Spotting the United 737 MAX 9 at IAH (Inagural Day)

Spotting the United 737 MAX 9

On June 7, 2018, United’s 737 MAX 9’s flew their first revenue flights. All flights originated from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH), my home airport.

The routes that were flown by the MAX 9 yesterday are as follows…
IAH-ANC Houston to Anchorage
IAH-AUS Houston to Austin
IAH-FLL Houston to Fort Lauderdale
IAH-MCO x2 Houston to Orlando

Houston to Orlando was flown twice, one flight departing IAH at 7:35am, and the second departing at 2:50pm. The introduction of the MAX 9 to United’s fleet saw the reintroduction of the Houston to Anchorage route. This route used to be seasonal, operated by a 757-200. Now, it is the longest 737 flight that United offers, and one of the longest in the world (by a 737).

I arrived at IAH at 7:15, watching departures from 15L and 15R. At this time, 300 miles north, Dallas is getting hammered with a line of severe thunderstorms. This caused many DFW bound aircraft to divert to Houston. Air Canada, Aeromexico, and American were all among airlines that had to divert. On the IAH Clearance Delivery frequency (128.1), the controller was telling all diverts that delays could exceed an hour, before they could depart back to Dallas Fort-Worth.

Emirates recently brought back the A380 service (June 1), and I was eager to catch it. It was delayed, but I thought I could make it to the parking garage to watch it taxi out. The drive from where I was watching departures to the garage is usually 5 minutes. I looked on FlightAware, and saw that it had left the gate! So we pulled over, and waited for it to depart. It flew right over, around 200 feet above! It was too dark to get a good picture without a tripod, but it was an amazing experience nevertheless.

7:15 to 8:20

Rankin Road Spotting Location,-95.34774194,26.00004706a,1646.65440072d,35y,0h,0t,0r

Here is N69189 departing in the last few minutes of golden hour at IAH.

Alaska 413 departing back to Seattle off of 15R. Check out those LED’s!

An American Maddog 83 climbing away enroute to Dallas. N9681B was one of the diversions due to weather at and around DFW.

8:30 to 10:45

Terminal C Parking Garage,-95.33870119,51.05511275a,531.62255689d,35y,0h,0t,0r

Air New Zealand’s All Blacks 787-9 Dreamliner decided to visit us in Houston after being grounded for 6 months due to engine troubles!

A DHL 767-200 operated by Atlas Air taxiing by for departure to New Orleans (MSY).

Triholer! 5X771 preparing to depart back to Louisville (SDF)!

United 737 MAX 9

First Day of Revenue Service

The MAX 9 is beautiful in person. The LEAP 1B’s sound absolutely amazing. When they start up, they sound exactly the same as a GE90. A perfect engine for a perfect plane. The new United livery makes it look that much better. It really complements the MAX 9’s fuselage shape and it fits very well. I’m so glad that United decided to order 150 MAX aircraft, 100 of those being the MAX 9.

Spotting Locations at IAH Google Maps
JetPhotos Matt Allison aviation photos on JetPhotos
Flickr Matt Allison | Flickr

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read all of this! It was an awesome experience and I’m glad I could share it with the community. If you have any questions regarding the photos, or anything really relating to this topic, please ask, I’ll try my best to answer!


Great pictures! Love the new 737 MAX! :)


Very nice pictures that you have :)


Nice catch!
My most favourite Boeing 737 variants is the 900 series or neither the MAX 9 too


DHL! Love it! You need to help me with night shots!

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That wave livery fits the MAXs so well…

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Nice to see the ANZ 787’s flying again! And Nice Pictures


taken during the first flight… (if you plan on using it, please ask for permission or give me some recognition)


Awesome shot. First flight you mean IAH-MCO?

yes it was on the first IAH-MCO


Cool! I spotted your plane, N67501 then. It did IAH-MCO-IAH-FLL-IAH, then I saw it fly IAH-SAN.

Are you the actual iTripReport dude?
Just curious

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Thx, also saw the same aircraft land right after us in San Diego that night. Man that day was exhausting

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Uhhhhhhh yeah pretty much


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