Passengers on board noticed a few small differences compared to the carrier’s prior generation of 737s in the fleet. The seating layout is the same, though the life vests moved to overhead compartments rather than beneath the seat.
And, while still streaming entertainment is available on board, in-flight wifi connectivity is not. The company’s 737 MAX fleet does not have the Gogo/Intelsat 2Ku system installed yet and won’t for several months.
Line-fit timing challenges
Gogo’s first 2Ku line-fit installation on the 737 MAX came in Q4 2019. Alaska Airlines took delivery of its newest MAX planes in January 2021. But these brand new planes pre-date the line-fit availability.
The first rolled out of the final assembly line in July 2019.
The second rolled out in August 2019.
And so, while GOL’s more recent MAX deliveries are understood to have the 2Ku kit installed on the Renton Final Assembly Line, the Alaska Airlines planes do not. At least not yet.
The company confirmed to PaxEx.Aero that “High-speed satellite Wi-Fi will arrive this fall to our 737-9 planes…with connectivity on those planes available to our guests starting in September.” The delay is attributed to FAA certification of the in-flight connectivity hardware.
The carrier also notes that it expects future deliveries will take advantage of the line-fit option from Boeing with “the satellite Wi-Fi pre-installed during assembly.”
No word on why the installation was not completed during the 18 months between when the planes rolled out and today’s entry into service.
The company also reiterated that the planes are expected to carry the 2Ku system rather than an alternate solution or supplier.
Alaska Airlines notes that entertainment is available on board. Passengers can access “more than 700 complimentary movies and TV shows streamed to their personal devices.”
But if an in-flight wifi connection is an important part of your travel needs, these planes should be avoided for now.
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