United Airlines Continues To Remain Secretive On Boeing 737 MAX 8

United Airlines is one of the quietest customers for the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The airline, which already flies the MAX 9 and is a confirmed MAX 10 customer, has yet to take its first MAX 8 or even acknowledge its final tally of MAX 8 aircraft when deliveries are complete. A seat map for the MAX 8 appeared on the airline’s website, though it appears it has been taken down now. Nevertheless, the MAX 8 is slated to enter service with United in July.

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United Airlines, which flies the Boeing 737 MAX 9 already, is now gearing up to take its first MAX 8. Photo: Getty Images

United and the 737 MAX

United Airlines has been a large customer for the 737 MAX. According to data from ch-aviation, United Airlines has 30 Boeing 737 MAX 9s in its fleet and is awaiting delivery of the following numbers of MAX aircraft:

  • 40 Boeing 737 MAX 8
  • 49 Boeing 737 MAX 9
  • 92 Boeing 737 MAX 10

United Airlines did not confirm its final number of Boeing 737 MAX orders. However, it did confirm to Simple Flying that its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft was loaded in the schedule for July.

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What to expect on the MAX 8

Looking at United’s booking engine, showing 737 MAX 8 flights on select routes (including from Newark (EWR) to Houston (IAH)), the seat map is already on display:

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United’s MAX 8 seat map showing up on its booking engine. Screenshot: United

The MAX 8 so far appears to be sharing the same footprint as its Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which seat 16 passengers in recliner-style first class and 150 in economy.

Other than that, United has been pretty tight-lipped about what to expect onboard. Amenities that are mostly standard across United’s newest aircraft, such as WiFi and power outlets, will likely be on the MAX 8s. However, there may be another amenity waiting for passengers.

Eagle-eyed spotters on Twitter noticed that United had posted a seat map for the MAX 8 on its website. That map, which has been taken down since then, showed that the aircraft was expected to have “seatback on-demand and personal device entertainment.”

United has recently been musing about bringing back seatback screens to its aircraft. Putting them on the MAX 8 would certainly align with that strategy, though it remains unconfirmed.

Part of United’s future

The Boeing 737 MAX 8, MAX 9, and MAX 10 are part of United’s strategy to strengthen its domestic network. While United has one of the most enviable international networks, it lags against its peers regarding its network and overall domestic gauge.

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United Airlines is betting big on the MAX. Photo: Getty Images

Looking ahead, United Airlines is big on investing in the passenger experience and its product. It is moving forward with its Polaris retrofits on its widebody aircraft, and CEO Scott Kirby stated the following just last week at the Annual Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference:

“We got more exciting announcements coming on the product and investing in the product and we’re going to save $2 billion from structural expense. Not a single penny of that is going to come from customer product-facing initiatives. And in fact, we’re going to spend more on those things.”

While more details are expected to come out on the MAX 8 in the coming weeks, the signs certainly point toward the aircraft offering an improved customer experience than some of United’s other aircraft flying domestically.

Are you looking forward to flying on a United 737 MAX 8? Let us know in the comments!