Md-80 or 737?

I don’t fly very much, but all of my flights have been on either a 737 or a 747. I now have an option of riding in an MD-80 over a 737 in a domestic flight. Which one is preferable and why?


I seem to remember MD-80s falling out of the sky a bit more than average, but I might’ve imagined that.

Aircraft Accident Rates:

B737-100/200/300/400/500: conventional aircraft hull loss rate is 1.20
B747-100/200/300/400: conventional aircraft hull loss rate is 1.79
DC9 / MD80: conventional aircraft hull loss rate is 1.28
DC10 / MD11: conventional aircraft hull loss rate is 2.67

Advanced technology aircraft hull loss rates are much, much lower (except for the Airbus which goes through the roof)


I like the 737 because you can bounce them and they go “Bo[e]ing! Bo[e]ing! Bo[e]ing!” :smiley:

I wonder if those stats will slowly improve now that its called the 717 and Boeing is in charge.

First word of advice: sit as far towards the front as possible. Not only does this mean you can board later/exit earlier (less time on the plane itself), but the cabin noise is drastically reduced, because the main source of noise (the engines) are behind you.

737’s engines are attached to the wings. So the noise is worst in the 3-4 rows immediately behind the wings, although the noise difference is tolerable, especially on newer 737s. MD-80’s have the engines attached to the rear of the fuselage near the last few rows of seats, which means the front of the plane is almost blissfully quiet. But, if you get stuck in one of the last 3-4 rows of an MD-80, the engine noise can be unbearable on any flight over about an hour.

I tend to prefer the 737 myself (quick fact: there are more 737s in commercial service then any other airplane), mainly because the one experience I had on an MD-80 was on a 3.5-hour flight whilst stuck in the last row.

I always bring earplugs with me to the airport, just in case.

jweb Has some good points. Also the 737 is roomier IMHO (the aft head in a MD 80 is really tight for example). Lots more ooommph on take-off in the 737…not sure about top speed, but it hauls right on out when they nail it. And some 737’s have larger engine cowls with a by-pass duct (or something to that effect) which are a lot quieter than the smaller engines which are just plain loud. Not that you would have a choice if you were at the gate and saw it had the louder engines (which on SW planes are a natural aluminum while the quiet ones are painted like the rest of the plane).

Not much useful info, just ramblings from my experiences.

I will take the 737 every time…that means I’m on SW which just beats the hell out of American’s fares, and American has a lot of 80s-88s.

Since you don’t fly much, you’re probably not so jaded that you don’t enjoy looking out of the airplane window. For that, the MD-80 is better by far. In the 737, there’s a good chance you’ll end up sitting over the wings, and not have a very good view. In the MD-80, the wings are significantly farther back along the fuselage, no doubt because the aircraft’s center of gravity is so much farther back due to the rear-mounted engines. The result is that you will most likely be able to get a seat ahead of the wings, which gives you a much better, unobstructed view.

On the other hand, the MD80 is slightly narrower than the 737.
So if you don’t like the “long thin tube” vibe you’d be better off in the 737.

Three-Sevens, every time.

My big preference is 737 over Airbus A320. I was terrified every time I’ve flown A320. Going into Las Vegas, I just didn’t know if we were taking a loop to wait for a runway or if we were falling out of the sky. Their hydraulic sounds scare the crap out of me, where I think the 737 sounds like Mommy’s lullabye.

I live just blocks from a memorial park for a neighborhood leader who was killed in the last MD-80 crash; Alaska Air’s Flight 261. I think there’s no better maintained or better monitored fleet in the sky… now.

Fly the 737 if you have the choice. I fly both, mostly the Spokane and Portland shuttles on Alaska.