At the beginning of June 2020, Delta retired their MD-88/90s. In the weeks leading up to this, I had been debating about taking one last flight on a Mad Dog. I decided 3 days before this trip, to take one last flight on a Delta MD-88 before they were gone. After looking at a few options, I decided to go down to visit a friend in Florida for a few days. Since the airlines have reduced their flying due to COVID, I had limited options for the flight down. jetBlue did not have the nonstop flight to MCO, that they usually do. The only flights that were not leaving early in the morning, were American through Philly, or United with a layover at Dulles. I decided on the UA flight. The flight back would be on Delta and the MD-88, the day before they were retired.
United Express “CommutAir” 4879
Syracuse, NY (SYR) – Washington, DC Dulles (IAD)
Scheduled Departure Time – 3:00pm
Actual Departure Time- 3:16pm
Scheduled Arrival Time – 4:20pm
Actual Arrival Time- 4:11pm
N16178 had been at SYR since the prior evening, when it arrived from IAD
They started boarding at 2:30pm. Boarding was done from the back of the airplane, to the front. They called up each person by last name, according to what row they were in for boarding. Once everyone had boarded, we sat at the gate for 10 minutes before the door was closed.
We pushed back from the gate at 2:55pm. There was an issue with starting the engines. The pilot announced it would take just a little bit longer than usual, to start the engines. About 15 minutes later, we started to taxi. We came to a stop half way to the runway. The pilots ran the engines for a few minutes, before continuing the taxi.
We initially climbed up to 17,000ft. A few minutes later, we continued the climb, to 23,000ft. The flight attendant came through with bottles of water. There were some thunderstorms near IAD, so it was a smooth flight, until we started the descent.
Final runway 19C
Pulling into the gate
N16178 spent the night at IAD, before flying to Buffalo the following afternoon
I did not have that long of a connection, so I headed right to my next gate.
Washington, DC Dulles (IAD) – Orlando, FL (MCO)
Scheduled Departure Time – 5:30pm
Actual Departure Time- 5:49pm
Scheduled Arrival Time – 7:50pm
Actual Arrival Time- 7:34pm
1 hour 45 minutes
N39728 at the gate C25. It had flown up from MCO, before our flight right back down. This would be my first flight on a UA 737-700. I had only been on the 800 and 900.
Once everyone had boarded, the flight attendant made an announcement. He said the MCO based flight crew, were glad to have us on a flight to their hometown. He also added that there was a 7 year old onboard, and this was his first flight. They asked everyone to give him a nice welcome, and everyone on the plane clapped. A few minutes later the door was closed, and we pushed back.
Taxiing to runway 19C
After waiting for 7 planes ahead of us, it was our turn
Parked UA planes due to COVID
We took off to the south, and climbed right up to 40,000ft. On this flight, the flight attendants did not hand out any drinks or snacks. There was some weather, that we flew just to the west of. We were on top of it for most of the flight, so overall it was a smooth flight down to Florida.
We started the descent into Orlando, 30 minutes before landing. The Captain announced we were flying over the area, where the SpaceX launch would be happening, the next day. He also mentioned there were thunderstorms developing near MCO. He was going to try to beat the storms to the airport.
Descending via the CWRLD4 arrival
Just as we touched down, dark clouds moved over the airport. By the time we reached the gate, it had started lightning. When we got to the gate, they made an announcement that the ramp was closed due to the lightning. The checked bags would be delayed, as a result.
Pulling into gate 42, next to a 767-300 that had flown the same flight I was on the day before. The previous day, the original plane had a maintenance issue, and they ended up swapping the 737 for a 767
N39728 spent the night in Orlando, before flying to Houston early the next morning
After a few days, it was time to go back home. Also time for my last Mad Dog flight! I was flying out DAB. It has a small terminal, so I got to the airport an hour before my flight.
Pulling into the airport
Delta Check in at Daytona Beach
There was only one other flight, besides mine for the rest of the day
N995DL at gate 2, after arriving from Atlanta
The really small terminal
Daytona Beach, FL (DAB) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
McDonnell Douglas MD-88
Scheduled Departure Time – 12:25pm
Actual Departure Time- 12:34pm
Scheduled Arrival Time – 1:44pm
Actual Arrival Time- 1:33pm
About to board my last MD-88
Cabin before departure
Before the door was closed, the gate agent made an announcement. She said that this was the last flight for this type of airplane out of Daytona Beach. She said it had flown here for years, and it was being retired tomorrow. All the people in Daytona Beach who worked on this plane, were going to miss it. The captain also mentioned it during his announcement. He said that this particular airplane was close to 30 years old, and only had a few more flights before its retirement. When the woman, in the row in front of me heard that, she said to the person next to her. “How scary to be on such an old plane. Just my luck.” After this the door was closed, and we pushed back.
Taxiing to 7L
My friend took this of my plane taxiing
After holding for a Cessna, we back taxied on the runway. When we got to the November – Two (N2) intersection, we turned around and began my last takeoff on a Mad Dog.
Climbing via the ROYES7 departure
We initially climbed to 27,000ft, and then climbed up to 35,000ft. The flight attendants handed out bags with two snacks, a bottle of water and a Purell wipe. I looked out the window and enjoyed the view and the sound of the engine, for the hour flight up to ATL
Cruising over southern Georgia
Descending via the SITTH2 arrival
On a downwind for runway 9R
Taxiing to the gate
Pulling into gate A11, next to N908DE preparing to depart to IAD
On my way off, I asked to take a picture of the cockpit. I was talking to the FO, and he said this was his last flight on the MD-88. He also said it would probably be his last flight for a while. He was pretty junior, and had not been reassigned to another plane yet.
One last look at the empty MD-88
N995DL before its next flight to RDU. It then flew back to ATL. After the Raleigh turn, it flew its last revenue flight to SAT later that evening. The next morning, it flew from SAT to BYH for storage
I had a few hours in ATL, before my next flight. I decided to go outside, and watch some MD88s and 90s takeoff.
N912DE headed to Indianapolis
N900DE to Charleston. It flew the final MD-88 flight, DL88 from IAD-ATL the following morning
N517JB, as flight 720 to JFK
N995DL, the plane I flew up from Daytona Beach, taxiing out to Raleigh
N3731T to Tampa
N318NB to New York - LaGuardia
N926DH departing for its final flight ever, to KBYH for storage. I flew two flights on N926DH, from SYR-ATL and ATL-SYR
The last takeoff for N926DH. With an empty plane, they had a very steep climb. Before handing them off to departure, ATC asked the pilots about their climb. The pilot said it was the last flight for this plane, and they were taking it to KBYH for permanent storage.
N365FR to Orlando
N981EV going to BYH, to pick up the MD88/90 pilots that were there
AA A319 to Miami
I headed back inside around 4:15pm, for my flight up to Detroit. Since DL was not operating their flights from SYR to ATL, I had no choice but the two connections.
Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Detroit, MI (DTW)
Scheduled Departure Time – 5:30pm
Actual Departure Time- 5:44pm
Scheduled Arrival Time – 7:15pm
Actual Arrival Time- 7:13pm
1 hour 29 minutes
N924DZ at gate A26. It arrived earlier in the day from Newark
The flight attendants were running a few minutes late, from another flight. Boarding ended up starting 20 minutes before departure. The flight was not full, so the door was still closed ontime. We pushed back from the gate at 5:33pm, and started to taxi a few minutes later.
Pushing back, N805DN departed to DTW later in the day
Taxiing past N910DE, departing to Pittsburgh
Taking off 9L, with the A330 taxiing out to Amsterdam
Climbing via the PADGT2 departure
We leveled off at 37,000ft. the flight attendants handed out the same bags, they did on the first flight. The TV’s in my row, were not working. The flight attendants had to reset them, and then they worked fine.
Descending via the HTROD2 arrival
Pulling into the gate
N924DZ spent the night in Detroit, before flying to Tampa the next afternoon
Delta Connection “Endeavor” 4733
Detroit, MI (DTW) – Syracuse, NY (SYR)
Scheduled Departure Time – 9:00pm
Actual Departure Time- 9:05pm
Scheduled Arrival Time – 10:15pm
Actual Arrival Time- 9:58pm
N478PX at gate A51, after arriving from Appleton, Wisconsin
Everyone had boarded, and we were ready to go by 8:45pm., We pushed back from the gate at 8:53pm, 7 minutes ahead of schedule. Once the engines were started, we taxied quickly to runway 21R, and took off at 9:05pm.
Climbing out of DTW, on the HHOWE3 departure
We leveled off at FL310, for the short flight over to Syracuse
Flying over Buffalo
Final runway 28
Pulling into gate 24
I was glad that I was able to get one last flight in on a Mad Dog. They were one of my favorite planes, and I am going to miss flying on them. I took 30 flights on MD-83, MD-88 and MD-90s on Allegiant, American and Delta.