On the 13th of October I had the chance to fly on one of the MD80’s last scheduled revenue flights in Europe onboard Meridiana (now Air Italy).
This was one flight that I wanted to do at all costs, and when I heard that Meridiana would have retired MD80s by the end of October, I immediately booked a short hop of 30 minutes from Rome FCO to Olbia, in the beautiful island of Sardinia, where Meridiana had its base.
A few days before departure I chose my seat, 32E. This seat is one of the best seats, if not the best seat, on a MD80 since you have a nice view of the engine.
The day of the flight, I went to the airport, cleared security controls in 5 minutes and then, after some walk, reached my gate a little early. When the gate opened I saw, to my surprise, that the flight was empty with approximately 35% of load factor. In the maintime I checked Flightradar24 on my flight, IG1112, and I found out that my plane was I-SMER, a 27 year-old MD82.
After being one of the first onboard, I made my way to the very back of the aircraft. Since the flight wasn’t full, the crew suggested to everyone seated on the back to change their seat so they couldn’t hear the loud noise of the engines, but I decided to stay so I could enjoy the md80.
The seats were in a 3-2 configuration with 30″ pitch.
The take off was extremely steep and after 10 minutes we reached our cruising altitude (FL240), so I had the chance to get up and take some photos of the cabin.
Considering that the flight was really short, the service consisted of only a drink. The choices were, as always, water, juice, coke, and coffee, so I went for an orange juice.
After just a few minutes we started our descent to Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport. The landing was very scenic, as we passed over the beautiful crystal water and landscape of Sardinia.
We touched down on runway 23 and then we reached our parking, fifteen minutes in advance.
As all the passengers were deboarding, I visited the cockpit and chatted with the pilot. I took some photos and then I exited the airport to go to Olbia’s city center.
Flying this old bird was amazing , but unfortunately just a few airlines are flying the maddog, so I’m sure it was my first and last time flying it.
Crew : 4/5
Service : 3/5
Price : 2/5 (the flight was overpriced, 140€ are too much for a roundtrip)
Rome airport : 4/5
Olbia airport : 3/5
All photos by the author