President Trump Wants Boeing to Rename the 737 MAX

Yesterday I wrote that American Airlines extended their Boeing 737 MAX cancellations through August 19. We do not know when the plane will return to the skies. Reports are that the FAA, last to ground the plane, doesn’t want to sign off on this alone and is trying to work in conjunction with international authorities.

American was clear that their conversations lead them to believe that the 737 MAX will be allowed to fly again before August 19, but their plan is to just use their couple dozen MAXs as spare aircraft until then.

Commenter chopsticks thinks this is a brilliant move (he thinks everything commercial airlines do is right, but in this case he’s insightful),

Given humans’ terrible ability to assess risk, I was wondering what would happen in the first few weeks after the MAX was (safely) returned to service. I figured there certainly would be some anti-MAX hysteria. I’m not entirely sure if it’s intentional, but AA’s summer strategy is a great way to combat this. Nobody will be “scheduled” to fly the MAX; it will just roll up to the gate and fly some unsuspecting pax. I’m guessing a handful will refuse to get on and post on social media. I doubt there will be much sympathy.

The 737 MAX has a branding problem, and people will be concerned flying it when it returns to service. President Donald Trump recognizes this problem and has advice for Boeing: just rename the plane.

When the President of the United States, himself a successful promoter whose primary asset is his brand, gives free marketing advice it’s actually worth listening to, even if he’s just cribbing it straight from Stringer Bell in The Wire. Their product was no good, people weren’t buying it, the solution? Just call it something else.

Regulators are inherently conservative and they aren’t going to sign off on a return to the skies unless they’re really sure of the fixes — it’s bad enough that an aviation disaster occurs, it’s even worse for a bureaucrat if it should happen again after they’ve explicitly examined and signed off on the strategy to avoid the incident.When the President of the United States, himself a successful promoter whose primary asset is his brand, gives free marketing advice it’s actually worth listening to, even if he’s just cribbing it straight from Stringer Bell in The Wire.

Other aircraft have had troubling starts and gone on to have long and successful careers. Would a new name help? There’s no question it was crucial to making AirTran née ValuJet a success.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. It’s not a branding problem, it’s a crashing and everyone dies problem. And the fact that the FAA allowed Boeing to build what is an essentially a new airplane, without the usual new type rating and training certifications, is the crux of this problem.

  2. Agreed, but the MAX name should be removed just the same once the fixes and recertification are complete. 737 LEAP (aka the engine or “of faith”) might be an alternative to ease minds when people board. Most don’t know the types of planes they are flying to begin with so this will calm the nerves of 99% of flyers.

  3. I absolutely agree with the need to re-brand. Due to the potential resistance of the traveling public to fly it’s troubled 737-Max aircraft in the wake of two fatal crashes and subsequent worldwide grounding, Boeing has already began internal discussions about re-branding the plane once it returns to the air later this year.

    Internal documents leaked from the company reference several choices currently under consideration. Among them are:

    Boeing 737-TA (as in Try Again)
    Boeing 737-Edsel
    Boeing 737-Corvair
    Boeing 737-Pinto
    Boeing 737-Yugo
    Boeing 737-New Max (for fans of Coca-Cola)

  4. If I was Boeing I’d rename all 737s because the average flying public doesn’t want to be on any plane called a 737.

  5. Best line from The Trumpster since Jan 21, 2019, “But then again, what the hell do I know”.
    Looking back at his “brands” – he knows squat.

  6. I have read that the Max is not per se a dangerous plane compared to other commercial jets. The main problem was, Boeing marketed the plane as being the same as other 737s, when its flying characteristics were different. That meant that the pilots were untrained for the plane they were flying and therefore crashed. It is kind of like putting a normal driver in a trailer truck without training and expecting them to be safe. If there is nothing wrong with the plane (after updating the software) then retraining the pilots and renaming the plane makes sense. But, of course, that is not President Trump’s call; therefore, people should probably put TDS on hold. LOL: Prime Minister Theresa May did not take a single one of President Trump’s suggestions and it worked out great.

    Nevertheless, I am worried about Boeing current culture. I used to work for an aerospace company for a short time. At that time, there was one exposé after another about high costs. A screw purchased from Boeing cost 3 to 4 times as much as one purchased from the local hardware store. The reason for this high cost was that Boeing had a rigorous inspection program making sure every screw was perfect. With the 787, in addition to designing the plane and manufacturing process through computer simulation, they also went to a worldwide supply model. In other words, manufacturers throughout the world produced parts and Boeing assembled them. The burning batteries in the 787, for example, were manufactured by a Japanese company. [Since I love Japanese cars, I am not saying anything bad about Japanese manufacturing. Although, I might add, there are a number of Japanese language movies in Japan about irresponsible managers, but that discussion is for the Japanese to sort out.] I read that Max’s software relied on one sensor and it may be that the sensor was defective in the crashes. It makes me wonder who Boeing got the sensors from and whether or not it was rigorously tested before being installed into the Max. I would also think it would be safer to add a back-up sensor. Maybe Boeing got careless starting with the 787, but they were lucky until the Max crashes.

  7. @dotti – Work on your spelling. Punctuation as well. That’ll make you look like a grown up.

  8. 737 Bumblebee… Because Bumblebee’s defy the laws of physics to take flight (but not really).

    This airplane will make an excellent cargo aircraft for Amazon. And after about 2 or 3 years of highly monitored and controlled flight and proving itself flight ready, can be repurposed for passenger use.

  9. He did not tell them to just rename the plane. If you actually read what he wrote you would see he said first to FIX It. But guess like many you were just picking and choosing a talking point to bash Trump. Gets very tiring when any subject you trying to read about always has to include a Trump dig whether or not he deserves it.

  10. @FranP. Just remember that the TDS people cannot get the President out of their minds. When these nuts got to sleep, they dream about Trump. The breakfast is tasteless because they are enraged over Trump. And then, they turn on CNN, and OMG…….This rage goes on all day, until they finish with late night comedy, which is also about Trump rage. Then repeat the next day. They are in an endless loop of TDS.

  11. Consider that the interface between automation and human interaction is appearing in more and more facets of our daily lives. With that in mind consider a 737 MAX versus a Tesla.

  12. OhterJustSaying

    Certainly the Great Leader and his fans (who still doesn’t cease to bash HRC and Obama) know all about Derangement.

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