When the Delta “Mad Dogs” go, I will really miss them. Will you? Some Delta Pilots clearly will!

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Hello “good dog”.

If you missed it, Bloomberg had a fascinating piece stating that pilots can literally in half a year go from co-pilot to pilot if they are willing to spend time flying MD88s. This can result in a huge jump in salary per year. But in the cockpit the now very old so called Mad Dogs are not the nicest place to work compared to other jets.

Lots of room in 1st class on the MD88

But in the back it is a very different experience. Well, unless you are in the very back-back where it is very noisy that is, or when it is taking off and your home is underneath the jet as I mentioned in Bloomberg and said:

“Delta has redone the interiors of even its older jets, so passengers probably can’t tell it’s so old, says René de Lambert, who pens a Delta frequent-flier blog called Renés Points. Also, the plane’s configuration, with two seats on one side of the aisle and three on the other, means the MD-88 has fewer dreaded middle seats than many planes, he says.

“Yeah, if you’re in the back it’s noisy, but most people are going to be sad to see it go,” de Lambert says. “It will be missed. Of course, it’s not flying over my house.”bloomberg.com

Love 3-2 vs 3-3. You?

Delta really has refreshed the insides so the old dogs don’t, from a passenger perspective, really show their age. Also, I try to spend as little time as I can in coach but when I fly with my wife first class upgrades that are more scarce than ever can become harder than ever (we went 1 for 3 on the way down to see the great eclipse in Charleston).

Do you think this middle seat is an “upgrade”?

This means quality time in coach. The nice thing about the MDs is the 3-2 seat configuration in back. This means if alone there is greatly reduced risk of a horrid middle seat “upgrade” into Comfort Plus seating.

Not bad for my wife and I.

And, for my wife and I, we can simply choose the 2 seat side and that is a much better experience than what we normally do on say the other 3-3 configuration that is, aisle seats across from each other.

Why so loud Delta FAs?

Sure there are some things I will not miss on these jets like: painfully slow Gogo speeds, the fact that they are VERY loud in the back 6 rows or so, the smaller bins on one side of the jet and clearly, as you can see above, the strange need for FAs to have announcements levels at the level of my alarm clock! Also things like lack of IFE do not bother me as I use Amazon Prime and download movies ahead of time and use my sweet Bluetooth noise canceling headphones to keep me entertained.

How about you? Will you miss these old dogs when, in a few years, they are all gone? Do you like the newer A321 or B739 better or worse with faster wifi, power, IFE and more? You tell me! – René


PS – Looks like another round of “Schedule Change Saturday” has hit so be sure to check ALL your flights and seats today.



  1. I love when they constantly go mechanical and leave me stranded overnight in ATL. Will not miss those pigs at all.

  2. I admit i don’t enjoy them. I went on my first one in 2014, and i was sat in row 2. They are so noisy up there i can’t hear myself talk at a normal volume, so who knows what they are back around the engines. The first one i went on the ceiling panels by the window was dislodged slightly so i could see all of the internal workings above it, and the wall panels was looking dirty and splattered with all sorts of things.

    I thought A340s (something DL never had) and 747’s could be noisy around/behind the wings but the MD’s took that to a whole new place.

  3. I love mad dogs too and will be sad to see fewer of them but aren’t the MD-90s sticking around longer? What’s different about them from an experience?

  4. Something I don’t remember the piece touching on that I am ignorant to in this scenario. Once they become Captains and the MDs are retired, what happens to their rank?

  5. MD-80s are by far my least favorite plane. They are so noisy no matter where you are. The AV system is horrible and almost all of them have a horrible high pitched whine while they are making announcements. I don’t know why, but the pressurization causes me more issues with my ears than any other plane as well. I do like the 3-2 seating for the reasons you listed, but I will be happy to see them all go away.

  6. They should retire the 737-7-8-9s first! The aisle space is horrid not to mention the “unable to do a 180 degree turn” 739 bathrooms. Much more space on the 321 aisles and bathrooms! I’m starting to miss the 757 just about now!

  7. I love them. Seat 36A. Unlimited legroom and the overheads usually have room at that point. Bit of a delay to get off plane, but when they take off like a rocket that’s the greatest part of the plane.

  8. Hi, Rene’, if it comes to a choice of Mainline MD-88’s and Partner aircraft (any), I will take the MD-88’s. I like the 3-2 seating and that it is a Mainline aircraft. The Partners’, for whatever reason, are not as On-Time as DL.

  9. Rene,
    I’m on a weekend trip, flying both ways on a MD 88. Got to say I’m a fan of the little guys. Overhead space is not great, but the 3-2 seating gives you more options when traveling as a couple or with family. They are quick, nimble and can get in and out of short runways with ease. Noise is not a problem for me either, probably due to my hearing loss; but I find little difference.

  10. I love the MDs, the twosomes are great and I do not need IFE. The worst idea is to change them for narrow 737s. Delta and MDs – this is for me a matching thing!

  11. The “Mad Dogs” do have some advantages, but in my experience, they seem to have the most maintenance issues of any of the mainline DL aircraft. Perhaps its their age, but besides the DL connection jets, the MD’s seem to be prone to more issues.

    Off topic question: When will DL retire and/or switch up the ridiculous 757 transcon seating in First? Basically sitting on top of your neighbor and having to climb over somebody to go to the bathroom on 5-6 flight is NOT a premium product, lie-flat or not. I wonder who is paying the ridiculously high fares for these seats given they don’t comp upgrades on these routes.

  12. My wife and I just returned from a trip SLC-MSP-CID/STL-ATL-SLC. Only one leg was the MD, STL-ATL, and we were “upgraded” to C+ on the 2some side, and we thought it was just great. (Actually upgraded on all legs to C+ except MSP-CID, which was the dreaded 200.) No complaints on the whole trip. We were traveling on Skymiles points tickets, I am a Gold medallion. I would fly again on the MD:)

  13. Two things I realize about this blog post as I sit on a 717…

    1. Three rows on the 717 vs four rows of 1st class on the MD. I believe there are only three rows on A319 as well. I’d gladly use my Bose in first class compared to a quiet C+ flight any day.

    2. René can talk about the MD being loud from the ground, but I’m will to bet he’d love to hear that plane over his home airport as compared to the CRJ 200.

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