Whoever loves MapQuest classic will surely love using the old route planner. A lot of people come to my official website and leave comments such as "Why put a whole map on the right side, I only need driving directions!". That's just one example, visitors to my site have left thousands of comments similar to that one, and in some cases identical.
I understand them, I've felt the same way too. The reason why the new MapQuest shows a map on the right side of your screen is because on that map you will see the route that will help you find your destination in less time. The route on the map allows users to understand the suggested route better, therefore, chances of getting lost or wasting time diminish a whole lot.
If you don't want to see a map when getting directions then you can visit mapquest.com/routeplanner, there you will be able to get directions without the map, so if you don't like the new design simply visit the previous link and you'll be able to use a service with the features that you are looking for.
The MapQuest classic route planner is not available anymore, well at least it wasn't the last time I checked, which was like 5 minutes ago. I don't know if the site is temporarily down or if they have removed it all together. However, the classic site is still there, so if you prefer the old version you can head over to classic.mapquest.com and get directions directly from there using the old interface.