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Delta Says Farewell to the “Mad Dogs” Final 2 Planes End Long Career Cut Short By COVID-19

Story By: Edward Kerns II

Photos By: Edward Kerns II and Sol Tucker

Atlanta, GA–

The Mad Dogs Were Officially Retired on June 2nd

On Tuesday June 2, 2020, Delta Air Lines flew its final MD-88 and MD-90 flights into Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Delta Flights 88 & 90 respectively named for their aircraft, arrived on-time with many employees, aviation enthusiasts and passengers witnessing the final revenue flights. 

Delta placed it’s initial order of the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 also known as the “Mad Dog” in January of 1986 with the first entering service in January of 1988.  The final MD-88 would be delivered in December of 1993. 

The aircraft featured a glass cock pit, digital displays powered by cathode ray tubes, aerodynamic improvements and a redesigned tail cone which were the latest advances in technology at the time.  Seating could accommodate 149 passengers, with 16 First Class Seats in 2×2, 25 Comfort Plus Seats and 108 Main Cabin Seats in 2×3 configuration.  N900DE delivered to Delta Air Lines in March of 1992, performed the final revenue flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as Flight DL88 arriving at Gate A4. 

As for the MD-90, Delta Air Lines was the launch customer with the first aircraft entering commercial service in April of 1995.  The aircraft helped Delta’s cost performance by saving fuel and carrying larger loads while minimizing environmental impact through less noise and reduced emissions. 

The Final Crew and Their Families Pose With Gate Agent in Atlanta

The MD-90 was originally set to replace the Boeing 727’s, but when McDonnell Douglas was bought by Boeing in 1997, Delta canceled the remainder of its order and began purchasing the B737-800.  On the interior, the MD-90 could seat 158 passengers with 16 First Class Seats in 2×2, 25 Comfort Plus and 117 Main Cabin Seats in 3×2 configuration.  N925DN was one of forty-nine MD-90’s purchased as part of Delta’s Fleet expansion between 2009 and 2013.  The aircraft flown by Captain Ron Eifert & First Officer Brian Wolke provided the honors for the final revenue flight from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as Flight DL90 arriving at Gate A2. 

Delta Air Lines was the last U.S passenger airline to operate these aircraft.  At their peak, Delta operated 185 “Mad Dog” jets that flew roughly 900 daily flights.  These aircraft carried over 750 million passengers in their lifetime.  The final aircraft once unloaded, were flown to Blytheville, Arkansas for a well deserved retirement. 

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