Letters to the Editor: Fond memories of fleeing a packed MD-80 on the ground

American Airlines
American Airlines MD-80 jetliners at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 2008.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

To the editor: My fondest “memory” of the MD-80, which recently exited American Airlines’ fleet, was trying to get off of one as quickly as possible.

I was one of those McDonnell Douglas employees who volunteered to be part of the federally mandated 90-second emergency evacuation test. What started out as a Saturday morning casually sitting in a fully occupied MD-80 turned into a frantic effort to deplane as quickly as possible. It didn’t help that one of the emergency exits was deliberately blocked, to imitate a real-life possibility.

Running back and forth between the wing and rear exits, I finally saw my best chance was the tail emergency ramp, and out the plane I went. We cheered when the last person exited the plane.


We were later invited to view a video made of the evacuation. I can still remember my embarrassment as my fellow evacuees and I viewed my indecisive jaunt up and down the empty aisle.

I wish I could have been on one of those final flights. With luck, it would have been my best exit.

Jim Endsley, Lakewood