American Airlines Is Running Five Employee Boeing 737 MAX Flights To Nowhere

The Boeing 737 MAX is officially allowed to fly again in commercial service. A lot of things need to take place before that happens, but while Southwest Airlines plans to take 4-5 months to get the plane back in the air, American Airlines is far more aggressive – planning to fly it again on December 29th.

Employees of American Airlines and its wholly-owned regional carriers (Envoy, Piedmont, and PSA) and of the American Airlines Credit Union are being invited to take one of five ‘flights to nowhere’ on the Boeing 737 MAX before it re-enters commercial service at the end of December. According to an internal employee communication,

We know that restoring our customers’ confidence in the 737 MAX starts with ensuring our own team members are comfortable. That’s why, leading up to the aircraft’s return to scheduled service Dec. 29, we’ll operate five 737 MAX flights, exclusively for team members.

The following flights will take off, spend about an hour in the air, and then return to the same airport.

The flights operate out of New York LaGuardia and Miami because the MAX will initially be Miami-based and the first flights will be back-and-forth to LaGuardia, while Dallas has the largest concentration of American Airlines employees since the carrier is based there.

Before this happens the airline needs to complete its check airmen training, which should be done within days, and then start pilot training in December. This consists of a 1 hour briefing, and 2 hours of simulator time, which will take place in Dallas and Miami. Pilots will go through situations including unreliable airspeed, runaway stab trim, and stalling with MCAS system engaging.

American Airlines plans for all current 737 pilots to be trained on the MAX by the end of March. I believe this plane is safe, but I still don’t want to fly it with American because of its inflight product. Southwest has two extra inches of space for each passenger compared to economy on American’s 737 MAX – an interior they’re rapidly converting the rest of their narrowbody fleet to in order to match.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Formerly UWorst Airways is not improving. Will not fly nor use 400k ffm and 900k actual.
    Do not fly them. No improvement wanted by mgt.

  2. We’ll, as a retiree, no need since I can fly free anyway….OFTEN FLIGHTS ARE TO FULL TO ALLOW THIS BENEFIT.
    As for the MAX flights, I truly believe that a jesture of good faith…the AA Board of Directors should be taking this flight..

  3. I will not fly a 737 Max an if airlines try to sidestep this issue by not identifying which flights are a 737 Max I will just move to another aitline

  4. Hmmmm… I always fly American, however I’m not sure if I would do this, not with all that has happened in the past.

  5. The flying public should know the airlines that had the failures also have the worst maintenance the the airline industry, and the problen was reported and airline failed to correct the maintenance issue.

  6. Oh hell no. Just because you parade a few AA employees around in a short flight, that does not immediately build that trust yet. It will take a bit more than that.. And just ONE crash with that plane, for ANY reason will seal that plane’s fate…as well as Boeing’s….and the airline’s.

    I guess AA is willing to take that chance. Good luck!

    Glad I don’t fly between LGA & MIA.

  7. My father worked for AA for over 40 years. He’s seen the bad AND the good. He passed away away but I’d like to know if I can be a volunteer?

  8. I wonder why they didn’t make these demo flights actually go somewhere and recoup some cost with cargo service. Seems wasteful, both economically and environmentally.

  9. How about the airline offering free 5 million dollar flight insurance for anyone willing to fly on the MAX for the first year?

  10. Put the Execs in the middle to rear of the plane so they can get feel the leg cramps and understand why they have so many bad reviews here.

  11. You’d have to be crazy to fly on one of these. American will go under. They are trying to save themselves by clinging to Aer lingus and British air but it won’t be enough. The misery they have inflicted in passengers to squeeze out a buck makes just all ready to laugh when they fizzle. It’s like the Hunger Games of airlines except they all deserve to go out of business. Maybe if that happens we’ll get decent service snd less bitchy flight attendants

  12. I will not fly an Air max 737 after those tragedies out in Asia and africa. Supposedly they fixed the problem with that MCAS system that was literally a death trap of a design by Boeing. These systems are STILL in place but corrected?? Why not do away with them completely? Too costly? I don’t trust it. When booking a flight you can see what model plane you are flying, just check that beforehand.

  13. Everyone should see the episode on the 700 max on 20/20 before even considering flying on it. Then you can make an informed decision. I think it was called falling from the sky. I probably won’t ever fly it or at very least not for a loooong time.

  14. A bold step by American Airlines and one needed to give passengers confidence in the aircraft. Given the number of 747 Max aircraft manufactured the industry needed to get them up and flying. Many jobs and airlines are invested in this aircraft and I feel confident they have addressed all the issues. I would fly in one now they have sorted out the MCAS system and redone the software plus pilot training.

  15. I’d fly on the MAX with any US based Airline any day of the week. Both crashes were by inexperienced, third world carriers with poor maintenance and inadequate flight crew training. The 20/20 hit piece last week failed to address both of those critical issues. But it did pull on your heart strings, didn’t it.

  16. This plane will crash again. Wrong engines causing the wrong dynamics compensated by software. They only refined what was done before and not getting to the root of the problem: this plane was designed with different engines to be used. It will crash again and be eliminated. This is how America operates: greed.

  17. I will never fly the MAX. It will crash again and I don’t want to be on the flight of NO RETURN✈✈✈✈✈

  18. I Love Mikes’s question: Is Doug going fly?…. I presume he means will he be on one of those ‘Nowhere Flights’ ???….. Very good question.

  19. The airline has turned the 737 Max into a sardine can Other carrier’s fly a much better product. Well every other airline is putting video and entertainment on board the aircraft Mr Parker thinks it’s smart to take everything off the aircraft what an idiot.

  20. I’d like to see Parker take a coach seat between MIA-LAX; if he survives the pain, he can come here and tell us about his experience; fortunately, the routes I normally use, AA doesn’t use the 737, yet.

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