The 737MAX: Should Students Really Care?

Boeing is in a not-so-good place at the moment. Following two deadly 737MAX crashes due to software malfunctions, various countries deemed the aircraft #cancelled. Currently grounded worldwide, a mixture of bad PR along with fears of the plane’s future caused Boeing to report a whopping ZERO orders of the model for March.

Take your average student at the University of Miami, or New York University, or Boston University. When they’re not 7 feet deep in homework or extracurricular responsibilities, they’re having fun. The casual levels of “fun” can include getting coffee with friends, house parties, and going out to bars. More formal levels of fun require planning, such as trips. This can include Spring Break, Winter Break, or St. Patrick’s Day. Socioeconomic factors aside, the average student lives by the mantra of #ballingonabudget, leaving many to suspect that traveling is out of the question. However, with low oil costs, and thanks to planes like the 737MAX, traveling has slowly become more of a viable option for students.

The 737MAX, A220, and other new-wave, single-aisle aircrafts are much more energy efficient compared to older models, saving up to 20% of fuel in the 737MAX’s case. New wingtips within the past 5-10 years have also saved on energy, saving on nearly 2% of energy consumption. These planes can also fly at a much longer range compared to older models, allowing for the “long, skinny” market to expand, meaning more long range, low demand routes. To put it simply: people can now fly to more specific places, and for cheaper. As for me, I flew from Newburgh Airport (SWF) in New York to Bergen, Norway (BGO) for only $110 one-way on a 737MAX.

Students are constantly seeking these types of routes; ones that promote wanderlust for a low rate. As millenials, they want to be first in discovering the hottest and newest location that would fit perfect for the ‘gram, all while immersing themselves, and learning from a different culture than their own. It’s a trend that’s connecting more young individuals across the globe than ever before.

What happened with the 737MAX puts all of this at threat. It may just be a software error, but it puts into perspective how quickly these new-generation jets can disappear. It’s obvious that newer technology must go through more rigorous testing. However, PR efforts need to keep up as well in order to capture this younger market. It will take a long time for the public to to regain trust in the aircraft, leaving students questioning if these kinds of trips are still safe.

Watch out, Airbus.