My First (And Last) MD-80 Flight - Trip Report

Hello, everybody! Welcome to my first trip report!

So, this trip all began two days ago (yes, short planning, I know). I had been looking at availability of MD-80 flights. I went through most destinations out of my home airport of DFW: IAH, LBB, SAT, MSY, MCI, MEM, XNA, DSM and OMA. But unfortunately, no luck. Then I stumbled across a fairly empty flight from STL to DFW at 4:05pm. So I checked flights to STL on WN (my dad is an employee for WN, so I fly for free). Wow! 84 seats available on the 11:10am nonstop to STL! I checked myself in for the flight hoped for the best.

The next day (yesterday), I head out to DAL with my brother and dad, both of which are joining me on the flight. We all got precheck :)

Fortunately, the flight to STL remained wide open. I was cleared almost immediately. I still had time for a quick bite, so I walked over to the Whataburger and got a 3 chicken strip meal (with a Coke, of course @Niccckk). I headed back over to the gate. 15 minutes later, we boarded the flight. We were on a 737-800, and unfortunately, it had the old interior. But that’s besides the point - I got an entire row to myself! I got to stretch out. Shortly after takeoff, the inflight beverage service began. I pulled out my lunch and much to my surprise, the 3 piece chicken strip meal I had ordered had in fact come with 4 chicken strips - surely it must be my lucky day!

Fast forward to the end of the flight - major crosswinds and a hard landing (a moment of silence for the gear, please). We leave the plane and head into the airport to begin our three hour layover. The airport was VERY empty. There were probably more employees then there were passengers. We leave the terminal to catch the shuttle. Remember that I said it must be my lucky day? Yup. The shuttle pulled up to the curb the second we got out the doors.

After a short ride on the shuttle, we arrive at the AA terminal. The interior of the check in area was designed by a Japanese designer, and it had a very TWA-style look (like the hotel, @Guxk). We check in for the flight (American doesn’t have online check in. You have to physically go to the airport and check in). We get around to the gate area - it’s very empty just like the Southwest terminal. The AA terminal has an extension area of the terminal area for TWA built for it’s heavies. That area is now abandoned and part of it closed off to the public. The only people in there were one passenger also exploring and two employees, and it would have been dead silent if not for one operating TV. We go and eat lunch at the Chili’s in the terminal - it was a little bit better than the one in the Southwest terminal, which I have formally dubbed “the world’s worst Chili’s”. After a bit of terminal spotting (which didn’t go so well, the lighting was horrible and it was cloudy) and could only get some half decent shots of Cape Air C402s taxiing past. We were cleared and shortly after, our plane arrived!

Our aircraft was N964TW, a 20.2 year old American Airlines’ McDonnell Douglas MD-83. Delivered on 08 May 1999 to TWA, this aircraft was bought by American on 02 December 2001 after TWA’s bankruptcy.

We boarded in Group 6. I took my seat in 14A (luck was with me again as it was a window seat!) and immediately started checking out everything.

Shortly after, we began our pushback. Do not get me started on the sound of the Pratt & Whitney JT8Ds. We begun our taxi and after about 3 minutes, we arrived at the runway. We didn’t need to stop at the hold short line as the airfield was empty at the time. We began our takeoff roll, and it was music to my ears.

After about THREE MINUTES, we reached 10,000 feet. It was just another 8 minutes until we reached our cruising altitude of FL240. The meal service began shortly after, and unfortunately since it was not a 3+ hour flight, the meal consisted of pretzels and a Coke (@Niccckk).

Unfortunately, it was a short hour and 15 minute flight, and it was over fairly quickly. Here’s a few bonus pics:

And here’s a special pic I took on the way to the bathroom:

Flight: Very smooth. No bumps at all until descent into DFW.

Service: Amazing! Those were some of the most caring FAs I’ve ever had. They were very kind and helpful.

Food/Beverage Service: Awesome! They pre-stock the cart and ask what you would like and give it to you. The cup size was double what WN gives you.

Cleanliness: Incredible! Despite the age of the aircraft, everything was spotless inside, including the bathroom. It smelled nice and the cleaning crew did a fantastic job. Very well maintained inside and out (although the body was kind of beat up)

Seating/Comfort: This was one of the best parts. The seats were soft and cushiony. The recline was great! The seats did look very 90s/early 2000s. This is a seat I could sit in for a long haul.

Legroom: Very nice. I had plenty of legroom since I’m not very tall and there was plenty of space beneath the seat even with my backpack underneath. Might be an issue for taller people.

Inflight Entertainment: I did not connect to the WiFi because I did not bring my earbuds. Boingo Hotspot sucks anyway.

Overall, it was a very nice flight. I highly recommend flying on these while you still have the chance! They’re gone for good on September 4!

Have you flown on an MD-80?

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20 Likes

Did I hear… Coke? No no no, my ears must be lying to me.

8 Likes

They are not.

1 Like

On that note, I’ll be giving this trip report a 9 star on Yelp.

3 Likes

Nice trip report! Very well explained, and full o’ details. Gotta agree with @Niccckk though, Pepsi is the way to go. 👆

5 Likes

None of y’all have flown on an MD-80? I feel so bad for y’all

1 Like

Not a fan personally. I’m glad to see them retire

2 Likes

I have. I used to fly them all the time from DFW when I was little. Some years ago I was like “I don’t like the Super 80 they’re everywhere”.

Aaaaaaaaaand here we are, 16 days left until all of AA’s are gone. Last time I flew one was in April… hopefully I’ll get go do it one more time but it’s looking slim.

Great report, anyways. Quick question, did the seats feature headrests? I know some MD-80s do and others don’t.

I don’t believe this one did. However, my head went up to about the top so it wasn’t an issue.

1 Like

This brings back memories of my few MD80 flights.

Back when delta wasn’t the only airline we fly, we used to connect through KDFW to get to MMPR. The AA MD-80 would operate those flights.

Delta also used them on many flights. I got to fly from KATL-KBUF on one as well. Always enjoy flying on this aircraft, sad to see it go :(

2 Likes

casual flex…

RIP B738 gear

shame on you AA

wait…good or bad @Altaria55

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It’s as standby so it’s not always as great as you think. Because of it I’ve flown in the middle seat 11 out of the 16 flights I’ve been on this month.

The MD 80 will never be forgotten she was a true legend

2 Likes

I can’t believe she will be gone :( I love seeing her touchdown at KORD or blast off out of KFLL man good memories and u forever be missed now if u excuse me I will go cry in my room while watching vids of her…

Judging by the replies, I’m very lucky, almost all my flights from KMEM-DFW/ATL 5-6 times a year, are Md-80/88s on Delta and American.

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flexing…

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My bad, I didn’t mean it to be taken that way 😅

That’s false. They do have online check in. I do it all the time

I guess it’s just for standbys then.

Ah, you were standby on the AA flight?

You can check in 24 hours prior to the flight in order to register your D1/D2/D3 or whichever tier on the flight. Usually it’ll allow you to print your standby boarding pass as well to get through security, or print it at a self-check in counter/check-in desk at the airport.

At least, that’s what we’ve done every time(aside from foreign airports though)…

2 Likes