They got the 'nits' worked out, but it took a while. By that time, Delta had cancelled their remaining orders (at the cost of the 'cancellation' fines in the order contract) and American IIRC took no options and didn't take all of their firm orders, either. They ended up with only 19 MD
-11s, while they had intended to replace all the DC-10-30s with the MD
Additionally, Bill, it's not good business to work out the kinks AFTER you fail to meet promises. If you agree to build me a car that seats six and gets 26 mpg, and then when it's actually built only gets 20 mpg, why should I owe you any money, or continued business? The MD
-11 failed in range, and also in fuel burn. The AA
flights to Tokyo quickly learned (in the matter of a week, I have heard) that the plane was nowhere NEAR capable of what it was "capable of doing." Sure, it's a nice thing to fix the problem later, but it does me no good if, in the meanwhile, I have a lemon of an airplane. A plane that can't fly form point A to point B without ditching in the Pacific isn't a very useful plane, is it?
The whole thing was a blunder. Too bad too- I love flying on them. Best flight I ever had was AA MIA
in a M11.