northwest airlines is going down

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

My parents were told late last week that their original flight from Dayton (Ohio) to Seattle through Minneapolis was canceled and they were re-booked on a flight through Detroit instead. This flight was scheduled to leave earlier than the original one, so they booked a hotel room in Dayton the night before with a 4am wake-up to get to the airport in time.

Their day began with a 2am fire alarm in the hotel that didn’t get shut off for an hour. This is the only screw-up of the day that is not Northwest Airlines’ fault. After the alarm was turned off, they decided to go ahead and stay up, rather than trying to sleep for another hour or so.

They arrived at the airport in plenty of time for their flight, and everything seems to be okay until they are on the plane, which sat for an hour waiting for mechanics to fix a problem. Finally, everyone was told to get off the plane and go stand in line at the other end of the airport where they would be re-booked on different flights.

Except that the flight they were supposed to be on was never officially canceled in the computer system, so no one could get re-booked. On top of that, even when the customers could get re-booked, both printers at that station were broken. Neither of the airline employees at the counter knew what was going on with the flight. In fact, they told the people in line to call some numbers to see if they could find out what was happening. At no point did any management person come down and explain anything or try to fix the problems.

After several hours of standing in line, my parents were told that the best they could get was a United flight that would arrive in Seattle tomorrow night, and they would still be returning on Northwest Tuesday afternoon. They declined and went home.

Here’s the rub: Their original flight through Minneapolis was not canceled at all. It left on time while they were standing in line. And, they weren’t the only ones on the Dayton-Detroit-Seattle flight who had been told the Dayton-Minneapolis-Seattle flight was canceled and had been re-booked through Detroit.

Along with the “mechanical problems” that delayed my Northwest Airlines flights in December, this is the reason why I think the airline is going down and will likely fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

arrival

Yesterday was a looong day. After staying up late getting ready to go to NASIG, I was up early and driving to the airport. The flight was nice, and I was very impressed with the plane and amenities. Frontier must be one of few airlines still giving out snacks for “free” on flights. We landed about fifteen minutes early, which was nice, but I still had about an hour wait until J’s plane landed. We waited a little while for B & M’s plane to arrive, but then decided to get our shuttle tickets and go the hotel. Just after we purchased them, C and M arrived, so J and I hung around chatting with them. They were waiting for JG to arrive with coupons for a discount on the shuttle ride. (I somehow missed this option, but it was only $4 off.) B & M got there before JG arrived, so by the time everyone had their shuttle tickets, we pretty much took over a couple of shuttle vans, which was amusing to me.

After getting settled in my hotel room and taking a shower, I met up with E, B, M, and L, and we all went out to a brew pub for dinner. The food was excellent (fried chicken! with gravy! and a biscuit!) and the beer was quite good, with the exception of the beer brewed with herbs instead of hops. It was some old recipe, and if you like beer flavored tea with lots of lemon, you’d probably enjoy it. I didn’t care for it so much. My favorite of the ones I sampled (I tried six of the twelve available) is the Sagebrush Stout. It was very creamy with a nice almost chocolate flavor, and it took a bit longer than usual to get to the slightly bitter hops taste.

The evening ended in the hotel bar, as most evenings end at NASIG. I like this hotel bar best out of all of the hotel bars I’ve been in since NASIG 2003. It’s an open space with lots of sound absorption, so we could all sit in couches and chairs around a large square coffee table and still be able to hear each other. There is another conference in the hotel that is ending today, and after that we’ll pretty much have the bar to ourselves. Yay! The NASIG social evenings are back!

Oh! One more small amusing thing. Keep in mind that when I arrived at the Denver airport, I was functioning on about four hours of sleep, one of which I got on the flight. As I’m beginning to wonder if I missed Jeff’s arrival and I can’t remember which airline he was on or exactly when it was supposed to arrive, I start thinking about heading to the hotel on my own. At which point, I realize I can’t remember the hotel name and I don’t have any documentation on me (for once I didn’t print out my confirmation). I tried calling Emily, but she didn’t answer her phone. Bonnie is still in the air, and the number I have for Jeff isn’t working. So I called Shana, who seemed to be quite amused at my question. “I’m at the airport in Denver, and I can’t remember the name of the hotel where the conference is – Do you know which hotel I’m supposed to be at?”