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AA MD-80 requiem - final 2019 routes and 4 Sep 2019 final flights

Old Jun 25, 2019, 10:38 am
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Last edit by: JDiver
AA McDonnell Douglas MD-80 “Super 80” (1983-2019)

“The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a series of twin-engine, short- to medium-range, single-aisle commercial jetliners. It was lengthened and updated from the DC-9. This series can seat from 130 to 172 passengers depending on variant and seating configuration.

American Airlines was the first US major carrier to order the MD-80 when it leased twenty 142-seat aircraft from McDonnell Douglas in October 1982 to replace its Boeing 727-100. It committed to 67 firm orders plus 100 options in March 1984, and in 2002 its fleet peaked at more than 360 aircraft, 30 % of the 1,191 produced.” AA used the “Super 80” name for this aircraft.

The first AA MD-80 was delivered in 1983, the last in 1999. (Wikipedia) The MD-80 was delivered with a standard tapered round fuselage tail cone, but it was found a “screwdriver” design somewhat similar to the Boeing 777 saved fuel. The “screwdriver” tail cone was applied to all AA MD-80s, and were fabricated by AA maintenance personnel at the Tulsa shop.

The last “Super 80s” operated by AA were TWA MD-83s built toward the end of the manufacturing run. “Their cockpits have digital engine instruments and dual flight management system (FMS) displays versus AA’s traditional ‘round dial’ presentation and lone GFMS keypad. The TWA computers’ formats and functionality are different from those of the single units—the Mac versus PC of the MD-80 world.” (Airways Magazine)

The last 23 “Mad Dogs” flew to a desert air park in Roswell, New Mexico, on 4 Sep 2019. One MD-80 remains at DFW Airport, to be used for future de-icing practice, and more will be donated to flight-training schools. (Bloomberg)

N984TW, a MD-83 assembled in 1999 (MSN 53634 / LN 2287), was the last MD-80 built (at the McDonnell Douglas plant at Long Beach / LGB, California, and was the last to be retired, flying AA 80 DFW-ORD before flying its final segment ORD-ROS. This aircraft is said to have “logged more than 61,000 hours in the air on 31,092 flights and is estimated to have carried more than 3.5 million passengers”.

Though wingtip devices and higher bypass ratio engines were proposed to create an “MD-80 Advanced”, there was never sufficient interest from the airlines to proceed with these advances. The 737’s GE CFM-56 engines offer 35% additional fuel savings per seat mile over the MD-80. An expensive to fulfill 2017 Airworthiness Directive governing the fuel pump system drove the nails into the coffin.

According to Airways Magazine,

“... the Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles crew domiciles (closed, and) DFW will be the aircraft’s final hub because of its maintenance capabilities and proximity to Tulsa’s repair and overhaul station... The aircraft’s tenure will conclude in the way it started. Memphis, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, and other current MD-80 destinations mostly lay within a 500-mile radius of Dallas.”

The AA MD-80s were retired to ROW / Roswell International Air Center, Roswell, New Mexico (previously Walker Air Force Base / WAFB).

American Airlines MD-80s in their final 140 seat configuration:

16 First class seats, 38-40” pitch, 21” width (rows 3-6, the seats on the port / left side had slightly less seat pitch than the starboard side due to removal of a closet to install an extra seat pair.

35 Main Cabin Extra seats with 34” pitch, 17.4 - 17.8” width in 2 x 3 configuration in rows 7-11 and exit rows.

89 Main Cabin seats with 31” pitch, 17.4 - 17.8” width in 2 x 3 configuration.

The A-B overhead bins were small, and couldn’t accommodate rollaboards wheels first; these had to be stowed in the D-E-F side bins. MD-80 we’re equipped with full service galleys, WiFi, center overhead screens for IFE, cigar lighter type jacks providing 15 VDC. Onboard WiFi IFE streaming to passengers’ personal entertainment devices was added.

Many consider the MD-80 seats some of the most comfortable, as they were better padded than the newer generation of lightweight seats. The cabin was relatively quiet, with the air noise completely masking any engine noise in First. On the other hand, the offset rows 31 and 32 were very close to the aft-mounted engines and engine noise was very loud.

McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83)

The MD-83 is a longer-range version of the basic MD-81/82 with higher weights, more powerful engines, and increased fuel capacity.

Powerplant: Compared to earlier models, the MD-83 is equipped with slightly more powerful 21,000 lbf (93 kN)-thrust Pratt and Whitney JT8D-219s as standard.

Performance: The MD-83 features increased fuel capacity as standard (to 6,970 US gal (26,400 L)), which is carried in two 565 US gal (2,140 L) auxiliary tanks located fore and aft of the center section. The aircraft also has higher operating weights, with MTOW increased to 160,000 lb (73,000 kg) and MLW to 139,500 lb (63,300 kg).

Typical range for the MD-83 with 155 passengers is around 2,504 nautical miles (4,637 km). To cope with the higher operating weights, the MD-83 incorporates strengthened landing gear including new wheels, tires, and brakes, changes to the wing skins, front spar web and elevator spar cap, and strengthened floor beams and panels to carry the auxiliary fuel tanks.” - (Wikipedia)

The scheduled final operations for these aircraft is shown in posts #1, #76, #166.

FlyerTalk threads:

MD-80 / Super 80 best seats (master thread)

The slow end of an era....the retirement of the AA MD-80

20 Mad Dogs / MD-80 (retiring) to ROW today (23 Aug 2016)

MD-80 “Super 80” aka “Mad Dog” memories, “longest goodbye”

Age of AAs MD-80 fleet?

External resources:

Link to MD-80 article in Airways Magazine, Nov 2015 issue

Link to (unofficial) AA Fleet Site retired MD-80 page

Link to Wikipedia MD-80 page


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AA MD-80 requiem - final 2019 routes and 4 Sep 2019 final flights

Old Jun 12, 2019, 9:38 pm
  #61  
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The first 787 flight was DFW-ORD, so maybe they’re just continuing the ‘tradition’?

ETA: It would be cool if AA did a retirement flight hitting all of the LAA hubs. Perhaps MIA-JFK/LGA-ORD-DFW-LAX

Last edited by FriendlySkies; Jun 12, 2019 at 9:51 pm
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Old Jun 12, 2019, 10:19 pm
  #62  
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I would gladly sign up for the last flight if I could torch the puppy at the end. It was an especially gruesome mad dog red eye LAS-ORD that drove me away from AA forever.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 5:11 am
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver
Some sources believe the final MD / Super 80 flight will be Wednesday 4 Sep 2019 from DFW to ORD, AA 80.

That flight is selling briskly, lower fare buckets are gone. The questions include whether or not this is conclusive given the 3M8 groundings.
I was trying to find this flight using google flights. What time is the departure from DFW?
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 8:31 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by teemuflyer
I was trying to find this flight using google flights. What time is the departure from DFW?
Never mind, found it. For a while google flights wouldn't show the option for connecting at DFW from AUS.. Prices reflect demand. Lowest fare $611 R/T..
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 8:35 am
  #65  
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Originally Posted by teemuflyer
Never mind, found it. For a while google flights wouldn't show the option for connecting at DFW from AUS.. Prices reflect demand. Lowest fare $611 R/T..
AAnytime is still apparently available at 20,000 miles. The AA 80 last MD-80 has been confirmed and it’s being snapped up. Only full and unrestricted fares are left.
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Last edited by JDiver; Jun 13, 2019 at 8:50 am
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 11:51 am
  #66  
 
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Planned is one thing, but I would be surprised if they park the last MD-80 as scheduled if the MAX's are still grounded and fully airworthy Mad Dogs still have cycles left before heavy maintenance. But assuming I'm not seated behind the rear door I still think they ride comparable to a Scarebus and better than a 737.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 12:06 pm
  #67  
 
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Originally Posted by jayer
Planned is one thing, but I would be surprised if they park the last MD-80 as scheduled if the MAX's are still grounded and fully airworthy Mad Dogs still have cycles left before heavy maintenance. But assuming I'm not seated behind the rear door I still think they ride comparable to a Scarebus and better than a 737.
At the current prices for the "last" pax flight, I would be a little wary about them extending the MD-80s for a bit further service as you mentioned.

On on another topic, I wonder if the 1st MD-80 flight was DFW-ORD, thus they chose this particular route as the presumed last one?
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 12:10 pm
  #68  
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Just used 20,000 miles to get on the last flight. I'll be in seat 9F, a seat I have some memories in back when I was a regular on PHX-ORD and PHX-DFW.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 12:34 pm
  #69  
 
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12.5k each way or about 750 bucks, I'd have to do OKC/DFW/ORD and then ORD/OKC on the return to make it work. Not sure it's worth it for me.
Actually, it doesn't look like it is even an award option for me that day. Other flights are but not this one.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 3:06 pm
  #70  
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I'd wouldn't blow big dollars or big miles to get on this flight. Potentially (and I have no idea how realistic) another pushback of the Max could delay the retirement to later in the fall. You could have a 738 subbed.
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Old Jun 14, 2019, 12:22 pm
  #71  
 
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Yeah, I don't see any further MD-80 retiring happening right now even with AA announcing an executive party on board the 737MAX when it is returned to service. Unless AA will just cut service and retire the planes because they have done a lot of other steps that are hard to change (such as managing pilots and FAs certified for that product).
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Old Jun 14, 2019, 4:54 pm
  #72  
 
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Plenty of room still available on the AA 2500 - CVG to DFW on an MD-80 on Sept. 4th,
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Old Jun 14, 2019, 10:31 pm
  #73  
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Can we retire/scrap those MAX 8's instead? If the planes themselves won't kill you the seat pitch will.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 6:16 pm
  #74  
 
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Tight connection getting into DFW 04SEP but I'm on flight 80, seat 15F. Looks like it's sold out already.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 6:55 pm
  #75  
 
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There will still be opportunities to fly on MD80's after AA retires its last MD80. Delta will be flying their MD88s, MD90s, and B717s for the next several years.
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