Last week was the commercial launch of the Jet Airways Boeing 737 MAX. Jet Airways has 225 of these on order, so, pretty much over the next many months and years, you will start to only see the Jet Airways 737 MAX in the air. The airline received their first Boeing 737 MAX 8 in the second half of June 2018. As I write this, the second aircraft has also been delivered to the airline and has flown into Delhi. Another two are at various stages of assembly in Renton for now.
On July 1, 2018, Shipra & myself took the inaugural flight of this aircraft. I previously saw the aircraft in the hangar as well. The Business Class review from the first flight was posted last week. I was hoping to take another flight between Mumbai and Delhi on Saturday before writing the Economy Class review, but the plane got swapped to a 737 NG, so that was moot.
I had booked meetings last Sunday, so I wanted to come back to Mumbai at the earliest. Hence I managed to book Hyderabad – Mumbai on 9W 458, which was going to be the return leg of the 737 MAX to Mumbai.
As I bolted out of the plane, I did notice a small cake being lined up, and I was requested to wait for the cake cutting to be finished. I told the crew I should go and finish my transfer security and join them after.
It took me about five minutes to clear transit security, and I was back in the secure holding for this flight. There were tonnes of aviation enthusiasts on this flight, and we all got a picture together with the captains, station managers and crew on the flight.
Soon, it was time to board, and I got back on the plane. This time, I was flying Economy so headed to the back of the plane. To ensure that I got the real experience to expect in the Economy Class section, I made it a point not to select the tenth row, which is the first row of Economy Class, right behind the bulkhead. We went for Row 11 instead.
Hyderabad (HYD) – Mumbai(BOM)
Sunday, July 1, 2018
Depart: 09:23 AM
Arrive: 10:53 AM
Distance flown: 385 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737 MAX 8
Seat: 11A (Economy)
Meal Service: Snack
Here is the Economy Class Cabin shot. Like you can see, all the seats are draped in Faux Leather and are teal coloured.
The economy class product on board the Jet Airways 737 MAX is the standard cabin fitment being offered by Boeing that is being supplied to most airlines. American Airlines and Silk Air are two airline that come to mind flying the same cabin product.
The cabin has USB ports, Personal Electronic Device holders and so on. There are also jacket hangers which mean you no longer have to ask Jet Airways to put your jackets in the J class closet.
The leg space on this flight looked fine. The economy class seats are slimline seats, and hence you get a lot of legroom due to the fact that the hard shell is not installed all the way down.
As usual, neither the people nor the crew were careful putting in their bags, so these were all over the place and not fully using the potential of the bigger bins. They should have been keeping their bags at a tilt and not spread out like they were.
We pushed back with a slight delay, as everyone figured out if there was a separate new step to take with the 737 MAX. The USB ports were powered up, and we put them to test right from the beginning as Shipra’s Phone was out of charge.
While JetScreen was not installed on day 1, it is the intention to add it as soon as they get regulatory approval. Till then we did not have much to do with the devices, except imagine how they’d work in the future on one of these flights.
As soon as we were airborne, the meal carts were brought out as well. This was one of my many encounters with the snack boxes in the past few days, after successfully dodging them for months.
This flight looked like it was reverse catered. There was a chicken casserole of some sort along with a small muffin. I tasted it and it did taste good. Adequate or not for a flight of this duration, I’m not sure. I was eating at the lounge that morning and on the previous flight, so I really had no appetite at this time to try a meal.
The new split wing MAX AT winglet was of course the view to go for.
I did not bring along a laptop. But I was trying to imagine how much space I’d have to work on these new slimline seats. I did not get a fair idea.
Until the guy in front of me reclined his seat. That 5-degree recline really took a lot of my personal space away! I know I won’t be able to work on these seats for sure.
What could spell trouble for broad people is the small armrests. Slimline seats by design come with smaller armrests, and Jet Airways is no different in this case. While one night before on the NG, I was able to share an armrest, civil-ly with a stranger, on this day I was sort of having trouble sharing it with my wife.
I also checked out the lavatories again. My view continues to be that they are functional and useful, but, of course, smaller than the previous versions. But as compared to what GoAir and IndiGo have put up in their new A320neos, these are still much much better.
Eventually, it was a short flight, and we were back in Mumbai quickly.
My experience on this aircraft is a mixed view. Of course, the Boeing 737 MAX is a great aircraft. Anything that helps keep airline economics, in fact, is a good thing, and all the engineering with this plane has a marvellous impact. The plane was quiet, and I loved it. I said the exact same thing in the previous review.
Now, for the hard product from Jet Airways. IFE should be added soon to the new aircraft and an advisory that the JetScreen was not available would have been nice. But the in-seat power worked wonderfully. What bothers me is the in-your face nature of this product construct, which goes closer to GoAir seat pitch than even IndiGo seat pitch.
If you want to fly the new Jet Airways 737 MAX 8, here are the routes you could fly in the month of July 2018. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, shoot away, and I will be happy to answer them.
Have you flown Jet Airways in their brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft? Do share your views in the comments if you have about how did you like it?