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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 25, 2019, 12:54 pm
  #91  
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Originally Posted by teemuflyer
Thus the "might"..
they “might” paint the plane up like a cartoon Dalmatian. Lotta possibilities using that standard.
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 1:08 pm
  #92  
 
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Originally Posted by JonNYC

they “might” paint the plane up like a cartoon Dalmatian. Lotta possibilities using that standard.
No need to be like that, to be honest.. I appreciate your insights, but plane retirements have been extended multiple times due to unexpected circumstances. I agree with you that it is highly unlikely, but neither of us has a crystal ball.
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 2:02 pm
  #93  
 
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Just reserved 6F on flight 2180 AMA-DFW 0500 September 4th. $232. Main Cabin was $99.

On what media do you suggest I ask for the crew’s autograph?

Last edited by railmatt; Jun 25, 2019 at 2:34 pm
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 2:26 pm
  #94  
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I would assume that AA has contingency plans to still retire the MD80 even if the Max isn't back in service. The schedule is reduced post summer and there might be more flight cuts. IIRC the MD80s weren't really flying a full day (12 hour plus) schedule.

My last MD 80 flight is mid August MSY/DFW. Just hoping my upgrade clears. Lots of fun (and at times tipsy) moments in that comfy MD80 F seat.
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 2:57 pm
  #95  
 
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Originally Posted by BThumme
So the flight is sold out? I just found out this morning about it, and tried to book it but couldn't see it at all.
Totally sold out. It's 0'd out across all fare classes. Luckily I don't have any special connection to this bucket of bolts. But remembering the final revenue flight on the NWA DC-10, I wouldn't mind being on another final flight. (And it helped the final flight was HNL-MSP!)
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 5:05 pm
  #96  
 
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Originally Posted by arc727
AA posted a news release Monday morning.
I wonder what the rationale is for which flights are included in that chart. For example, AA2326 DSM-DFW on 9/4 is included but AA2388 DSM-DFW on 9/3 is not. Yet both the evening SAT-DFW (2372) and the morning one (2185) are on the chart.

Originally Posted by BThumme
So the flight is sold out? I just found out this morning about it, and tried to book it but couldn't see it at all.
Originally Posted by FriendlySkies
filled up weeks ago. Many of us used 20K miles for AAnytime AAwards in Y figuring it was the final flight.
I was still seeing 2 Y seats available for $919 each as late as 8:30 CDT this morning.
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 5:52 pm
  #97  
 
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There is a CMH flight on September 3rd that isn't listed here as one of the lasts. I might jump on that!
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Old Jun 25, 2019, 11:19 pm
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by _kurt
I wonder what the rationale is for which flights are included in that chart. For example, AA2326 DSM-DFW on 9/4 is included but AA2388 DSM-DFW on 9/3 is not. Yet both the evening SAT-DFW (2372) and the morning one (2185) are on the chart.
My guess is that each flight listed is that particular aircraft’s last revenue flight before being ferried to ROW.

Interesting how one flight will end in STL. I’m guessing that’s a nod to TWA.
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 12:10 pm
  #99  
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Originally Posted by railmatt
Just reserved 6F on flight 2180 AMA-DFW 0500 September 4th. $232. Main Cabin was $99.

On what media do you suggest I ask for the crew’s autograph?
Get a card-stock boarding pass at the counter or gate and have them sign the Boarding Pass.
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 2:26 pm
  #100  
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It does seem shortsighted on AA's part to place a firm date on the last 26 Mad Dogs - perhaps because pilots are officially released on that date and can't easily be recalled?

In the fall, AA will have a significant deficit of aircraft because of this and the MAXes.
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 2:46 pm
  #101  
 
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
It does seem shortsighted on AA's part to place a firm date on the last 26 Mad Dogs - perhaps because pilots are officially released on that date and can't easily be recalled?

In the fall, AA will have a significant deficit of aircraft because of this and the MAXes.
Those MD80s may be due for expensive maintenance. Plus, AA typically reduces flights after the summer season.
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 4:57 pm
  #102  
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After the MD80's are retired, I might start going out of my way to booking Eagle flights because A CRJ-700/900/E175 is infinitely more comfortable in the back than any OASIS aircraft.

That and the E190's for about one more year and the LUS A321's before they get the OASIS treatment.
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 12:33 am
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
It does seem shortsighted on AA's part to place a firm date on the last 26 Mad Dogs - perhaps because pilots are officially released on that date and can't easily be recalled?

In the fall, AA will have a significant deficit of aircraft because of this and the MAXes.
Jobs are put up for bid. The MD80 pilots have already bid on and received other job assignments flying other aircraft types after the retirement. It's not a simple task to extend the retirement, because then the MD80 pilots, now scheduled to fly 737s and Airbuses, have to be replaced on those 737s and Airbuses. And where do you find the pilots to do that? They can't just scrape up the entire spare pilot pool in case someone calls in sick, and I don't think there are that many spare pilots anyway.
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 12:25 pm
  #104  
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Yesterday I was upgraded 5 days out on 1222 dfw-dtw. What a wonderful ride for 2. 5 hours it was. When I walked out of the plane, I popped my head in the cockpit and said "I'm really going to miss the mad dog". The pilot and FO look at me in unison say "ME TOO!".
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 12:58 pm
  #105  
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
It does seem shortsighted on AA's part to place a firm date on the last 26 Mad Dogs - perhaps because pilots are officially released on that date and can't easily be recalled?

In the fall, AA will have a significant deficit of aircraft because of this and the MAXes.
Originally Posted by Austin787
Those MD80s may be due for expensive maintenance. Plus, AA typically reduces flights after the summer season.
Aside from the fact the 737-800 is 35% more fuel efficient per passenger seat mile, the MD-80 was hit by an AD note that caused significant expense that had to be completed by October 2017. So, some were fixed and retained, but I’m guessing some of these may be approaching expensive required (usually every specified number of hours in service) periodic maintenance.

A C check occurs every 20-24 months and requires thousands of man hours over a couple of weeks as well as requiring inspection of most aircraft systems.

A D check may be 6-10 years apart, but virtually results in stripping and rebuilding an aircraft over a couple of months and tens of thousands of man hours.

I’m sure AA decisions about which aircraft went to ROW and which remained in service took these issues into consideration, and that at least some of the birds due to retire in September are nearing heavy maintenance. Fall experiences less demand than summer, and they’re probably betting the MAX issue will be resolved by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday peak demand times roll in - though I’m not entirely sanguine about that.
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