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NW MSN-MSP-YVR In F  
User currently offlineMSNtriathlete From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 159 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5586 times:

NW 1652 KMSN-KMSP-CYVR
10 June 2008
A320
Seat 3A

After a hiatus from flying NW, I booked with them for my trip from Madison to Vancouver. I'd been mostly sticking with Midwest and CO, my favorites in terms of cabin service, especially after a string of NW flights with cabin service that was mediocre at best. Unfortunately, from Madison, WI, our options can be somewhat limited, especially if wishing to avoid the frequent delays at ORD, so NW was the best bet. I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The trip was a one-stop itinerary, with the same aircraft, cabin crew and cockpit crew from KMSN all the way to CYVR.

Boarding in Madison began about 20 minutes pre-departure, and although the plane was nearly full, we departed on-time for our 44-min flight to KMSP. Pre-departure drinks were served in F (using disposable cups), and the cabin crew were upbeat and polite. They were willing to pour anything for a pre-departure drink, which was a surprise, as they often just offer water or OJ on early-morning flights. Once airborne, they came back through the cabin with beverages again (this time with real glasses and mugs), which took the entire cruise time to drink. We made a scenic descent over western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, and made a very smooth crosswind landing at KMSP. We had nearly 2 hours before the departure to CYVR, so the crew asked the few of us continuing on the flight to deplane in order to clean the aircraft, but they allowed us to leave our carryons on board.

KMSP is a pleasant airport. Architecturally, it's nothing special, but it's uncongested, seldom-delayed, and easy to connect through. In my case, it was just a short walk to the nearest WorldClub, then back to the same plane. The WorldClub was attractive, with a northwoods slate and wood theme to the decor. They had coffee, juices, yogurt and bagels...not a lavish spread, but it certainly did the job. The club had an excellent view of the planes.

Boarding for continuation of NW1652 began about 15min before departure, with the preboard and F together, then "all seats, all rows." I was surprised until I saw that while F was full, Y was only about 50%. The FA later told me that coach loads are light early in the week but pick up later in the week, when the majority of the Alaska cruises depart Vancouver.

Pre-departure drinks were again served with disposable drinkware, and then we departed on-time. Flying time was just 3:20. We had a smooth, powerful takeoff from KMSP (I love that "tractor" sound from the A320 with takeoff power). We throttled back to climb power pretty soon afterward, made a couple of turns for ATC vectoring, and were on our way west. I had a wonderful seatmate, a retired NW manager (and her miniature poodle, who didn't make a peep the entire flight), and all the FA's knew her. Needless to say, row 3 got the service, since at any given time, there were 1-3 FA's chatting with her. She and I also chatted ourselves all the way to Vancouver, so the flight went by very fast.

Meal sevice began about 20min after takeoff. Cabin crew came through F with coffee and beverages and took our breakfast order, cereal or eggs. NW has done the same egg breakfast since I started flying with them, but the presentation seems better now, and less "mushed together" than before. It consisted of a cheese omelet with sausage, potatoes, and a plate of fruit and yogurt. In addition, we had a choice of a croissant and warm roll. It was way more than I could eat, esp after a bagel in the lounge, but the half of the omelet I ate was actually quite good, and the potatoes were wonderful. The fruit was fresh and flavorful (so much fruit sourced to caterers isn't).

Coach seems to have some better BOB options nowadays, including fruit and a vegetable plate.

The FAs were very attentive. The one dedicated to our cabin, a very sweet middle-aged female, only took a "time-out" to eat breakfast herself about mid-flight, but was otherwise on her feet and looking after us the entire time. The two coach FAs always checked on the F passengers and offered to take service items or bring more drinks whenever they passed through the F cabin to the forward galley. A younger female was very energetic, and an older male had a more sedate personality but was polite and attentive. Fortunately, we had none of the surly older or bratty younger FAs that over the previous few years made me a loyal Midwest and Continental customer! I realize that not all NW FAs are that way, and that I've encountered the occasional bozo on YX and CO, but anyone who flies NW much knows exactly what I mean.

Snacks and drinks were again served about 1 hour before arrival, and I requested a glass of red wine "ONLY if you have it open already." She said, "Of course I do." I then saw her back in the galley uncorking a new bottle of merlot. I jokingly scolded her for opening a whole bottle of wine just for me, and she said, "Oh, don't worry about it. I'll either sell some of it in coach or else just give the coach passengers some free wine and help our ratings go up!"

We made an incredibly smooth landing in foggy YVR, with ceilings at 900'. Our on-time departure and short flying time got us in just before all the big transpacific flights, so customs & immigration was a breeze.

This was definitely a pleasant surprise, compared to my previous NW experiences. If the return flight is consistent, I may become more of a NW customer!

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5525 times:



Quoting MSNtriathlete (Thread starter):
The trip was a one-stop itinerary, with the same aircraft, cabin crew and cockpit crew from KMSN all the way to CYVR.

That's unusual! And lucky I suppose.

Sounds like an unusually good first class trip experience on NW. I think we run into the same problems no matter what legacy carrier we fly these days. I had a not-too-good experience on AA DFW-LAS this weekend in first, but then a really good experience on the return, both in first class.

I loved your description of the NW Worldclub. I've been meaning to get up to MSP to see the airport and might do it now, especially if the club has a decent view!

Thanks for posting,
Matt


User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4835 times:

Great report, at MSN i was just looking at their website, and quite apparently NW is their favorite since under the airline contacts they have a NW picture and NW is first listed. Anyway, I was looking at NW's flights today to MSN and saw that they used gates, 2, 4, 8, 9, & 10, are NW's gates really that spread out, are all of these actual NW gates (with NW on the gate etc)? Can you fill me in a little as to NW's ops at MSN.

Thanks.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineDavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4680 times:

Nice TR, thanks for posting!

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlineMsntriathlete From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4265 times:

Thanks for he feedback and questions, Burnsie. NW and United have the most service out of MSN. I think NW carries more passengers (bigger planes, mostly A320/319 and DC9, with a couple CRJs), while United has more flights and almost as many pax (I could be a little off on that). NW's gate operations are spread throughout the airport, but given the fact that the airport is small, anyway, it's not more than a 3-min walk from one gate area to the other.

The key difference between the two is that UA has a horrible rate of delays/cancellations (like 50% delay rate and 15% cancellation rate overall), mainly related to the ORD flights (somehow American isn't nearly as delayed in/out of the same pair of airports). So while the service on NW is rarely special, the fact that they have predictably-ontime service via uncongested hubs really means a lot flying from a place like here.


User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4033 times:

Ok I just thought it was odd that it was so spread out instead of just all together.

I was bored the other day and looked at this


Weekday (Daily) based on current schedules

NW:
Total Seats: 1301
Total Flights: 13

DL:
Total Seats: 132
Total Flights: 3

CO:
Total Seats: 137
total Flights: 3

AA:
Total Seats: 732
Total Flights; 15

YX:
Total Seats: 300
Total Flights: 6

UA:
Total Seats: 570
Total Flights: 11



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineMsntriathlete From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3793 times:

Wow, thanks for the info, Burnsie. I didn't realize that AA was that much bigger of a player in MSN than UA. I also didn't realize how far ahead of the pack NW was.

User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3590 times:



Quoting Msntriathlete (Reply 6):
Wow, thanks for the info, Burnsie. I didn't realize that AA was that much bigger of a player in MSN than UA. I also didn't realize how far ahead of the pack NW was.

No problem, of course it helps that NW has mainline and the rest tend to send 50 seaters, with the exception of the 1x CR7 from United. Of course we may see a reduction in Continental flying, heck they are pulling out of GRB completely.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlinePilotfox From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 552 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3512 times:

NW at MSN use gates 8, 9 and 10 mostly. Gates 2 and 4 are used by NW for the RONs. Gate 4 I believe is just used to park the NW a/c with no pax loading/unloading. Gate 4 is used by CO in the early evenings for their EWR and CLE flights and after that it is empty. Gate 2 is used only by NW in the early morning for one of their RONs. Gate 2 is also used for any heavy charters that come in to the airport.

For a little more detail:
ZW uses gate 6 & 7 exclusively
YX uses gate 5 exclusively
OH uses gate 1 & 3 exclusively
MQ uses gate 12 exclusively
As for the other commuter gates (11 & 13) They are used by MQ and YX for RONs. MQ and CO use it during the day for turns.


User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3437 times:



Quoting Pilotfox (Reply 8):
Gates 2 and 4 are used by NW for the RONs

I have found that NW has been using gate 2 for afternoon flights.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineMsntriathlete From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days ago) and read 3351 times:

Does anyone have info on whether CO will cut MSN further? Of the majors, they're my favorite, but their flights here have dwindled to almost-unusable levels with few useful connections. My CO elite has been useful on NW, but now that CO is headed for Star, I may have to ask NW/DL to give me elite reciprocity and switch to their FF & elite programs. UA couldn't be a more inopportune partner for CO from a MSN point-of-view, as their delay-rate between MSN and ORD is 50% overall with a cancellation rate of nearly 15%. It's even raised the ire of local political leaders. If CO had more connecting flights, like an early morning flight to CLE, or a flight to EWR that had an on-time of better than 20% (check CO's website if you don't believe me), I could still fly them and just use UA if I HAD to. Otherwise, it's NW/DL for me. Although their customer service can't compare with CO's, having good on-time performance through uncongested hubs is, at the end of the day, far more important.

User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3318 times:

Im guessing if anything does go, say good by to the CLE flight, if they do that, I think they will pull out of MSN all together, only one EWR flight a day, and two CLE during the weekday, with 1 on the weekends. No EWR service on Saturdays.

So:
Saturday: 1x DH2 to CLE
Sunday: 1x ERJ to EWR and 1x ERJ to CLE

Monday-Friday
1x ERJ to EWR
1x ERJ and 1x DH2 to CLE

I don't think CO would keep MSN open with only one flight... Also that MSN-EWR flight doesn't offer many connections when its "supposed" to get into EWR at 9:30pm.

I guess only time will tell.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
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