An Ode To The (Delta) MD-80

Photo Credit

With Delta retiring their MD-80’s and MD-90’s tomorrow, an era is ending. This era, lasting all the way from the MD-80’s first flight in 1979, to now, is closing fast, with AA, Delta, and many more operators retiring the MD-80 at an unprecedented rate. It’s the sad reality of the airline business, where legendary aircraft are retired in favor of new, efficient ones.

The MD-80 was developed from the already proven workhorse called the DC-9, which had over 976 orders. The MD-80 amassed numbers of 1,191 orders, which is a lot. The MD-80 quickly became a household name, everybody knew of the airplane, from both its appearance, and publicity (good and bad). The MD-80 was a competitor to both the 737 classics and NG series, and the original A320 series, and other short-medium haul aircraft. The MD-80 held its ground in the ever-evolving aviation industry throughout the years, well into the 2000’s, it’s operational life loved out the company McDonnell Douglas itself!

Delta first placed the MD-80 into service on January 5th, 1988 (it’s quite coincidental that they operate the MD-88 variant too). But the first eight were delivered as MD-82’s, and from the 9th on, all of Delta’s MD-80’s were the -88 variant. The MD-80 faithfully served Delta for 32 years, becoming the flagship of their fleet at times, the MD-80 served with both the oldest, and most modern planes in Delta’s fleet. Eventually, all reigns have to end, and now is the time for Delta’s MD-80’s. In favor of more modern, fuel efficient aircraft, and because of decreased demand from the virus, the MD-80 is finally being retired. For the better, or the worse, only time will tell.

Delta is the last passenger operator of the MD-80 in America, and is one of the few worldwide operators. Apart from Everts Air, Delta is the last US-based operator of the MD-80, which makes this retirement even more saddening. We may never see Delta’s MD-80’s and MD-90’s fly after June 2nd, 2020 (apart from flying to their permanent retirement home), but we will always remember the MD-80 and MD-90. While Delta’s MD-80’s may be history after tomorrow, they will never be forgotten for their service with Delta.

And now, for a poem by @Infinite_Qantas.

MD-80, often called maddog

You could fly in every weather condition even fog
With your rocket engines so strong
My expectations were never wrong
With your engines so loud
The aviation community never could have been more proud

Dear MD-80, the time has come
Time to say goodbye
I want to thank you for all the memories you gave me
So one more time
One more time to shine in the sky
With the engines so loud en powerful, I’m grateful to have flown with you

A personal note:
The MD-80 is my second favorite plane (second to the DC-9), so this retirement is incredibly sad for me, after tomorrow, there won’t be a single passenger operator that has MD-80’s in the US.

I do acknowledge the contributions the MD-90 has made in the aviation industry, but I thought I’d focus on the more iconic MD-80. It’s sad to see them both go.

Farewell, MD-80 and MD-90, you will be missed, but not forgotten!

Photo Credit

Thanks for stopping by!


A blessing from the Lord, never gets bored :)
Farewell MD80/90

1 Like

Agreed, @Infinite_Qantas.

Also, thanks for letting me use your poem. 😉

Really gonna miss them. At least airports are still honoring them with water canon salutes despite COVID.

World Atlantic Airlines tho

1 Like

No problem

1 Like

I know, I’ll miss them too. But like you said, at least the water cannon salutes are happening.

Also, I thought that World Atlantic was Charter, correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t know much about them.

1 Like

Yeah it’s charter, but technically still passenger I guess?

The poem is real nice ;) Sad to say Goodbye to these aircraft’s ;(

Oddly, one of the most touching threads. I can’t believe Delta’s killing their legendary fleet, from the 777 to the maddog and they haven’t even retired their 757s.

Happy flying! 👨‍✈️

Ace out! ✌️

Thank you so much!
I’m so mad that Delta is retiring the MD-80, -90, and the 777 too. They’re amazing planes, and who knows, the 757 may be next. 😪

I know, it’s super sad, @ThomasThePro, but it’s the sad reality. Also, thank @Infinite_Qantas for the poem! 😉

My condolences to the MD series… truly the ending of an era, as @Butter_Boi said.

Is anyone going to watch her butter one more time?

Unbelievable the Delta MD-88 and MD-90 are retiring tomorrow. At least I flew one from ATL-MIA.

Same, the era of the 80’s and 90’s was a time for evolution in the aviation industry, and the MD-80 was one of the most famous planes from that era.

@Udeme_Ekpo, that’s so cool, I wish I was able to fly on one.


I remember flying on a Delta MD-80 from Las Vegas to Seattle. We were originally booked on an Alaska 739, but the flight was cancelled. Alaska rebooked on the Delta MD. We got the last row, so unfortunately no window. Awesome engine sounds though!

1 Like

That sounds so cool, must’ve been glad your flight was cancelled and rebooked!


It’s truly saddening. If only people in the industry saw that this plane (like the A320 and 777) can be “modernized” and fit to compete in modern air travel today. But sadly that will likely never come to fruition.

Goodbye MAD DOGS. If I could I’d buy one of these, and keep it as it was, or re-renovate it to make it look like it did inside and out fresh off the factory floor and use it as a travel home for vacations. With of course having PROPER maintenance given on it every 5-10 weeks for maximum lifespan.

1 Like

The 737, A320, 777, and so many more planes (even some DC-10,s have had updates), but not the MD-80. Although the 717 is an efficient cousin of the MD-80, it’s just not the same.

And I would love to buy an MD-80!

1 Like

I’ll have no doubt some of these Mad Dogs will be bought and probably turned into private planes or be put into museums.

1 Like

Like the Ford Tri-Motor and DC-3, and others like the 727 and 707, it would be great to see some MadDogs earn a second life as private planes, or possibly, museum planes.

1 Like

Yup. I mean hell, the prototype Boeing 707 is still airworthy. Why not the MD? 😉

1 Like