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.