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.

traffic rant

Today while driving with the summer traffic on I-90 to Seattle, I had a road engineering idea that I think might resolve some of the issues I had with my fellow drivers. Rather than just two lanes going both directions, we really need four: the fast lane, the slow lane, the truck lane, and the drives-like-a-grandpa lane. Today, the slow lane and drives-like-a-grandpa cars kept coming over into the fast lane to pass other slow and drives-like-a-grandpa cars that were going a fraction slower than them, thus causing the rest of us to brake suddenly and curse loudly. I’m glad no one was in the car with me, because I used the word “fuck” in many forms and frequently.

support magnetic ribbons

Support Magnetic Ribbons

Magnetic ribbons for cars are the new statement bumper stickers, but with the advantage of not leaving goo on your $65,000 Lexus LX. In the end, who benefits from this booming industry? Why, it’s the magnetic ribbon manufacturers! That’s why this is the only magnetic ribbon you need.

Update 2/9/05: My magnetic ribbon arrived yesterday and is now proudly displayed on my car.

fuh2

Do you get ticked when you see people commuting to work in huge gas guzzling SUVs?

Do you get ticked when you see people commuting to work in huge gas guzzling SUVs? Do you particularly dislike the Hummer H2? Vent your anger.

towing

I should quit this librarian gig, get a tow truck, and then I’ll be living high on the hog!

Last Saturday, I drove over to Louisville to attend the first annual Living Out Loud music festival. I volunteered to help promote the National Women’s Music Festival by chatting up folks who came by the table, and also several of my friends were performing in the festival. A good time was had by all, and afterwards my famished performer friends and I caravaned on over to Ramsi’s Café on the World for some fabulous food.

At this point in the evening it was nearly 11:30pm, so none of us thought much about parking across the street in the Mid-City Mall lot, since it was obvious that the mall was closed and there were plenty of spaces away from the mall itself. I was the only one in my group of five (the other three arrived later) who noticed the “parking for mall customers only sign,” but I assumed that it would be okay. Why would the mall need those spaces at 11:30pm on a Saturday night? Right? Wrong.

It seems that they have recently gotten tough on those parking there who are not mall patrons. During the day, it’s harder to catch them, but after the mall closes, it’s apparently a gold mine for Dave’s Towing Service. At $107 a pop, no wonder they are quick to tow offender’s vehicles away. Out of the eight of us, they made $428 that night. Cash. That was the most expensive dessert I’ve ever had.

We had such a great time talking and laughing at Ramsi’s that it was quite a shock to walk out at 1 a.m. and realize that our vehicles were no longer parked in the lot. We managed to get directions to the lot where our vehicles were being held and flagged down a taxi. Once we got there, we encountered Mr. Towing Jerk. MTJ sat in his monstrous truck with the huge engine loudly running as we tried to explain to him that only two of us had our $107 in cash on us, but that the other two had their money in their cars. He seemed quite put out that he would have to take them to the lot at the far end of the street in order for them to get the money for their cars. Mind you, my friends with the money in the cars had all of their gear and instruments in those cars. We weren’t leaving.

MTJ finally drove down to the other lot, with one of my friends in the truck with him. He offered to let the rest of us ride in the back, but I wasn’t getting in there. The three of us decided to take our chances walking down the road to the lot. All of us but my friend who rode with MTJ quickly found our vehicles and were able to move them over towards the exit. However, the fourth vehicle was blocked by another car, and MTJ sat there with his engine running and headlights in our eyes until one of his tow trucks returned to move the blocking vehicle. By 2am, we returned to the Mid-City Mall parking lot and retrieved the other four passengers.

Dave’s Towing Service was out in full force that night, and I pity the other souls that had to deal with Mr. Towing Jerk. The $107 was a hard hit to my wallet, but his attitude was a much harsher blow. Yeah, I’m sure he has to deal with a bunch of drunks every night, but we were obviously not drunk and equally obviously stranded without our vehicles. The least he could have done was shown us some sympathy for our situation. However, for a towing service charging an outrageous $107, I’m not surprised that they only hire the worst dredges of humanity.

I’m looking forward to hearing what the five songwriters in the group come up with in retribution.