So in the summer of 1998 my friend and I spent 2 months in Europe, vacationing and going to school. The trip over on July 1, 1998 was a somewhat uneventful one. Having spent a few days hanging out in San Diego at my friends house (who i was traveling with to Europe) his parents drove us to LAX. We flew LAX-DTW on flight 932 on a DC10-40 can't remember the ship number but we got upgraded to FC on this one. Great service and tons of chatting with a really cool fa (who I saw later that year on another NW Thanksgiving trip) arrival in DTW was ontime and we hiked to F5 for our flight to CDG. Can't wait for the new midfield terminal to open!!!! The next flight was NW050 DTW-CDG ship #1158 DC10-40. We left slightly late as they decided to change a tire on the left main gear assembly. Anyhow, great service over on a relatively bumpy flight. Chad was our flight attendant who did a really great job. Arrived in CDG at 730am ontime. After clearing passport control we proceeded to get our luggage. It never came. Horror thoughts raced through my mind as we were to be on a train to Rome that night. About an hour later as a whole bunch of us were in line with the ADP people to claim our lost bags they found a can with about 30 bags in it and told us we were to claim them at the carousel behind us. It turned out this was the can of connecting bags from our LAX-DTW flight. I recognized a bunch of people and saw bag tags with flight 932 on it. Anyhow, we were on the RER on our way to our apartment we had at 1000am... only 2.5 hours after arriving! So, we ended up missing the train to Rome anyway because I'm an idiot and read the 24 hour clock wrong. But that's beside the point of the story. So at the end of August is was time to leave. It was sad, but we were looking forward to such cool American things like soft toilet paper and a little more convenience! =) We were to fly CDG-AMS-LAX on KLM this day getting us to LAX at 4pm and then a drive to SAN via Mr and Mrs Barnes. We got ourselves and our tons of luggage to CDG via RER and a stop at our favorite patisserie for une petite dejeuner. Upon checkin we learned that our CDG-AMS flight was going to be late and we were to miss our connection in AMS to LAX. So we were rerouted CDG-AMS-DTW-LAX putting us in LAX at midnight. After some perousal of a handy NW timetable I built a quicker connection for us going to LAX via MEM getting us into LAX at 10pm. The late hour was going to be a problem for my friends parents to drive us back to SAN. They refused to put us on a NW flight to SAN saying that it was totally impossible. In a nice French accent of course. So we left CDG about 1.5 hours late with our bags tagged to LAX via AMS and MEM. Upon arrival in AMS after an awesome KLM flight as usual we thought for the heck of it, let's try and get to SAN. We talked with a KLM agent, Mr. R.P. Koster who totally befriended us and rerouted us to SAN via MSP, to make our lives easier, so we thought. The word strike was a buzz in AMS by all the KLM people as all the inbound flights the next day had been canceld, so if a strike occured there wouldn't be stranded a/c. So we were warned that we way not find our bags in MSP but we was sending a message down to the bagroom to remove oour bags from the MEM flight and to put them on the MSP flight. Finally, we got to our gate. NW55 747-200 ship #6624 AMS-MSP. 1600 departure. (I learned my 24 hour clock time, quite well by this time). No luck in getting into world business class this time. We had the second row in coach and I sat on the aisle of the 4 seater section and my friend sat on the aisle of the 3 seater section. We pushed about 1615 and during the loooooong taxi the gentleman who was sitting next to me was visibly uncomfortable. He appeared to have down syndrome or something and was dressed in a full suit and tie. He was Dainish and didn't speak English. He kepts ghasping for air and adjusting his tie. I asked him if he was okay and there was no responce. I flagged down the FA who was serving us after the safety brief and she was so nice, she moved him into World Business Class!! So, I had an open seat next to me for the 8 hour flight, which was nice. Service was great, we had 2 movies and 2 meals. Arrived to a very misty and hot MSP ontime at 630pm and went through customs at the newly opened international arrivals facility in MSP, which is great. Sadly, no luggage was there to greet us. We proceeded to have Mac Do's for dinner (so sick of it!!) and wait for our SAN flight. I don't remember any part of that flight #110 airbus 320 MSP-SAN. I think it left at 2000 or something around there. Slept the entire flight and woke up during the touchdown in SAN about 2230. No bags in SAN either so we filed a claim with NW. We were leaving for PHX the next morning on HP and had no clothes or anything to wear. Uneventful HP flight to PHX and a nice hot drive home to PRC. No luggage that day either but was told by NW LAX luggage service office that my friends bag was on its way on HP LAX-PHX-PRC and a service would drop it off. I was kinda disapointed to hear my bag wasn't coming. Well, I was surprised as my bag was the one that was delivered, not my friends! It turns out that in CDG, the bag tags were swapped and my bag had his name on it and he had mine. Anyhow I got my luggage but no sign of my buddies. Well, Northwest went on strike the next day and that is when the mother load hit the fan. The point is that to this very day!!!! my friends bag has not been found. He was not too happy at all with 2 months of memories in Europe gone. He was compensated by NW with tons of miles and a check. We speculate his bag was swipped in LAX as they circulated the convairbelt. I've been to LAX many times only to see random bags sitting alone where they could easily be stolen! I still feel horrid about "my airline" screwing up my friends luggage. It turns out we were on the last flight leaving Europe before the strike and were darn lucky not to be stranded there without our luggage (that was on its way to MEM... on a KLM MD11). Although I think I could have gotten used to spending a bit more time in Europe!! =)
Hope you enjoyed the last flight out...