I'm a nervous flyer to begin with, so the news that Boeing is putting its crash-prone Max 737 jet back into service fills me with Lovecraftian dread.
I would rather ride a goddamn burro across the continental United States that get on one of those things. "Don't worry, we updated the software." There is no modern statement less reassuring.
But, how can you tell if you've been slated to fly on one?
As Jalopnik notes, Reuters reports that some airlines may stop using the "Max" name, so all you'll know is that you're flying on some sort of 737. So maybe you could just check your booking to see what sort of plane you're on? But airlines' methods of ID vary, and of course, sometimes at the last second they need to swap out jets for unanticipated reasons of maintenance or weather-related delays.
The upshot is that, as Jalopnik notes, you might have to simply figure it out by looking at the jet you're about to board. This assessment would come rather late to be of any prophylactic use, mind you, unless you're willing to skip the flight at the last second when you discover you're about to step onto the creditScore_xxbin32_init.exe of airplanes.
If your booking information doesn't note what kind of 737 you'll be flying, you may be able to spot the naming on the nose, tail or landing gear doors. Some airlines with a high number of 737 MAX aircraft orders, like Southwest, have no prominent markings at all.
At the airport, you can also check the winglets at the end of the wings. The 737 MAX will often have winglets that extend both up and down. Other versions of the 737 often have winglets that extend only upward. However, as some airlines — like United — have upgraded older planes to use the newer winglets, this isn't always a surefire way to determine 737 type, either.
If all else fails, look at the engines. The 737 MAX uses CFM International LEAP-1B engines.
These are physically larger and pushed forward compared with the CFM International CFM56-7 engines of the older 737NG. The LEAP-1B engines will also have serrated edges at the rear of the engines.
(That CC-2.0-licensed photo of a Max 737, by Edward Russell, comes courtesy Wikimedia)