA): 98 flights
  8. Seattle (SEA) to Phoenix (PHX): 98 flights
  9. Honolulu (HNL) to Seattle (SEA): 93 flights
  10. Las Vegas (LAS) to Seattle (SEA): 93 flights
  11. Seattle (SEA) to Newark (EWR): 93 flights
  12. Seattle (SEA) to Honolulu (HNL): 93 flights
  13. Anchorage (ANC) to San Francisco (SFO): 62 flights
  14. Newark (EWR) to Seattle (SEA): 62 flights
  15. Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA): 62 flights
  16. New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO): 62 flights
  17. Orlando (MCO) to Seattle (SEA): 62 flights
Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?
Alaska Airlines has planned an extensive 737 MAX 9 network in 2022. Photo: Cirium

Seattle to Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Portland also have 62 flights scheduled on the MAX 9 in July 2022. The same is true for flights from San Francisco to Anchorage, New York, and Seattle.

As is evident, Alaska Airlines is expecting to significantly up its 737 MAX 9 fleet and monthly scheduled flights in July 2022. From under 700 in December, the number goes up to 2,764 in July. Nearly 43% of those, or 1,178 flights, are transcontinental operations. Just under 14% of those scheduled flights, or 372 flights, touch Hawaii. Meanwhile, 434 flights, or just over 14% of operations, touch Alaska.

Next year, Alaska Airlines plans to use the 737 MAX 9 on a much wider range of routes. This is unsurprising. As the airline takes more of these aircraft, it is only natural that they will start to spread out across Alaska’s system. The aircraft’s superior fuel efficiency and operating economics make it a far better candidate for most longer-haul operations. However, the existing transcontinental fleet, including the Boeing 737-900ER and Airbus A321neo, will also be operating some transcontinental flights.

However, based on current schedules, Alaska Airlines plans to move all flights from Seattle to New York-JFK to the 737 MAX 9 next year. The MAX 9 will start flying this key transcontinental route from January before fully taking over in June.

Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?
Alaska’s 737 MAX 9s will start flying transcontinental routes in 2022. Photo: Alaska Airlines

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About Alaska’s 737 MAX 9

The 737 MAX 9 is the next iteration of Boeing’s popular 737 program. Alaska Airlines has been a fond flyer of the 737 for years. The backbone of its fleet currently is the 737 Next Generation. The airline became an all-Boeing mainline airline before the Virgin America acquisition. The goal for the airline is to get back to that fleet efficiency.

Alaska currently has plans to fly 93 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by the end of 2024. It still retains options for 52 additional MAX aircraft. By the end of 2023, Alaska Airlines will retire all of its Airbus A320ceo aircraft. It will continue to fly ten Airbus A321neos beyond 2023, as of now.

Where Is Alaska Airlines Flying Its Boeing 737 MAX 9s?
Alaska’s 737 MAX aircraft will enable the carrier to retire all of its Airbus A320ceo jets. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska’s 737 MAX 9s have room for 178 passengers onboard. This includes 16 first class seats in a 2-2 recliner-style configuration. There are 24 extra-legroom economy seats followed by 138 economy seats. These latter two cabins are both in a 3-3 configuration. These planes have the same number of seats as the 737-900ERs, though they can fly farther and with better economics than the Next Generation aircraft.