How To Use Kayak’s Boeing 737-9 Max Filter

Online travel site Kayak offers an enhanced filter that allows you to exclude the Max 8 and 9 planes from your search.

A hand holding a smartphone with the Kayak app displayed on an orange background.
(Image credit: Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Online travel booking website Kayak says it has seen a massive uptick on one of its flight search features: A filter that allows users to include or exclude certain aircraft models — including Boeing 737-9 Max planes — from their search.

The travel search engine, where customers can also book hotels and rental cars, saw a 15% spike in usage of the filter for 737 Max planes, following a January 5 incident involving an Alaska Airlines flight in which the plug door detached during flight. The government's investigation of Boeing following the Alaska flight is ongoing. 

Here's how it works: When booking flights through Kayak, input your desired destination and travel dates into the search page, then scroll to the bottom left corner and look for the “Model” category filter (under the Aircraft category filter). 

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From there, you can pick and choose which aircraft you'd like to include or exclude from the search.

Kayak has offered the filter since 2019, but following an uptick in usage, it moved the filter up so that it's more prominent for travelers when they search for a flight, a spokesperson told Kiplinger in an email. The company also added the ability to filter specifically by the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft models.

Steve Hafner, Kayak’s CEO, said in a statement that customers should still be diligent when scheduling travel. 

“Kayak makes it easy for concerned travelers to avoid 737 Max flights,” he said. “We've increased the prominence of the MAX filter on site. Airlines do often substitute equipment — so travelers should double check before departure.”

Alaska, United resume some Max flights

 It’s a good time to be aware of this feature, as Alaska and United airlines have now begun to return some of its Max 9s to service, following a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved inspection and maintenance process. 

The incident caused extensive delays and groundings, which lasted for much of January. This included weeks of updates, inspections and reassurance from the airlines that they were taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the planes, as recommended by the FAA.

In other travel news, anxious flyers may want to take note of another site: Turbli. As Kiplinger recently reported, the site provides forecasts of turbulence for flights along with wind, thunderstorms, takeoff and landing crosswinds,

And if you're looking for accessible travel, AccessibleGo travel website has launched a major expansion. The site, which bills itself as a “one-stop shop for all your disability travel needs,” can now be used to book equipment rentals, flights, rental cars with hand controls, wheelchair van rentals and more.


Jamie Feldman

Jamie Feldman is a journalist, essayist and content creator. After building a byline as a lifestyle editor for HuffPost, her articles and editorials have since appeared in Cosmopolitan, Betches, Nylon, Bustle, Parade, and Well+Good. Her journey out of credit card debt, which she chronicles on TikTok, has amassed a loyal social media following. Her story has been featured in Fortune, Business Insider and on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS News, and NPR. She is currently producing a podcast on the same topic and living in Brooklyn, New York.