First few Boeing 737 Max 9’s return to service under new inspection process

WASHINGTON D.C. — Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes are back in service nationwide.


The federal government grounded these planes for three weeks after that midflight scare involving the door plug of an Alaska Airlines plane.

United and Alaska Airlines are the only two domestic carriers that use 737 Max 9 airplanes. Both airlines said these planes are going through rigorous inspections that can take as long as 12 hours.

On Friday, Alaska Airlines flight 1146 was the first flight using Boeing 737 Max 9 since the initial incident.

Read: Alaska Airlines has begun flying Boeing Max 9 jetliners again and United flies plane on Saturday

“I thought maybe that’s the safest plane because they probably went through and made sure that it was safe and good to go,” said Joe Plaisance, a passenger on that flight.

These Boeing aircrafts now face a new inspection process. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it involves detailed visual inspections of mid-cabin exit door plugs as well as the bolts, guide tracks, and fittings.

“At this point, FAA has done its work with the airlines as well as with Boeing to make sure that those safety procedures and protocols are detailed enough for the inspectors to do their job and do it safely,” said Hassan Shahidi, President and CEO at the Flight Safety Foundation.

Read: What you should know if you’re about to fly on a Boeing Max 9

Shahidi said he also wants Boeing and its suppliers to address any quality control concerns.

“Making sure that the quality assurance procedures, processes and systems are revamped or revised to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

In a statement, Boeing’s commercial airplanes president and CEO, Stan Deal said the company is working to improve their practices and regain confidence with customers. His statement said in part, “We own these issues and will make them right.”

The flight attendants union said it is also giving their crew members information about these safety inspections so they can talk with concerned travelers.

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