Quest for one last MD-80 flight on American Airlines

As we all know the world famous McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and -90 family are being retired faster and faster each day. Growing up on Long Island New York in the early 2000s I remember looking up to the sky and seeing the classic American Airlines MD-82/83 as well as the Delta MD-88s screeching at about 3000 feet over my house. I would spend hours upon hours watching planes fly over it was impossible for my parents to get me inside. A few years later we sold our house in New York and moved down to Atlanta where I was able to experience many more MD-88s from delta flying them form ATL-LGA. My family never fly’s American. Now, enough back story lets talk about my mission for my first ever and most likely my last flight on a American Airlines MD-80.

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First step of the mission was to find a Affordable and quick trip that can get me on A couple MD-80s. This is what I came up with, I found a flight to Cleveland Ohio round trip form Atlanta for only 193$ in regular economy. Four flights in one day for only about 49$ per flight that’s a great deal! Alright, so I found my tip and selected my seats. Since American doesn’t fly the MD-80 out of Atlanta I had to fly on their surprisingly very comfy a321 but thats not why you’re here. so after consulting a friend I decided to pick 29F from DFW-CLE and 28F from CLE-DFW

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Alright! today is the big day. I woke up at 5AM to catch my 8AM flight to Dallas. After a spectacular sunrise we boarded the plane and took off for Dallas on time.

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The flight was great! nice inflight entertainment, great snack options and a fantastic crew! we even got to Dallas 20 minuites early! We pulled off the runway and stopped moving at first I was like “no big deal they are just giving us taxi instructions” but 5 minuites after not moving the pilot came on and say “Ladies and gentleman we are sorry for the delay but it seems that another aircraft has taken our gate, Should only be another 20-30 minuets” At this point I’m freaking out. I thought I was going to miss my connection and this trip would have been pointless. Luckily we found a gate and taxied in.

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As we passed the few MD-80s American has left the excitement started to really build but I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I still had to change terminals and get to my next gate. I had never been to DFW before so I had no clue where I was going. Luckily DFW is a very well laid out airport. I got off the plane and sprinted as fast as I could to the “Skylink” station at terminal A and took it one stop to terminal C. I ran threw crowds of people just to make it to my gate as they called general boarding I was very relieved.

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I finally boarded my plane N969TW a 19.8 year old MD-83 previously owned by TWA. I turned the corner of the jetway and there she was! The bare metal livery she has is so iconic!

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On board the wonderful pilots allowed me to come up and check out the dated but nostalgic cockpit of the MD-80. The pilots were saying how incredible this plane was and how it is easily one of the best planes in history! They seemed very happy to be flying such a old aircraft.

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As I settled into Seat 29F the view of the JT8D engine was incredible! the cabin its self was dated but very cosy and welcoming!

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I Am unable to post the engine start up and take off but let me tell you those JT8D engines are THE greatest engine ever made! I will be posting them to my youtube sometime in the future!

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Taking off on an MD-80 is like taking off in a rocket ship and going to another planet. I love the little touches McDonnell Douglas added to the window shade.

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The flight was not full and a light snack was served! Unfortunately it was IMC outside for the majority of the flight.

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We began our bumpy decent into Cleveland.

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Visiblity was poor on landing but our pilots made a very good landing!

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I only had about 45 minutes in Cleveland before I had to get back on the same plane and head back to Dallas

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After grading a quick burrito in the CLE airport I headed back on the plane for the flight back!

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I got back to my seat 28F and to much of my surprise there were only 55 people on the flight back!

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We quickly started up and headed back to DFW!!! after takeoff I was allowed to move around the cabin being how empty it was!

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I sat in every single seat that was open to get in every single experience I could. But before I knew it the 2:45 min flight was coming to an end. I decided to sit 2 rows back in 30F for landing!

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Landing Back in DFW was also awesome! I still cant get over the engines!!

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I made it back from DFW 15 minutes early. We deplaned and I was the last one off! it was so hard to leave!!!

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I ended up riding the skylink to all the terminals during my layover before my flight to ATL. The Skylink is the best place to do spotting at Terminal C because of DFW’s infamous dirty windows!. (please ask permission before using pictures)

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DFW was very busy for a Saturday evening. The weather was perfect!

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I hopped aboard my a321 home witch was parked right next to another MD-83 going to MKE

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As I flew back to Atlanta I was going through my pictures of the day and all of them brought a smile to my face. The MD-80 is truly one of the best planes ever built and there’s no denying it. Its truly a work horse in the aviation industry and used to be the back bone for airlines such as American, Delta, TWA, continental, and even spirt. With that said, I am truly lucky to have been able to fly on one before they are retired at the end of 2019. If you ever have the opportunity to fly on one TAKE IT. you will not be disappointed. Steping onto a MD-80 is like stepping into a time machine. Its like you are in the 90s again - a time much simpler then today, A time where people looked out the windows of aircraft instead of TVs. Soon this blast from the past will be gone and there will be nothing to remember it by. If you have the opportunity to fly on it You will not be disappointed!!!

(If you want to talk more or see more from my MD-80 flight please DM on instagram @Atlantaspotting)

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Great report, and amazing photos!

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This is a really fantastic story and trip report. I’m glad you got to experience something like this that you’ve wanted to for so long!

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That’s a dream come true! Always wanted to experience the roaring takeoff sound of an MD-80! Those were some great pictures there! Hope you had a great flight!

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So let me get this straight:

You booked a plane ticket from your home airport in Atlanta to fly to Dallas Fort-Worth. Then, you took an MD-80 to Cleveland only to spend 45 minutes there and board the same airplane back to Dallas. Then from Dallas you flew back to Atlanta?

Was this all on the same day? Or did I miss something

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It is an amazing aircraft. BWI has some of the Delta MD80s so I still get to see those.

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The MD-83 is a beautiful aircraft, even the interior. Just gives that old American feeling. I would be able to fly on one but then they changed BWI-DFW to 737 and changed DFW-SAT to other aircraft. My chances of flying in any of AA’s Mad dogs is pretty slim.

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yes and no, Well its a little deeper then that, My dad travels for work and his clients Pay him to travel to them. One of his clients gave him a AA voucher, as I mentioned before he only flys delta. So esectially yes I flew from ATL_DFW_CLE_DFW_ATL in one day for no reason at all. But it had fun doing it!

I hear MD-80s fly over my ranch all the time north of Dallas. You should move up here lol

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Haha thats awesome! very jealous

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LUCKY. I’ve never flown in a MD-80 in my life.

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you gotta get on one!!

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Very informatitive. One of the BEST flight reports I have ever seen!

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haha thank you! I wrote it at 1am so theres some errors but ill try to fix them!

Wow that’s cool. I got to fly 2 American MD-80 planes as well earlier this year! (But I actually was going somewhere lol)
I can fly an American MD-80 to KDFW from KIND. But Delta really only uses the MD-80 on their routes to KATL. So I can find one to fly most of the time (:

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Just read yours!! loved it!

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I am going to miss the MD80. I’ve talked to some pilots who loved flying it. I know it is not the most fuel efficient one out there but some of the butteriest landings I have experienced have been in the MD80.

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Its truly a incredible and iconic aircraft. definitely will go down in history as one of the greatest!

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It has a little issue with the jackscrew but after fixing that it has been solid.

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@DeerCrusher can you believe this?! 😂😂😂