Another airline retiring another type. This used to be an occasional topic on the blog but the massive reductions in airline service means I could probably almost pick one a day. In this case it is American Airlines and the Boeing 767. The 757s have also been grounded but they are not definitely retired yet so we’ll wait for a while. Of course, by the time this post hits the page, that might have changed!
The 767-200 fleet went away a while back but I am going to include them here. The 767-300s have been around until now. I didn’t travel in them very much but have made the occasional trip. I think I took one from Chicago to Manchester in the UK and definitely had a ride from SFO to JFK once. There have probably been other times that I don’t now recall. It has been quite a while since I was a regular with American.
All that aside, the fleet is now done. Some may find a second life – possibly as freighters – but probably the majority will end up being parted out. We might suddenly find 767 parts are not as in need as they were until recently but there is still a sizable fleet of freighters and there are still in production so maybe there is some value.
It’s been a little while since my last trip to Dallas but I did come across some other shots from when I was coming home through DFW. As one of the hubs for American Airlines, the majority of the gates seem to have American jets on them. The variety of types is decreasing with the MD-80s in their last throws while I was there. I like the longer shot you can sometimes get from the connector between the terminals which bunches up the jets. When they are all one type it isn’t so interesting but a collection of different fins is good if you can get it comparing the size of the narrow bodies and the widebodies.
American Airlines has painted a number of its jets in liveries of the airlines that went into it over the years. It happens that, as I write this on a plane, I just saw an A320 in American West colors as we taxied out. They painted up three 737s in special schemes and I had a poor record of seeing them. Two of these, the TWA scheme and the Reno Air scheme, both showed up at DFW while I was there waiting for a flight home. The TWA scheme landed just after I got there so I saw it while riding the inter-terminal shuttle. I then had it taxi out past me a little while later. Sadly it took off from the other side of the field. The Reno jet followed later and it did take off from our side so I felt like I had finally checked out something that had evaded me for too long.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a jet that has had its time and is now rapidly disappearing from the skies of the US. However, they aren’t all gone. American Airlines has been a big user but the arrival of 737s and A319s means they are heading to the desert in large numbers. I had assumed that meant they were a rarity but DFW is clearly still seeing a lot of them. I was taking a shot of any of them that showed up since I might not get many more chances. I have, of course, shot them a lot of the years but this was a nice final encounter. Strange how pleased you are to see something that used to be a bit of a yawn.
Returning from a work trip to Dallas, I was flying out of DFW. I got to the airport in plenty of time so, with a bit of time to kill, I decided to take a ride on the train that runs between the terminals. It makes a loop of the whole airport in both directions. I decided to see what you could see from the train and did a whole loop of the airport.
First, it is not a great photo platform. Aside from shooting through the windows (which were actually not that bad), the stations are not well located for viewing the ramps and, when it has a clearer view, it is moving at speed and is a pretty unsteady base for shooting. There are always reflections too, of course.
DFW is an American hub and that is pretty obvious as you head around the terminals. No shortage of American jets including a few remaining MD-80s and one of the special scheme jets too. The longer view across the gates with the multiple fins was a shot you could get at a number of places. It wasn’t just American though. Obviously other airlines use the airport. It happened that a British Airways 747-400 had pushed as we got there and the train runs around the perimeter of that ramp so we saw it from almost all sides.
If you have a bit of spare time while waiting for a flight at DFW, I would definitely take a ride around the terminals. It is a lot more interesting than sitting waiting at a gate and the food options weren’t great either so take a ride and see what is going on and where people are going to and coming from.
When American introduced their new colors, there was uproar. The criticism was plentiful. I seemed to be in a very small group of people that actually quite liked the look that they had gone for. Having been a regular customer over a number of years, I had grown tired of what I thought was a dated look. Over time I think people have calmed down about the change and now I don’t hear too much mention of it.
As more of the fleet gets repainted, I now notice more when I see a jet still in the old scheme (except MD-80s which obviously are not going to be repainted given their imminent demise). I have come across a few of the 737-800 jets recently in the metal finish. Here are some of them before they finally disappear for good.
The Museum of Flight in Seattle is currently in the process of building a new facility. While the work is underway, a number of airframes have been moved from their previous location to alternative spots until they can be moved to their new home. Most of them are still near the museum itself. However, the 727 seems to have drawn the short straw and it was parked up on Clay Lacy’s FBO ramp while I was visiting. It was near Joe Clark’s Learjet as well. Some cool stuff to look at for any visiting jets at the FBO!