What’s Really Wrong with the Boeing Planes?

What's Really Wrong with the Boeing Planes

Eyes have been on Boeing as the esteemed airplane manufacturer has caught national attention after a string of mid-flight malfunctions with their 737 Max planes. With the company experiencing significant turbulence in the headlines recently, we’ll break down what we know about the issues and how the public is responding.

The Alaska Airlines Incident

In January 2024, a door plug blew off of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 plane mid-flight after taking off from Portland, Oregon. This prompted a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examination into the manufacturer’s production processes, which found that the company failed 33 of 89 audits. At the end of February, the FAA informed Boeing that the company has 90 days to come up with an improvement plan to meet safety standards.

Multiethnic group of people flying abroad in economy class, using laptop, smartphone and headphones during sunset flight. Passengers travelling with international commercial airline.

Additionally, a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the plane was missing four bolts that attach the door plug to the fuselage. The Department of Justice has since launched a criminal investigation into the incident, though no further developments have been announced.

More Plane Problems

The Alaska Airlines incident in January brought major scrutiny to the airplane manufacturer, and the public has continued to highlight subsequent incidents involving Boeing planes this year.


In February, Boeing made headlines again after an older 737 Max jet was reported to have issues with stuck rudder pedals after landing in Newark, New Jersey. The NTSB has initiated an investigation into this incident.


Just last month, two Boeing 737 Max planes experienced notable issues in Texas within a few hours of each other. One plane ran off the runway into the grass upon landing in Houston, while another plane experienced takeoff delays in Lubbock after a reported engine fire.

Final Thoughts

Data from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Case Analysis and Reporting Online tool (CAROL) shows that the number of incidents involving Boeing passenger flights this year is relatively the same as all other years over the past decade.


It’s natural to feel some level of unease about these series of incidents given the media attention they’ve garnered, though the data shows that there’s no real impact on the risk of flying this year compared to years past. Overall, flying is still an extremely safe mode of transportation, with thousands of flights safely taking off and landing without issue each day.


Even still, the safety issues surrounding Boeing 737 Max planes cannot be whisked away as mere coincidence. The NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy spoke on the Alaska Airlines incident specifically, stating Boeing has a “quality control problem”. In addition, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stated that, “Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements” in a February statement.


Boeing’s chief executive, Dave Calhoun, is set to step down at the end of the year, so attention will be on his successor to see how they’re able to change the culture of quality for the airplane manufacturer and right their reputation with the public.

Written by Bailey Schramm in partnership with Marv Golden Pilot Supplies

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