Growing up, I had photos of planes on my walls growing up, and have always enjoyed flying. I guess I’ve been an “av-geek” most of my life. I’m fortunate to be able to do so for work, at least to a point. While I’m a relatively new American flyer, I still feel some nostalgia for the old “Mad Dogs” that once formed the backbone of American’s domestic fleet. At one point AA had nearly 300 MD-80s in their fleet. Now that number is less than 30, and as of September 5, 2019, that will go down to zero. American MD-80 retirement has been officially announced.
When I first earned elite status with AA, flights between my home airport, Milwaukee and Dallas Fort Worth were on the MD-80. Many of them still are, but those flights are transitioning to A319s and even 737s. While the interiors are very tired, the 16 first class seats mean almost a guaranteed upgrade on those MD-80 flights. Plus, with the engines in the back make for a quiet ride up front. While of late, I’ve been fortunate to rarely sit in economy, with 5 seats across, there are a many less middle seats, making for a more comfortable experience.
For a trip down memory lane, read Mike’s post about some history of the American MD-80
American MD-80 Retirement plans
For various reasons in the past few years, AA has extended the life of these old workhorses, but we are now not far from the end of the road for the Mad Dogs. American has released the schedule for their last MD-80 flights:
The bolded flight above, flight AA80 a 9am departure from Dallas to Chicago will be the last scheduled MD-80 flight. Good luck if you want to get on that last flight, I expect it is already sold out.
With lots of maintenance problems at least in part due to ongoing labor issues, plus the MD-80 fleet being very old, hopefully this schedule holds. They also posted a cute tweet on this topic:
Will you try to fly an AA MD-80 while you still can?
I’ll miss these old birds, and the relative comfort I usually enjoyed on them. Still, I’m not going to actively seek them out between now and September 4. I’ve had several MD-80 flights this year, and may have a few more. What about you? If you have an MD-80 flight coming up, remember your DC “cigarette lighter” adapter to power up your devices in flight!
These planes also represent the last of the classic minimalist AA paint scheme, with the polished aluminum. The new livery has grown on me, but I’m still not a fan of the tail. Too much like Cubana.