Last year on my, almost annual, trip to the USA I of course went out of my way to book a flight on a NW DC9. I think my previous DC9 flight would have been on Ansett quite some time before. The condition of these birds is quite amasing, as you can see from the cabin shot at the bottom. It certainly felt no different to flying an AA MD80
Sadly it is a matter of when and not if these planes are retired. With the discussions going on at NW there's probably more reason to go get a ride on one of these right now. When it's all over and done the only other way you are going to ride one of these is probably in a third world country
Which brings me to the question - what will happen to these planes. Many are potentially too good to scrap into coke cans. Where is the market for these aircraft ? In hindsight maybe NW probably should never have spent the millions of dollars they did on refurbs considering the fuel burn of these aircraft. The cost savings they made in not purchasing newer aircraft doesn't appear to have saved NW from it's current position
SO how much would you pay for one?
I found a nice deal of 25 DC9's for just over a million each - DC9-32 and DC-9-34 X 21, -9A and -17 engines, recent checks, some -9A are hushkited stage III. All meet european requirements. plus 4 units DC9-34CF cargo/pax convertibles with large cargo door, cargo rollers kit, also pax seats, with JT8D-17 stage II engines, $28.5M USD whole package of 25 aircrafts at http://www.ebigchina.com/