Three letters are still able to freak out passengers the world over.

Four months after the troubled Boeing 737MAX8 planes were grounded over safety concerns, airlines are going to extreme lengths to erase the name from their fleets.

Airlines are reprinting safety cards, with others painting removing the letters MAX on aircraft livery, in an attempt to mollify worried travellers.

It was revealed and passengers are refusing to fly in MAX planes, after a flaw in the MAX 8 model was linked to two separate accidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia killing 346 people.

MAX removal: Ryanair has removed the letters to mollify customers. Photo / Twitter, @aeroimageschris
MAX removal: Ryanair has removed the letters to mollify customers. Photo / Twitter, @aeroimageschris

American carrier Southwest Airlines was force to reprint its 737 safety cards, which were shared with the 737-800 planes and still carried the name 737 MAX8.

The shared cards were panicking passengers. According to USA today the airline's flight attendants had to repeatedly assure passengers that they weren't on a MAX8, after seeing the name printed in yellow letters on the flight information cards.

The airline was constantly bombarded with messages via social media from worried travellers.

"I thought these were grounded," wrote one concerned Twitter user, with a picture of the safety card.

Eventually, in May Southwest issued separate cards for the 737-800 planes.

More concerning still is the fact that some airlines are dropping the letters entirely from their fleet.

Airplane photographer @AeroimagesChris captured images at the Boeing factory showing new Ryanair planes to have dropped the worrisome letters "MAX" from their paintwork.

The planes have instead been rebranded 737-8200.


"The MAX name has been dropped from the high capacity version of the #737MAX8 that @Ryanair has on order," claimed the photographer.

While Boeing and Ryanair have yet to respond to the pictures, it appears airlines are keen to erase the MAX name from their fleet and from sight of their passengers.

European budget airline Ryanair have 135 of the extended range models on order from Boeing. The first five are due for delivery before the end of the year.

The FAA are currently assessing if the modified MAX 8 planes are now safe to return to service.

Boeing might convince the FAA its MAX8s are now airworthy; however it will be more difficult for airlines to convince passengers to return to the planes.

MAX confusion: Which 737 MAX is which?

Boeing has four designs of the 737 MAX design, with hundreds of planes expected to continue service. However, worried passengers aren't taking any chances.

737 MAX7: Based on the 737-700, the Boeing's first MAX7 entered service in 2016.
737 MAX8: The aircraft involved in the Ethiopia and Lion Air disasters, which saw the plane grounded in March 2019 with an ongoing review into the safety.
However, the 737-800 MAX series continue to be produced as the high density MAX 200, of which Ryanair has over 100 on order.
This was redesignated as the 737-8200.
737 MAX9: The MAX 9 was first delivered to the Lion Air Group in March last year.
737 MAX10: The MAX10 is expected to enter service in July 2020. There are over 361 of these aircraft on order by airlines including Lion Air and United Airlines.