Beside the unfortunate fact that these things just have parts on them that cause CATASTROPHIC crashes when they fail (jackscrews needing friggin grease, flaps warning systems that don’t warn (um – try and take off without flaps), smoke in the cabin at the drop of a hat), you also play “try your luck” whenever you fly on one. Actually, it’s more like the plane that exemplifies yin and yang – the plane perfectly balances screwing some while lavishing others with all the luxury a commercial single-aisle, medium range airliner could muster.
Case in point: today’s MD-81 aircraft, built in 1981. Super.
1) In the US, I love the MD-80s because when you’re flying cattle you can get on the left side of the aircraft and only have two seats instead of three. No middle, baby! However, when in EMEA and flying business class, there are still two seats, while the triple across the aisle has a fake seat in the middle so no one can sit there. So, on the left, you’re no better off than if you sat in Economy. Note to self – MD80 on SAS – you want 1D, not 1C. Light must balance dark, I guess.
2) The overheads – these are just a friggin joke. It’s like someone bolted a tictac box to the ceiling and called it good. I always laugh at the guys who bring their chariot-size LV luggage on the plane and get pissed when they can’t fit it overhead. That was me today but it was a duffel bag from Costco and it would fit in most pregnant womens’ uterus (uteri?), but apparently that is too big for the old MD-81. After cursing, sweating, and shaking my head in awe that someone could design such an appallingly worthless storage space, the stewardess smiled, took it, and put it in the coat closet. Again, it’s yin and yang.
3) Engine placement – on most planes these days the engines are on the wings which means everyone really hears them. Even those in the rarefied front of the plane still get the noise. On MD-80s, the engines are near the tail. You guessed it – in first class, it’s so awesomely quiet. In cattle (row 32 and back), they actually issue earplugs. I’m not kidding.
I’m sure they probably teach this plane in traditional Chinese places of learning (i’ll admit I have no clue from where Yin and yang is derived, but I’m sure they still teach it somewhere).