Delta says goodbye to the last ‘Mad Dogs’ flying in the US amid coronavirus retirements

Apr 30, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta Air Lines will retire its last McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and MD-90s in June, bidding goodbye to two jets that have worn the widget for more than 30 years.

The June timeline comes weeks after the Atlanta-based carrier made known that both aircraft, colloquially known as “Mad Dogs,” would depart the fleet this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Neither jet is due to receive much fanfare for its retirement.

Delta described both the MD-88 and MD-90 as long-standing “workhorses” in its fleet in a statement Thursday. It first flew the MD-88 in 1987 and the MD-90 in 1995.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

A Delta MD-88 takes off in Atlanta. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
A Delta MD-88 takes off in Atlanta. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

 

Carriers around the world are parking planes as restrictions and fears of COVID-19 keep nearly all would-be travelers on the ground. Trade group Airlines for America (A4A) estimates that U.S. carriers have “idled,” or not flown in the past week, 3,003 aircraft as of April 28.

American Airlines, for example, is retiring its 80 Airbus A330-300s, Boeing 757 and 767s, and Embraer E190s as a result of the virus.

Delta is idling around 650 jets, or half of the combined 1,316 planes in its mainline and Delta Connection fleets. While plans remain fluid, it has only finalized the retirements of the MD-88, MD-90 and some Boeing 767 aircraft. It will also temporarily park all of its Airbus A320s and many of its Boeing 737s.

Related: Delta to park A320s, many 737s for length of coronavirus downturn

The MD-88s and MD-90s exit at Delta will mark the first time since the early 1980s that no U.S. carrier is flying a so-called Mad Dog in scheduled passenger service. The family, which included the MD-81, -82, -83, -87, -88 and -90, were at one point or another flown by most domestic carriers, with American Airlines flying as many as 362 aircraft in 2001.

American retired its last MD-80s last September.

The MD-80 family lives on in the form of the Boeing 717 at Delta and Hawaiian Airlines. However, even the future of the 717 is in question as the former carrier is reportedly in discussions to swap the jets for new Boeing 737 MAX.

Delta is scheduled to fly the MD-88s and MD-90s on 23 routes from its Atlanta (ATL) hub in May, according to Cirium schedules.

Related: Delta still flying all of its A220s even as the coronavirus grounds more than half its fleet

Delta's MD-88 (blue) and MD-90 (red) routes in May 2020. (Image by Cirium)
Delta’s MD-88 (blue) and MD-90 (red) routes in May 2020. (Image by Cirium)

 

Featured image by by Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.