See the Day That The Last Major Airline Flew A Prop Plane

It’s hard to believe that major airlines operated propellor aircraft well into the late 1980s.

It might seem like forever ago, but did you know that a major airline operated mainline propellor aircraft all the way until 1988?  That’s right!  Northwest Airlines actually operated the Convair 580 even as the ‘regular’ Nintendo was in it’s heyday and night baseball was beginning at Wrigley Field.  By this time jets had been in use in the US for over 30 years and ropellor driven airliners were relegated mostly to commuter airlines.  The one exception was Northwest Airlines and their Convair 580s.

The Convair 580s were actually acquired through Northwest Airlines’ merger with Republic who themselves had acquired them in an acquisition of North Central Airlines years earlier.  Republic flew a small fleet of them on routes out of Minneapolis.  When Northwest merged with Republic, they continued the operation from 1986 to smaller destinations in the midwest through the final day of operations in 1988.  While smoking was allowed in the plane (as it was prior to the FAA’s ban in the late 1980s), there were no tray tables and overhead bins looked more like they belonged on a bus than an airliner.  The Northwest Airlines ‘reporter’ also mentioned that the bathrooms were  like ‘outhouses’.  That’s not a pleasant experience!

The day the mainline propellor airliner died. Northwest’s last Convair 580 – Tweet This!

The Convairs were replaced by ‘modern’ DC-9 aircraft.  Some routes were later taken over by Saab and RJ aircraft through regional airline partnerships in the 1990s.  In the early 21st century, Northwest Airlines disappeared forever.  It merged with Delta Air Lines in 2008.

Editor note: Looking back on this video, its even more impressive that Northwest Airlines had its own internal news video magazine reporters!