MAXimum comfort and efficiency: Our first 737 MAX 9 takes flight
This week, we became the first North American carrier to operate the fuel efficient Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The brand new plane entered service as United flight 686 between our hub at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Orlando International Airport in Florida. On Thursday, the MAX operated flights between Houston and Anchorage, Alaska and Houston and Austin, Texas.
"The Boeing 737 MAX is a great addition to United's fleet, providing approximately 14 percent fuel efficiency compared to previous 737 generations and an improved customer experience onboard," said Rodney Cox, vice president of United's Houston operation. "As we begin the busy summer travel season, Houston is happy to be home for United's first MAX aircraft, as we launch initial 737 MAX service from here, and later this month, add MAX service on flights from Houston to L.A., Sacramento and Tampa."
To celebrate our newest and "youngest" aircraft, we gifted 737 MileagePlus miles to all of our youngest MileagePlus members (members age 18 and under) who departed from Houston on one of our MAX flights on Thursday. All customers on our first MAX flights from Houston received first flight certificates, travel cases and headphones to commemorate their trip on our newest aircraft.
In April, we took delivery of our first Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft from Boeing Delivery Center in Seattle, and unveiled a new livery for the fuel-efficient aircraft. The curved-line feature on the 737MAX is similar to that used on our fuel-efficient widebody Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
In February, we announced the addition of a new aircraft type, the Boeing 737 MAX 9, to our domestic flight schedules and are the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of this aircraft. The MAX 9 features Boeing's Advanced Technology winglets and fuel efficient engines providing a quieter ride, the ability to fly farther on less fuel and significant reductions of CO2 emissions compared to older generation aircraft. With a longer range than previous 737 models, United is able to operate the 737 MAX between Houston and Anchorage, Alaska, which previously needed to be served with larger aircraft. United expects to have 10 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet by the end of this year.
The MAX 9 aircraft are now operating between our Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and five cities, including Anchorage, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego and Austin. Beginning June 29, we expect to add additional MAX 9 flights between Houston Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, as well as service between Los Angeles and Honolulu. See the full schedule here.
"The addition of the MAX 9 furthers our efforts to become a more efficient and productive airline. It has better fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs and does all of this while maximizing customer comfort," said United's Chief Financial Officer Andrew Levy.
The Boeing 737 MAX 9 features 179 seats, providing customers with access to in-seat power outlets and the opportunity to purchase satellite Wi-Fi. United Private Screening personal device entertainment will be available throughout the aircraft and enables customers to play thousands of hours of movies and television programs on their electronic devices.
The 737 MAX utilizes Viasat next-generation satellite Wi-Fi, providing access to faster, more reliable internet connections gate to gate. United will expand Viasat Wi-Fi to more than 70 aircraft, including at least 58 new 737 MAX planes over the next three years.
For more information on the Boeing 737 Max 9 and its features, visit United Newsroom.
If you can't get to Mars, what's the next best thing? Apparently Iceland. A team of renowned explorers and researchers recently journeyed to Iceland to test a Mars analog suit in a Martian-like environment.
The United sponsored expedition, led by The Explorers Club — an internationally recognized organization that promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space — and in partnership with Iceland Space Agency, involved the team venturing inside the Grímsvötn volcano and across the Vatnajökull ice cap. The group traveled to the remote location and lived for six days in the Grímsvötn Mountain Huts and endured harsh weather conditions and unstable terrain.
Helga Kristin Torfadöttir, Geologist and glacier guide, using the LiDAR system to map the ground and test the suit's capabilities on the glacier.
The objective of the mission was to explore the potential of concept operations at the Grímsvötn location while testing the suit in an arctic environment similar to what would be found on the surface of Mars. "This mission was an important test of the design of the MS1 suit, but it was also incredibly helpful to understand the how to conduct these sorts of studies in Iceland," said Michael Lye, MS1 designer and NASA consultant and RISD professor. "No matter how thoroughly something is tested in a controlled environment like a lab, studying it in a setting that accurately represents the environment where it will be used is absolutely essential to fully understand the design."
The suit was designed and constructed by faculty and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with input and guidance from members of the HI-SEAS IV crew and NASA's Johnson Space Center Space Suit Engineering team. At 50-60 lbs, the suit is similar to what a planetary exploration suit would weigh in Martian gravity. The suit was originally designed to be used in the warm climate of Hawaii, however the martian climate is much closer to what would be found on top of the glaciers in Iceland. The data collected will inform the future of habitat and spacesuit design that can be used to train astronauts on Earth.
Today, we remember the colleagues, customers and every single victim of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
I know each of us in the United family marks this difficult moment in our own way. Still, we all share a common commitment to honor how our brothers and sisters left us and also celebrate what they gave to us during their lives. We remember their professionalism and heroism. We cherish their camaraderie and friendship. We carry with us the examples they set forth, especially in the heroism and bravery displayed by so many on that terrible day. Above all, we understand a simple truth: While thousands of our fellow human beings lost their lives in New York City, Arlington and Shanksville, the attacks of September 11th were aimed at all people of peace and good will, everywhere. They were attacks on the values that make life worth living, as well as the shared purpose that make us proud of what we do as members of the United family: connecting people and uniting the world.
We may live in times scarred by discord and disagreement, and we know there are those around the world who seek to divide us against one another. But, on this day – above all – we come together, as one. We affirm our core belief that far, far more unites us as citizens and fellow human beings than can ever divide us.
Let us embody that belief as we go about serving our customers and one another – on this day and every day – as we continue to help building a world that's more united. Let that be our memorial to the sisters and brothers we lost, eighteen Septembers ago.