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Northwest's Chicago Flight Attendant Base  
User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7204 times:

Hey Everyone,

It has been almost 6 months since I posted last, but I am back. I just ran into a woman at the grocery store who used to be a flight attendant for Northwest based in Chicago until a few years before the base closed.

That got me wondering a few things.

First, when was the ORD flight attendant base active?

What routes did the ORD flight attendants fly from ORD and which were covered by the MSP crews?

Which aircraft were the ORD FA's qualified on?
I looked at the old 80's timetables and found that every DC-10 flight numbers that went through ORD started or ended at MSP. Does that mean the flights had to be staffed my MSP crews? So it seems that ORD crews only worked the 727's and later the RC aircraft?

How many Chicago flight attendants were there? Did they also fly out of MDW?


That's about it in terms of my curiosity. Maybe some NWA attendants can help me out with this one.


Thanks,

TWA1985

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7059 times:

Back in the day, ORD was the largest FA base for NWA with the best flying in the NW Orient system. IIRC it closed around 2001/02, it was down to about 150 FAs and the 727/747/DC10 pilot bases were LONG gone. ORD crews had some patterns out of MDW as well, and the base was on the endangered species list when I started in 1999. ORD was never open for transfers.....ever..... when I was there. All of the flying was 727/319/320 (min crew of 3) and the trips usually began with the morning launch trips to MSP,DTW or MEM and ended with the last flights in . Seems that the nonhub layovers were always ABQ, DEN or TPA . The Company pulled the plug on the base, saying that they had to 'force flying' out of ORD and it was getting too expensive. To this day, you see NWA CREW: ORD bag tags and you prolly will long after the Red Tail takes on shades of blue .

In my experience, the ORD FAs were top notch. Yes, they were pretty senior, but they loved their jobs and were a pleasure to fly with.


User currently offlineLike2flyguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6958 times:



Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 1):
IIRC it closed around 2001/02

The ORD Flight Attendant base closed in 1998.


User currently offlineLike2flyguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6948 times:



Quoting Like2flyguy (Reply 2):
The ORD Flight Attendant base closed in 1998.

My apologies... flying for the ORD base was drastically reduced in 1998. The base closed down completely in 2001.


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6897 times:



Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter):
First, when was the ORD flight attendant base active?

As previous posters have stated, it opened in the 70's and closed in 2001.

Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter):
What routes did the ORD flight attendants fly from ORD and which were covered by the MSP crews?

Initially it was my understanding that the ORD base covered the non-stop ORD-NRT flights NWA operated for a few decades. When that service was terminated, ORD reverted to a domestic-only Flight Attendant base.

It is rather impossible to determine at this point in time which bases serviced flights to/from ORD. I was a NWA F/A based in BOS and I worked several flights to ORD. So, you can't really determine that.

Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter):
Does that mean the flights had to be staffed my MSP crews? So it seems that ORD crews only worked the 727's and later the RC aircraft?

Post NW/Republic merger, all NWA flight attendants were covered under a single operating certificate and were trained on all aircraft, regardless of base assignment.

Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter):
How many Chicago flight attendants were there? Did they also fly out of MDW?

If memory serves me right, the base had less than 200 FA's at the time of closure. The base population was significantly reduced when the NRT flight was suspended - there were many Flight Attendants who commuted from across the US to work this particular trip and followed the flying to other bases rather than fly in ORD.

I believe there was some type of contractual language which covered trips originating or terminating in MDW, but I cannot recall if this type of flying actually occurred.

I hope this answers your questions, I did the best I could.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6779 times:

Thanks everyone!

Randy, I am curious. What years did you work for NW?

Also, did you work the DC-10 trips from BOS to ORD and then on to SEA and ANC that they operated before the RC merger?

TWA1985


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6690 times:



Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 5):
Randy, I am curious. What years did you work for NW?

I worked there from early 2000 until just after the bankruptcy filing in 2005, so a little less than 6 years.

Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 5):
Also, did you work the DC-10 trips from BOS to ORD and then on to SEA and ANC that they operated before the RC merger?

No, I never had the opportunity to fly those trips. At the BOS base in those days, we had two daily DC10 departures. One of those was to MSP, the other AMS.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 6496 times:

Thanks again Randy!

Are there any flight attendants that worked for NW back in the 70's and 80's?

Also, does anyone know if the FA's only worked the NRT and ICT flights back in the 70's and 80's or did they also serve the other domestic routes as well?

I know in my Mid-80's timetables NW served between 15 and 18 cities non-stop from ORD. I think it was Northwest Orients second largest city second to MSP prior to the RC merger.

TWA1985


User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6450 times:

Correct me if i'm wrong, but NW's ORD base goes back to the 60s or maybe even the 50s. It was a major North Central/Republic base forever. On the NW side, yes it grew with the daily to NRT...but that was sold to United in 98 and led to the downsizing. But even under the NWOrient banner, under CAB regulation, ORD was the jumping off point to Florida and kind of served as the 'hub' that DTW is today...on a much smaller scale of course.

Yea, I remember now that it was 2001 when it closed....like June maybe, so it was before the 9-11 cutbacks. I remember hearing stories from senior NWO ORD folks who said they did allot of 727 "Mountain Milk Runs"....<ORD-MSP-FAR.BIL-BZN-FCA-GEG-SEA> and DC10 turns to Florida.


User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6427 times:

I have some newspaper article on Northwest and there ORD operations in the 80's. I will have to find it and post it here. It may be useful.

[Edited 2008-12-20 08:24:14]

User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6392 times:



Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 8):
But even under the NWOrient banner, under CAB regulation, ORD was the jumping off point to Florida and kind of served as the 'hub' that DTW is today...on a much smaller scale of course.

I agree with you on everything except maybe the part about Chicago being the jumping point to Florida.

According to my timetables from 1984 and 1985, NWO served Billings, Seattle, Rochester (MN), Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee. Detroit, Cleveland, Washington (DCA), New York (JFK), Boston, New Orleans, Tampa, Ft. Laurderdale, Miami, Ft. Myers. Tokyo, and Seoul.

So my guess would be that Chicago was a bit more to Northwest Oreint than just a jumping off point. After all. in the Feb. 1985 issue of Northwest Orient's inflight magazine there are two airport maps shown - MSP and ORD, which proves Chicagos importance for NW.

And ItalianFlyer, please don't take this post as an insult. I am just putting in my two cents here.

TWA1985


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6288 times:



Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 7):
Also, does anyone know if the FA's only worked the NRT and ICT flights back in the 70's and 80's or did they also serve the other domestic routes as well?

I called an old friend who is a retired NWA (Zero Employee Number) Flight Attendant who was based in Chicago for 20+ years...she gave me some insight:

Yes, the Flight Attendants did fly international and domestic from that base. Mostly on 727's, DC10's and 747's. The base did serve NRT and tag-on flying out of NRT.

After the Republic merger, DC9's replaced 727's on most domestic segments, i.e. BOS/LGA/JFK-ORD according to my friend. I wasn't there then, and considering she's 75+ years old, she can't recall where else the ORD base flew non-stop in its heyday.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6246 times:



Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 11):
I called an old friend who is a retired NWA (Zero Employee Number) Flight Attendant who was based in Chicago for 20+ years

Thanks Randy! I really appreciate your effort here!


User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6216 times:



Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 10):
And ItalianFlyer, please don't take this post as an insult. I am just putting in my two cents here.

None taken, just was trying to add what I know as a NW employee. You misunderstood my quip using the term "jumping off point' but, whatever.


User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3205 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6189 times:



Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 11):
where else the ORD base flew non-stop in its heyday.

Back in the 80's, NW had flights out of ORD to:

BIL, BZN, TPA, MIA, FLL, MSY, MSP, DTW, RST, CLE, MSN, BOS, SEA


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6179 times:

Anytime.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I'm not an expert on the ORD base, but I figured not too many people here know much about it...as it seems like an eternity ago. I usually keep quiet about most things NWA, but this one piqued my curiosity.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5693 times:

As a follow-up... Did NW have a pilot base at ORD as well?

User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5676 times:



Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 16):
Did NW have a pilot base at ORD as well?

I do not know the answer to that question and won't speculate...someone else may know, however.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineType-Rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5498 times:

Back in the 60's and 70's at ORD the major carriers to Florida were DL, EA and NW. NW had a good chunk of that market. UA and AA hadn't even picked up those routes yet.

And of course they had an entire side of a concourse with quite a few gates. You'd see 747's, DC-10's, Lockheed Electras, 707's & 727's at those gates all at the same time.

[Edited 2008-12-20 21:47:03]


Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5358 times:



Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 17):
I do not know the answer to that question and won't speculate...someone else may know, however.

My neighbor flew sideways on the DC10 out of ORD when he started (1970something)....I will ask him when the pilot base closed next time I see him. He is a Bus Capt now out of MSP.


User currently offlineTWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 650 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5224 times:



Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 19):
My neighbor flew sideways on the DC10 out of ORD when he started (1970something)....I will ask him when the pilot base closed next time I see him. He is a Bus Capt now out of MSP.

Thanks ItalianFlyer!

At least we know know they did operate a pilots base at ORD.


User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5112 times:

No prob TWA....I was a NWA/ORD commuter forever before I joined the hometown team.

I DO know...and Randy can chime in on this...towards the late 90s, NWA rationalized their pilot bases and closed nonhub domiciles. That was the timeframe that the ORD pilot base closed, along with the BOS and maybe the SEA base(not sure on that one). Essentially, they rounded everything up to MSP/DTW/MEM and ANC for 747 cargo flying.


User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3205 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5084 times:



Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 21):
and maybe the SEA base(not sure on that one).

SEA A330 base still exists.


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4938 times:



Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 21):
NWA rationalized their pilot bases and closed nonhub domiciles.

You're right - they consolidated the pilot bases. I started at NWA shortly after this happened.

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 22):
SEA A330 base still exists.

Correct, but it's a newly-opened base...and don't forget HNL has been opened and closed a number of times since its initial closure a few yeas ago, too...



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4862 times:



Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 22):
SEA A330 base still exists.

Thanks Transpac, I was not sure on that one. I know the 747 base closed but was not sure about the Big Bus.

Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 23):
and don't forget HNL has been opened and closed a number of times

LOL oh yea...that opened and closed like four times when we were there ... forgot bout that


25 Transpac787 : Not really, as it was a directly replacement for the SEA 742 base. The 742 base closed only after the A330 one opened.
26 RandyWaldron : Whatever you'd like to call it, it's something SEA never had before, so I'd call it new...
27 Transpac787 : The Roberts Award would beg to differ
28 Tommy767 : Very interesting read. Where are the current NW crew bases (Not including DL) MSP, DTW, MEM, SEA, BOS, DCA, NYC, LAX, SFO and pinnacle at ATL???
29 Transpac787 : The FA bases, yes. Add on HNL too, that one's still around. The pilot bases there are MSP, DTW, MEM, SEA, ANC.
30 747buff : There's also the ANC crew base for the 747 freighters.
31 Bobnwa : Can we please decide whether we are talking about pilot bases or F/A bases. They are not not the same.
32 RandyWaldron : I am extremely familiar with the Roberts Award Transpac - what I'm talking about is the SEA A330 Base. Not any of the former types and positions in S
33 RandyWaldron : That information, Tommy, is somewhat incorrect. Here's what is correct.... NWA US-Based (covered under AFA contract) Purser & F/A Bases are: BOS NYC
34 Tommy767 : Very interesting! So essentially JFK, LGA, and EWR are all sub-bases for NW. Figure if your flying LGA-DTW or EWR-AMS it will be with NYC crew origin
35 Transpac787 : It's why both Washington DC and New York crew bases typically go extremely junior. Because your trip can both originate and terminate in different ai
36 WeAreUnited : When are these bases going to be established? Forgive my ignorance- but these will be current AFA NWA FA's stationed to cover the newly announced NW
37 ItalianFlyer : Yes...the satellites will be staffed by NW AFA F/As. My friends at NWA have said that there are going to be narrowbody re-deployments this spring as
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