Estimated Departure Time: 8:00 AM EDT
Estimated Arrival Time: 10:09 AM CDT
I was traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to attend a weeklong pre-college program at Parks College, which is one of the leading Engineering and Aviation Schools in the country. I bought the tickets on Orbitz.com approximately a month before the trip for $360, including taxes and fees.
I woke up at around 5:45 AM and my parents drove me from my house in Forest Hills, Queens to JFK airport; about a 15-20 minute drive (without traffic.) The flight departed from Terminal 4, as do all NW flights. I thought this was quite odd considering that T4 is the main international terminal at JFK. I checked in and passed through security without any hassle, bought a New York Post, and sat down near the gate. The night before, there were major thunderstorms and a report of a tornado in Queens that grounded many flights at JFK. Because of this, the flight was oversold by 13 passengers. The gate agent announced that he would give out $300 Travel Vouchers to anybody who wanted to take the 8:30 flight into MSP. Since I had more than an hour for my connection at MSP, I decided to go for it. The flight that was scheduled to depart at 8:30 was NW1650, which was scheduled to depart the night before at 5:50 PM. At about 8:20, I made my way to the next gate over to board this flight.
Estimated Departure Date: 6/14/08
Actual Departure Date: 6/15/08
Estimated Departure Time: 5:50 PM EDT
Actual Departure Time: 11:38 AM EDT (The next day)
Estimated Arrival Time: 8:11 PM CDT
Actual Arrival Time: 1:08 PM CDT
Seat: 13A (I had the entire row to myself)
At around 8:20, I and about 20 others began to gather around the podium. The gate agent was talking on the radio, and he looked pretty angry. It turned out that a FA that was supposed to work this flight left the airport, and that we had to wait for another FA from MSP to come in. The agent told us that due to federal regulations, the aircraft could not carry passengers without four flight attendants. He said the FA would get in about 11:15. Naturally, everyone was pretty angry, and I knew I would miss my connecting flight to STL, which left MSP at 12:59 CDT (which was supposed to be on a DC-9.) He told me that the next flight to STL would be at 4:15 CDT and I would have to get a boarding pass printed in MSP.
I spent the two and a half hours watching old South Park videos on my Zune and re-arranging my plans for someone to pick me up at STL. The gate agent did give me a $10 coupon so that I could buy some food in the airport, and I spent it on a very mediocre Turkey Sandwich, which came out to $9. I pity the fool that actually spends his/her own money on that stuff.
At approximately 11:30, boarding was called and about 20 people boarded the Airbus. Everybody had their own aisle, and there was one drink service. Since there were no first class passengers, some people decided to sit in F, but no service besides the drink service was provided to them. I decided to stretch out in Y, since the rows are longer. I slept a bit and read a few magazines that I brought with me (PC World and National Geographic, if you must know.)
We made our arrival uneventfully and I immediately found a gate agent in MSP to sort out my travel plans. I found out that there was an earlier flight to STL which departed at around 3:00, but it was full. The very friendly GA offered to put me at the front of the standby list. I spent about an hour walking around the airport aimlessly, and I found it to be one of the nicest I’ve ever been in. It was clean and it seemed recently re-modeled. Of course, since I am from NY, anything seems nicer than JFK or LGA.
At about 2:40, I made my way to the gate of the 3:00 flight that I was on standby for. Boarding started and 49 out of the 50 ticketed passengers boarded the flight. The gate agent was just about to let me on when a middle-aged Frenchman came running down the terminal to board the flight. She had to let him board, and I was stuck with the 4:15 flight.
NW3655 Operated by Mesaba
Departure Date: 6/15/08
Estimated Departure Time: 4:15 PM CDT
Actual Departure Time: 5:18 PM CDT
Estimated Arrival Time: 5:49 PM CDT
Actual Arrival Time: 6:16 PM CDT
After another complete circuit of the airport, I made my way to gate C22. I was told the flight would be delayed a bit, due to a late arrival from STL. I sat down next to a plump young woman who could not stop talking. She acted about as mature as a 13 year old, and it soon became quite annoying. She made remarks about the sexual preferences of most male FA’s, but rather than deal with her, I just gave her the “Yes” treatment in hopes that she would shut up. That did not happen, but boarding was soon called and I boarded the aircraft. I felt bad for the person she was sitting next to, and I saw that she was sitting next to a priest or a minster, only a few rows behind me.
The aircraft was brand new. It would be safe to assume that the aircraft was only a few months, or even weeks old. The leather seats were spotless and it even smelled new. As I boarded the plane, I was surprised to see that there was a first class section. It was four or so rows of 1x2 seating. The seats on the one seat sides in F had a very small overhead compartment. I did not see if the folks in F got a meal service, but I wouldn’t assume so, since the flight was only about an hour and fifteen minutes long.
As we pushed back, I noticed a can rolling across the tarmac and right under my plane. I was a bit surprised, because I thought that there was to be no loose debris on the tarmac, because of the danger of getting them sucked in the engines during takeoff. We taxied down to the runway and we were about fourth or fifth in line. The takeoff was pretty weak, but were airborne soon enough.
There was one drink service for the people in Y, and that was enough. Our route took us down the Mississippi River, and we were able to see the devastating flooding. We began to descend soon after, and I met the person who was supposed to be picking me up from the college. Since my bag was on the other flight, I had to retrieve it from the NW luggage office.
I know this is Airliners.net, so I’ll be brief about the details from my trip. I enjoyed the program a lot and on 6/18, I got to go to St. Louis Downtown Airport and fly in a INSERT AIRCRFT NAME HERE and I even got to fly it for a bit. Even though the flight was only ten minutes long, I enjoyed it very much. That night I went to Busch Stadium and I saw a Cards game at Busch. (They lost 3-2, to Kansas City) Friday afternoon, I said goodbye to my friends and went to the airport.
Departure Date: 6/20/08
Estimated Departure Time: 4:15 PM CDT
Actual Departure Time: 4:15 PM CDT
Estimated Arrival Time: 6:02 PM CDT
Actual Arrival Time: 5:52 PM CDT
I arrived at the airport an hour and fifteen minutes early for my flight. I said goodbye to my friend, who was traveling on a later Continental flight to Cleveland. I checked in, and the person at the check-in counter offered to put me in the first class standby list, even though I am not an Elite Flyer. I happily accepted her offer, but once I got to the gate, I learned that the standby list was long and I would probably not get to sit in F. Even though, I wouldn’t see a point of paying for first class for such a short flight.
At about 3:50, boarding was called. I was very excited, since this was my first and probably last time on a DC-9. The interior was a bit worn and my seat wasn’t great, however, I didn’t care that much about that. We taxied to the runway and since there was no line, we took off right away. All I can say is that those engines are LOUD! My noise canceling headphones were no match for these things. It’s too bad that they are so inefficient. I would love to see them in the sky for another forty years.
There was one drink service, and again, I was unable to see what kind of service the folks in first class got. When we were about 100 miles from MSP airport, the pilot informed us that we would circle around a bit; in order to wait for thunderstorms to pass that were over the field. Despite this, we landed earlier than expected.
Departure Date: 6/20/08
Gate: Sorry, I forgot and it’s not printed on my boarding pass.
Estimated Departure Time: 6:58 PM CDT
Actual Departure Time: 7:56 PM CDT
Estimated Arrival Time: 10:42 PM EDT
Actual Arrival Time: 11:38 PM EDT
Seat: 3A (First Class)
Once I got off the flight from STL, I walked a few gates over to the LGA flight. That day, I was feeling rich, so I decided to ask the gate agent how much it would be to upgrade to first class. He said that it would be $80, which was odd, since the Automatic Check-in Kiosk in STL told me that it would be $225 to upgrade for this flight only. I gladly paid the $80, since I would be getting served dinner, and the flight would be rather long.
Once everyone boarded, we were told that there was a minor mechanical problem that would take 15 minutes to fix. We waited fifteen minutes and during that time, pre-flight drinks were served, in a plastic cup. After fifteen minutes had passes, we were told that it would take another fifteen minutes. After that, the door finally closed and we pushed back. I find it quite ironic that a relatively new Airbus had mechanical problems, while a 40 year old DC-9 ran flawlessly. I guess that’s why people say, “they don’t make them like they used to.”
The load in F was around 50%, and it seemed like the load in Y was around 100%, even though I didn’t get a great look. Just before takeoff, the FA started the ovens to warm the food. About twenty minutes after takeoff, he came around with the meals. The choices were Vegetable Ravioli and some Chicken dish. I chose the ravioli and my meal came with a small salad and a piece of pie. This time, my drink was served in a NWA glass. The meal was quite good, just not that filling. I asked the flight attendant if I could buy some Twizzlers, since they were selling that in the main cabin, and he picked them up for me. The flight was uneventful and the FA came around with coffee mid-flight. The arrival into LGA was very bumpy, since there were severe thunderstorms over New Jersey. We arrived about an hour behind schedule to an empty terminal. My bag was one of the first ones to come out, and my dad drove me home after that.
When I came home that night, I checked my WorldPerks account, which I opened just before the trip, and I found that 25,000 miles had been deposited into my account as a “Customer Relations Bonus,” because of the lateness that I experienced going to STL. I was very happy, because 25,000 miles in WorldPerks equals a round trip flight, anywhere in the USA. Since I paid around $360 + $80 for the round trip tickets, I came out with more money than I paid. I got a free round trip flight anywhere in the US, plus a $300 travel voucher. Not bad for a few hours of inconvenience.
In conclusion, I enjoyed flying with Northwest. I really don’t blame the airline for the mix up at JFK, just the stupid flight attendant who wasn’t doing her job. It was handled very well. Most of the staff were friendly and I liked its hub in MSP a lot. When I purchased these tickets, I got them because they were the least expensive. However, next time I purchase airline tickets, I will look at NWA first.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, and if you notice any factual errors, or anything offensive to you (how the hell could a trip report offend anyone?) please bring it to my attention.