Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The rest of the Northwest Story

As noted in my most recent post, my trip on Northwest Airlines to and from Washington DC was worthy of a Steve Martin/John Candy "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" rehash.

At one point, I was reminded of an old Carol Burnett Show skit in which First Class Passengers (in Northwest Airline's case, First Class coupled with all of their special club members who seem to account for about 50% of the pre-boarders) were treated like gold while hapless regular folks (in the skit's case, it was Tim Conway) were berated and subjected to humiliation. Here's how I felt on Northwest at least going to DC from Boise:

On one leg of a flight going to DC, the flight attendant actually smiled at us from First Class as she loudly unhooked the Velcro straps and connected them across the aisle essentially blocking us from partaking in First Class amenities. In my head, I pictured her on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom eating her young. Anyway....

One other item of note from my sojourn in the Northwest terminal in DC that I forgot to mention was the poor woman rushing to make her gate when she slipped on a wet floor that was just mopped by a custodian. The poor woman fell hard, had her luggage fall all over, and dropped her coffee. The custodian simply watched her and didn't offer to help. Other passengers assisted her to her feet and collected her belongings. Customer service.

Back to Minneapolis...we did eventually board about an hour late and were de-iced on the runway (evidently Northwest is prepared for weather in Minneapolis unlike in Boise). We happened to have the same flight attendants from our DC leg, and they were just great. In fact, those flight attendants went out of their way to help -- and apologize.

We landed in Boise very late, and I finally got to bed about 3:00 am.

So...lessons about flying Northwest?

1. Last resort;
2. Saving 50 bucks on airfare should be weighed against the cost of food and beverages you consume on unexpected three hour layovers.
3. Northwest personnel with the exception of the return flight crew were indifferent.
4. Northwest has never considered an effective boarding process.
5. The only good thing I can say is they serve Pepsi products!

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