3 Links I Love: Interviewing Ed Bastian, MD-80s Go Bye Bye, LAX in the 1960s

Delta, LAX - Los Angeles, Links I Love, MD80

This week’s featured link:
Delta Air Lines CEO on why he still flies in the back of the planeMarketplace
Here’s a great 27m25s podcast where Kai Ryssdal from Marketplace interviews Delta CEO Ed Bastian. It’s a long, seemingly candid conversation that’s well worth a listen. I particularly like how fast Ed was to answer Kai’s 5-word-description challenge toward the end.

Links I Love

Two for the road:
On Location & Onboard: American Retires 20 MD-80s On One Historic DayAirways Magazine
American is down to only 61 MD-80s now that it retired 20 in one day. Airways was there onboard one of the flights, and it’s a fun, nostalgic read.

This 1963 promo video for LAX is a wonderful homage to the Jet Age in Los AngelesTimeOut Los Angeles
My dad actually sent me this link, and yes, it is some fantastic airplane porn. The footage from shortly after the terminals opened at LAX is just great.

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14 comments on “3 Links I Love: Interviewing Ed Bastian, MD-80s Go Bye Bye, LAX in the 1960s

  1. I have always loved the Mad Dogs as a pax, and am sad to see them go. Great article on the final flight. Guess AA squeezed those planes through the summer high season, and can retire some of the Mad Dogs now that the slower fall season is upon us. Amazing that some of those planes had 90k+ hours on them and were still going strong.

    Regarding the LAX video… Funny how of all the technology elements shown in that video, the element that is still in use is the paper strips for tracking flights by ATC. I also like how the video brags of terminals with 10 gates each, as well as jetways. Finally, the sooty exhausts in videos of the old jets never fails to catch my eye.

    1. I love old videos like that. Another one of my favorites is the animated video created by Eero Saarinen to demonstrate how great the “Mobile Lounge Docks” at Dulles would be—now they are despised by most travelers.

  2. Yeah that LAX film was total AiRpLaNe PrOn. What I want to know is what became of the underground walkways that went out to those island terminals?

    1. Doug – Those are still there. Most of the terminals still have the ability to walk downstairs to baggage claim from the rotunda area, and then you walk out from there. I think T3 is probably the one that’s best preserved since, well, not much has happened to that terminal.

        1. One of my favorite pieces of Airplane! trivia is that the producers of the film hired the same people who did the LAX public address announcements in that era to do the public address announcements for their film.

  3. 1) It’s so odd to hear a Delta CEO that does not have a southern accent. But, he seems to be on the same page as Richard Anderson was and it seems that Delta is going in the same direction, which is a good thing.

    2) I’ll miss the MD-80’s. 5 across beats 6 across. The new AA A319 has a 30″ pitch in Y and the 737 is only a 17″ seat width.

    3) It’s amazing to think that LAX was once a modern airport. Too bad they can’t do what ATL did in 1980 and build a new midfield terminal from scratch. Also, why on earth did people dress up to fly? I’m happiest in a t-shirt and jeans. Why not be comfortable?

    1. I understand the economics, but I agree about the 5-across seating. It is so nice to have a flight on a MD just to not have to worry as much about the middle seat. Same even on some of the 4-across RJs.

  4. One more comment on the Mad Dogs… Sounds like AA is retiring them now because some expensive maintenance (C-checks?) is coming due, combined with the relatively high fuel cost per ASM (~39% more than B737-800, per Dallas Morning News), not because the planes are too old and tired.

    It really says a lot about both the quality of the Mad Dogs’ construction and (to a much greater extent) how stringently well the planes have been maintained that the planes still have a lot of life left in them (or would, if AA were willing to pony up the cash for another round of heavy maintenance), even after 30 years, 90k hours, and 30k or 40k cycles. To put that in perspective, 90k hours is roughly the same as what a person works over the course of their 45- or 50-year career, accounting for a few stints of unemployment. Truly goes to prove the old saying that if we maintained our cars the way we maintain our planes, we would only need one car for life.

  5. I remember that era well. At the end of the propeller age, we would pick up visitors at the terminals which were all east of Sepulveda. One could walk out on the roof top of the concourses (one level) and watch the planes. Then everything moved west of Sepulveda. Everybody thought it was a great place then. Interconnecting tunnels between satellites now back in fashion. Too bad the designers did not have the vision that Atlanta had when ATL rebuilt. Of course, ATL did not have the vision back then either. I can remember piloting a Cessna into LAX and taxiing to the old commuter terminal which was where the Bradley Terminal is now. It’s always fun to hear ground control say to a 747, “See that Cessna? Follow him.” Well, lots of stories. Glad they’ve preserved the original terminal on the cargo south side. Quite a link with history.

  6. There’s an episode from the first season of Columbo, early 1970s, that includes an aerial of LAX — there’s almost nothing there.

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