Ouch: Ryanair’s New 197-Seat Boeing 737 MAX 8-200

Ouch: Ryanair’s New 197-Seat Boeing 737 MAX 8-200

39

Ryanair has just taken delivery of what might be one of the world’s least comfortable jets…

Ryanair takes delivery of world’s first Boeing 737 MAX

European low cost carrier Ryanair’s fleet consists primarily of Boeing 737s. In terms of fleet renewal, the airline has 210 Boeing 737 MAXs on order. The airline was first supposed to take delivery of these planes a couple of years ago, though that timeline was delayed due to the 737 MAX being grounded globally.

Ryanair has taken delivery of the 737 MAX 8-200

This week Ryanair has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX, which is being called a “game changer” for the airline. The airline will be taking delivery of these planes gradually — Ryanair Group will take delivery of 12 737 MAXs during the summer of 2021 (with six going to Ryanair and six going to Malta Air), and an additional 50 of these planes before the summer of 2022.

The efficiency of this plane is no doubt impressive compared to the previous generation 737-800 (which is the same size):

  • The 737 MAX carries 197 passengers, which is 4% more than the 189-seat 737-800
  • Per passenger fuel consumption is being reduced by 16% compared to the 737-800
  • Noise emissions and CO2 emissions will be reduced by roughly 40% compared to the 737-800

As Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary describes the new plane:

We are delighted to take delivery of our first new technology Gamechanger aircraft. These new Boeing 737 aircraft will help Ryanair lower costs, cut fuel consumption and lower noise and CO2 emissions as we invest heavily in new technology to deepen our environmental commitment as Europe’s greenest, cleanest major airline. Each B737 aircraft offers 197 seats (compared to our 189-seat current 737 fleet). However, our customers will enjoy more leg room, new Boeing “Sky Interiors” and lower fares, while reducing their environmental footprint by switching to these new aircraft.

Ryanair has taken delivery of its first 737 MAX

Ryanair is the launch customer for the 737 MAX 8-200

Ryanair is far from the first airline to take delivery of the 737 MAX, though there is something that makes Ryanair’s 737 MAX order unique. Ryanair is the launch customer for the Boeing 737 MAX 8-200.

The 737 MAX 8-200 is a higher capacity version of the 737 MAX 8. No, the plane isn’t actually bigger, but rather there are more seats crammed into it.

Why is there a separate aircraft designation for these higher configuration planes? After all, typically an airline choosing to configure a plane with more seats has nothing to do with the aircraft manufacturer, and doesn’t warrant a different aircraft designation.

The reason is because the 737 MAX 8-200 has an extra set of emergency exits, which are required due to the number of seats. As you can see below, there are four sets of emergency exits — the forward and rear doors, the over wing exits, and another set of exits between the wings and the back of the plane (with that exit in the middle rear of the plane being new).

The 737 MAX 8-200 has an extra exit

Ryanair will have 28″ of pitch, and… more leg room?!?

Ryanair’s new 737 MAX 8-200s will feature 28″ of seat pitch, which is in line with what you’ll find on Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Frankly I’m surprised it took Ryanair this long to decrease pitch to 28″.

Ryanair 737 MAX seats

It’s funny that Ryanair is reducing seat pitch to 28″ all while claiming that these new planes offer “more leg room.” Admitted leg room and seat pitch aren’t the same thing — seat pitch is the amount of space each seat takes up (measuring one point on a seat to the same point on a seat a row in front), while leg room is the actual amount of leg room you have.

But if you reduce seat pitch to 28″ all while increasing leg room, I can’t even imagine how thin these seats are. They must make a piece of paper look thick by comparison. In fairness, a lot of the additional space here comes from galley space being reduced significantly.

Ryanair 737 MAXs have just 28″ of pitch

Bottom line

Ryanair has taken delivery of its first of 210 Boeing 737 MAXs. The planes are so dense that they need extra emergency exits due to the number of seats. With just 28″ of pitch, Ryanair is ushering in a new era of 737 MAX discomfort.

I would be curious to see what the interiors of these planes actually look like, given the 28″ of pitch and alleged improved leg room.

What do you make of Ryanair’s 737 MAX 8-200s?

Conversations (39)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. James Guest

    Whats the difference between this plane and the ones that crashed?

    1. Bagoly Guest

      The plane is rebranded from "737 MAX" to "737-8200 Gamechanger".
      In terms of safety, these ones have updated software, so what problem could there possible be?

      8 this year going to Buzz - the Ryanair subsidiary in Poland: https://warszawa.naszemiasto.pl/warszawa-pierwszy-boeing-737-8200-gamechanger-w-barwach/ar/c1-8446907
      Lauda Europe is another brand that is actually Ryanair.

  2. Fred Guest

    In reference to the Boeing 800 MAX, Ralph Nader said you can't correct a hardware problem with software.
    This aircraft has a major design flaw - it's not balanced because Boeing rushed its production to keep up with Airbus.
    I wouldn't fly this aircraft if you paid me. There will be more tragic accidents and the next one(s) will seal Boeing's fate.

  3. Patrick Forer Guest

    I love the typo in the quote from the Ryanair CEO... "GAMchanger" indeed.
    Once you've flown on the MAX 8 200, your legs, or 'gams' will never be the same! OUCH!

  4. Felix Guest

    With 6.7 I technically do not fit the seat, since my leg in horizontal dimension measures 27 inch.

    But due to the new exit, it could become an alternative to the A321 where the legroom at the exit as especially huge, much better compared to over-the-wing exit.

  5. Stefan Guest

    The way the 737 Max crash another pair of emergency exits won't make a difference.

  6. Alex McGeorge Guest

    Ryanair - The Airline of Last Resort!

    Make sure you pay with a credit card so you have a chance of getting your money back if there are any issues with your flights!

  7. DEVRON Guest

    I see 5 exits 1) forward 2) 2x overwing 3) mid 4) aft? Lot of exits.

    Doesn't sound conformable but with the price you pay still a good deal. I like how the malta air plane looks.

  8. robbo Guest

    Ryan air, LOL, never in a million years would I fly with these Irish wankers

  9. John Gresham Guest

    Re "As you can see below, there are four sets of emergency exits":
    I can see FIVE sets of emergency exits!

  10. Jorge Arbusto Guest

    @Luis, please read again and then say you’re sorry.

  11. Robert Fahr Guest

    "The planes are so dense that they need extra emergency exits due to the number of seats." Says it all.

  12. JC Edwards Guest

    Ryanair, comfortable, and galley are words that don't seem to make much sense in a single sentence. FR is great for its point-to-point low cost, not for its flight experience value.

  13. Art Nicklaus Guest

    I have found the slim Recaro seats on some Alaska Airlines flights to be very comfortable, much easier on my back than previous seats that were thicker.

  14. Bill n DC Guest

    Is there a seat map to check on the ‘slimmed’ galleys?

    My God have mercy on their souls (& Butts) ;-)

  15. MCA Guest

    Several 737 series of a/c have always had that plug style door aft of the window exits, most airlines just don't use them. It's nothing "new"...do your homework...

  16. Ben Guest

    I just need to reiterate how bad your redesign is. I'm running a 24" monitor at 1920 x 1080 resolution, and when I load the blog page I don't see any content -- just a photo of an airplane ceiling, a ton of banner ads, and a huge blue box that says "Blog." I have no idea what machines you were designing and testing on but to real-life users this is not good.

    1. Klavs New Member

      It was designed for mobile as it looks much better there.

  17. Luke Guest

    The galley looks too narrow to fit those food/beverage carts, and also many carry on bags to roll I think.

  18. DKB Gold

    An extra row of extra leg rooms seats is always welcome, they're usually reasonably priced.

  19. Alec Guest

    So sit in the back of the plane if you want a better chance getting off the plane quicker in an emergency

  20. Juraj New Member

    Historically, LCCs often offered slightly better seat pitch by virtue of having one class only. Given the hard limit on the number of seats, 189 evenly spaced seats on a 737-800 would naturally come to about 30" pitch.

    Ironically this is worse on aircraft with extra-legroom seats up front, since the extra space there needs to be compensated in economy. My most uncomfortable flight to-date was on an Iberia Express A320 with 28" pitch, whereas...

    Historically, LCCs often offered slightly better seat pitch by virtue of having one class only. Given the hard limit on the number of seats, 189 evenly spaced seats on a 737-800 would naturally come to about 30" pitch.

    Ironically this is worse on aircraft with extra-legroom seats up front, since the extra space there needs to be compensated in economy. My most uncomfortable flight to-date was on an Iberia Express A320 with 28" pitch, whereas LCCs like Wizz Air, Easyjet or Volotea were all pretty comfortable by comparison.

    1. 305 Guest

      Nailed it. Iberia Express A320 by far the tightest, most uncomfortable flight I’ve ever taken. Made Ryanair seem like Comfort+

    2. CV990 New Member

      It seems counterintuitive that a ULCC seat would have more legroom but I've experienced this too. I had booked a flight on Allegiant because they were the only airline that served my destination. Being 6'4, I was dreading the 2 1/2 hours crammed in like a sardine but to my surprise, the legroom was adequate, the seats were leather and had a good amount of cushioning. I enjoyed the flight. Admittedly this was several years...

      It seems counterintuitive that a ULCC seat would have more legroom but I've experienced this too. I had booked a flight on Allegiant because they were the only airline that served my destination. Being 6'4, I was dreading the 2 1/2 hours crammed in like a sardine but to my surprise, the legroom was adequate, the seats were leather and had a good amount of cushioning. I enjoyed the flight. Admittedly this was several years ago on an MD-80 so I can't speak to their current offering.

  21. Tim Dunn Guest

    The extra doors are available on the 737-900ER but deactivated by most US airlines because they don't need them. Boeing just offered them on the MAX 8 in order to increase the capacity that the MAX 8 can carry.

  22. Jim Johnson Guest

    The max like the DC10 will become one of the safest aircraft to fly. The DC10 had the cargo hatch problem and the press like now made the worst of everything but never come back and say they were wrong.

    1. Mike Guest

      The max has inherent design flaws - made by trying to cram enormous turbofan engines on a 60+ year old airframe design that was never intended to have the engines in this position/configuration. The result is that without significant computer input, the airplane is unflyable. Airlines taking delivery of this flying disaster in waiting will live to regret it, exponentially more than they already do. This “airplane” is Boeing’s commercial swan song.

  23. Luis Guest

    They have more seats at the expense of the galleys and nothing else. You should do your homework.

    1. TQH Guest

      That’s not true. To have this high pax count, they have to add another pair of exits between the overwing and the aft most exits. There are FAA and EASA rules on egress. There have to be enough space for proper evacuation. It’s a lot more than taking out the galleys. Don’t insult people. You don’t know what you are talking about.

  24. derac Guest

    They simply took those plastic seats you see on buses and rapid transit. It has been like riding a bus for years now.. they just made the experience more so.

  25. Milo Guest

    Legroom is a function of both seat pitch and seatback thickness. If the seatback is as thin as cardboard, a 28” seat pitch and provide as much legroom as 31” seat pitch with a 3” thick seatback.

    The most cramped economy seat I have ever been in was on a BA A380. That seatback must have been 5 inches thick, if not more.

    1. Andy Guest

      True that both are factors. However, there is no way to "gain" additional space with thinner seats, you just loose less space.

      My upper thigh measures 29.8 inches, which definitely more than 28, i.e. regardless how thin the seat back is, I won't fit.

  26. James S Guest

    At least they added new exits. Too many times airlines cram in new people with tighter seats while claiming there is zero impact on safety because 30 years ago they did an evac test in a pool

  27. john Guest

    Kind of disappointed O'Leary didn't go for 200 seats.

    1. SD Ron New Member

      I believe that 200 seats would require another flight attendant.

  28. Tortuga Gold

    I couldn't even fly this configuration if I wanted to. My legs are up against the seatback at 30". Jeez.

  29. Kent Guest

    The recipient is Malta Air, and not Air Malta. The former is a JV between Ryan Air and the Maltese Govt. while the latter is the flagship carrier for Malta.

  30. AJO Guest

    The deliveries in the summer will not go to Air Malta (KM), which is the national carrier of Malta, but to Malta Air (AL), which is the Maltese Ryanair/Gov't of Malta joint venture.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Juraj New Member

Historically, LCCs often offered slightly better seat pitch by virtue of having one class only. Given the hard limit on the number of seats, 189 evenly spaced seats on a 737-800 would naturally come to about 30" pitch. Ironically this is worse on aircraft with extra-legroom seats up front, since the extra space there needs to be compensated in economy. My most uncomfortable flight to-date was on an Iberia Express A320 with 28" pitch, whereas LCCs like Wizz Air, Easyjet or Volotea were all pretty comfortable by comparison.

2
Patrick Forer Guest

I love the typo in the quote from the Ryanair CEO... "GAMchanger" indeed. Once you've flown on the MAX 8 200, your legs, or 'gams' will never be the same! OUCH!

1
Andy Guest

True that both are factors. However, there is no way to "gain" additional space with thinner seats, you just loose less space. My upper thigh measures 29.8 inches, which definitely more than 28, i.e. regardless how thin the seat back is, I won't fit.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published