Nothing prevented this American Airlines employee from dancing.

One era ended with American Airlines on Wednesday as the airline pulled the remaining 26 aircraft from the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet to Roswell, New Mexico.

Kerry Philipovitch, senior vice president of customer experience at American Airlines, told USA TODAY that MD-80 is an important part of the airline's history.

"The MD-80 was really the backbone of American Airlines fleet for decades," Philipovitch said.

MD-80 is also called "Super 80" by American Airlines or "Mad Dog" by aviation enthusiasts. It was the "workhouse" for their fleet for nearly four decades, American Airlines said in a news release. According to SeatGuru, the latest American Airlines configuration of the MD-80 had 140 passenger seats.

Joshua Freed, spokesman for American Airlines told the United States TODAY that the MD-80 flew domestic routes across the country.

Originally, the fleet began as a group of only three aircraft in 1983. They served airports in six cities, including Dallas / Fort Worth; Detroit; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; New York LaGuardia; and Ontario, California. At the time of its introduction, the Super 80 was one of the most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft in the sky.

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I 2003 American Airlines, the first to introduce the aircraft to its fleet, operated 362 MD-80 aircraft, nearly one-third of all MD-80 aircraft ever created by manufacturer McDonnell Douglas, according to the release.

At one point, MD-80 aircraft accounted for 49% of AA's fleet, Andrew Trull, a spokesman for American Airlines, told the United States TODAY.

"The 26 aircraft we retire today carried more than 87 million passengers in their service years," Trull said.

An American Airlines MD-80 jet prepares to land at O ​​& # 39; Hare Airport 26 March 2008. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the last passenger flight MD-80, American Flight 80, flew from Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport for the last time for Chicago's O & # 39; Hare International Airport, according to the release. Then pilots took off the plane to the rest area, an air storage facility in Roswell, Freed said.

Steve Cutler, a Boeing employee, posted a photo of his pilot father with an MD-80 in memory of the farewell flights.

Flying, Cutler said, is a big part of the family's lineage. Before the father was the grandfather pilot. And because of his father and grandfather, he found his own passion for airplanes.

"I'm obviously emotional about it, I'm proud of my dad for flying the plane and sticking it out until it's over," he said.

Chris Cutler, Steve & # 39; s father, told USA TODAY he flew MD-80 for about 26 years. Through 16,000 hours of flying, he never had problems with the model.

"I enjoyed flying it," Elder Cutler said. "It's a very good aircraft, very solid, reliable."

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The Cutlers are not the only family to fly in the blood. Brian Kilian, who works at American Airlines Credit Union, told USA Today that his family has worked with airlines for three generations and started with their grandparents in the 1940s.

Seeing the MD-80 fleet withdraw was emotional for him. [19659005] "It's a symbol of my youth, my childhood, it debuted in May & # 39; 83, and I was born in October & # 39; 83," Kilian said. "I didn't know a world where it didn't exist and when it wouldn't take me where I wanted to go."

The planes were withdrawn as part of the airline's fleet renewal program, Trull said. They will be replaced with new, fuel-efficient models. Freed said a mix of Boeing 737 and Airbus A321s will replace the MD-80 aircraft.

The pension, Philipovitch said, marks the beginning of a new chapter in American Airlines history.

Follow Morgan Hines on Twitter: @MorganEmHines .

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