United flew the DC-81-61/71's all over the system in the 1980's, including all the routes mentioned above, and some others, including ORD
after the Braniff demise. The conversions took place in 1982-84. And one of the last routes to see the 71 was LAX
. The aircraft were sold by United to GPA Leasing Group, LTD during 1989-1991 and many were leased back for a short period of time, the last one being returned to GPA in January of 1992, ending 32+ plus years of DC-8 service. The short body DC-8's were retired in 1980. The -62's followed shortly thereafter. United operated the largest fleet of DC-8's, short body and the stretch. United operated 30 61/71's losing only one in an accident, all but one (which was bought used from JAL) delivered new by Douglas. They operated a total of 74 regular body DC-8's. 40 series 10 & 20's delivered originally, some of which were converted to series 50. All series 10 aircraft were either converted to series 20 or 50 except two lost in accidents, the mid air over Brooklyn and a landing accident in Denver. They received an additional Series 50's new from Douglas, and 15 Series 54 Jet Trader cargo aircraft without windows from Douglas. They also purchased 11 series 30's used, 9 from Pan Am, and 2 from SAS. Additionally, they bought 10 Series 62's new from Douglas, for a total of 115 DC-8's. Although United waited for the DC-8 and introduced them 8 months after American introduced the 707, by 1961, United was operating 38 DC-8's (40 less the two lost), 29 720-022's, and 20 Caravelle VIR
's, and had the largest jet fleet of any airline in the Western World, and advertised that fact.