The FAA has grounded the Boeing 737 MAX, and so have safety agencies around the world. In the US the largest MAX operator is Southwest Airlines, followed by American, and then United. We don’t yet know when the plane will return to the skies.
In the meantime there are questions around not just an ‘angle of attack’ sensor providing inaccurate readings, and engaging an automatic system that appears to be part of what caused the aircraft’s nose down in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, but around the certification process for the plane itself.
Naturally if passengers think they’re flying on a 737 MAX, that’s going to raise concerns. And plenty of passengers apparently think that’s just what’s happening — even though of course it isn’t. Instead they’re being freaked out by the seat back safety card on Southwest Airlines.
Passengers don’t understand that Southwest uses the same safety card for their Boeing 737-800s and 737 MAX 8s.
— Kadee Blair (@KadeeCoffman) April 2, 2019
As a result they’re tweeting at the airline, believing that Southwest is flying planes that the FAA has grounded because the safety card uses the word ‘MAX” on it.
@SouthwestAir Hi, just wondering why I was on a 737 max 8 yesterday. I thought they were grounded until end of May? Nerve wracking! Flight was Dal-cmh 5449.
— A Dog's Brunch (@ADogsBrunch) April 7, 2019
— understandblue (@understandblue) April 7, 2019
— Dante Bertana (@dantebertana) April 1, 2019
This is understandable, I think. TV news often doesn’t know the difference between a Boeing 737 MAX and a Boeing 747.
— Aviões e Músicas (@avioesemusicas) March 15, 2019
Or between a US carrier and Malaysia Airlines.
Folks, they found MH370. The Colorado Rockies had it the whole time. pic.twitter.com/9bw7173mdD
— AwfulAviationReporting (@AwfulAviation) October 4, 2018
It’s perfectly reasonable that the median Southwest Airlines passenger wouldn’t get the nuance between a -800 and a MAX 8 when the aircraft’s materials say it’s both.