Topic Author
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 5:45 am

Northwest And DC-10

Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:11 pm

In addition to its' original DC-10 fleet, Northwest has over the years added others from other operators. I'm glad to see this. At a time when most major airlines have phased out their DC-10s, Northwest is ading more. They recently added one or two ex-Varig aircraft. But I wonder, is the DC-10 considered outdated or old in other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia as most of their national carriers disposed of their fleets years ago. It would be interesting to hear from people from those areas. What routes are Northwest DC-10 used on? How long long does Northwest plan to keep their "10s". Any thoughts? Chris
Posts: 424
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 1:55 am

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:31 pm

There are very few airlines in Asia and Europe that still operates DC-10 in their mainline passenger routes. The only other major airlineS that still routinely operate DC-10 is JAL and Garuda. Fedex is going to use DC-10 for a long time and is buying second hand ones. In passenger carrying roles, DC-10 is mostly used by second-tier and charter airlines in Asia and Europe.

Even US airlines, like AA, CO and UA are replacing of the DC-10s with 767s, 777s and some cases 757s.

NW operates DC-10 on transcontinental routes from DTW to SFO, LAX, SEA; Hawaiian routes, European route (DTW-FRF, DTW-AMS) and certain Asian routes like SEA-KIX. I don't know how long they plan to keep the DC-10s. This always puzzles me -- NW doesn't have a cohesive fleet renewal plan and is operating so many old aircrafts like DC-9, DC-10 and 747-200s.
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:49 am

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sat Oct 23, 1999 2:46 am

While I have lived in London, in all my travels around europe, I have seen very few DC-10s. I never see them at the airport when I fly to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and many other places. Really the only DC-10s I see over here are the NWA flights at gatwick and a few from african airlines.
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 1999 6:54 am

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sat Oct 23, 1999 10:23 am

The NW DC-10-30 are all low cycled aircraft and have much life left in them. The DC-10-40s are old, but still in fairly good condition. They require TLC more than the -30s. The -40s will be retired first when the A330s start coming in 2003.

One must remember the economics invovled in using a low cycled aircraft in good condition compared to a "brand new" aircraft. Yes, the DC-10 cost a little more per hour to fly, but this is offset because of the sky high price of a brand new A330.

Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 1999 6:13 am

RE: "Low-Cycle" DC-10 Vs A330

Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:16 am

It's nice for NWA that they make lots of cash while making customers endure old equipment - I fly on the worn-out NWA -10's all the time - DTW-LGW at least twice a year. The -30's are undoubtedly better than the -40's, but they are still overcrowded and showing their age. Just to rub salt in the wound, I was on an NWA DC-9 last week (another NWA antique) reading their in-flight rag - the "letter from the president" is bragging about the "new" aircraft NWA is acquiring - including more friggin' DC-10's! 2003 is too long to wait for the 330's, I wish they had them today!
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 1999 6:54 am

RE: "Low-Cycle" DC-10 Vs A330

Sat Oct 23, 1999 1:08 pm

There is not doubt that the DC-10 is from "days gone by". The thing is, it is up to the airline to decide how many seats are in the aircraft and how well the aircraft is maintained inside and out. I have been in some of Northwest's DC-9s that look like new planes! In fact, the cabin was brand new and even smelled new. Again, not the fault of the aircraft itself but the airline that operates them.

I find it interesting that few people complain about the 727 age. In fact, many enjoy and look forward to riding on them. But, when it comes the the DC-9 and DC-10, the complaints seem to increase.

I have never been in an uncomfortable flight on Northwest. But then I refuse to sit in the middle between two people or more. First choice is window, second is the aisle. People want cheap airfares, they demand cheap airfares. What once was a "special" way to travel, full of excitement and wonder, has turned into not much more than jumping on a Greyhound Bus. Those airlines who strive to make our flights a special experience at a reasonable price with good service are mostly not based in the United States. Continental may be an exception to that as I'm hearing more and more good things about them. The next time I fly overseas, I would love to try Virgin Atlantic.

About Northwest, I have no complaints as I've always been treated in a civil, polite manner. Other members of my family have "different" stories to tell.


RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sat Oct 23, 1999 6:02 pm

Northwest's DC-10s may be low cycle and there is an economic argument for retaining them but their passenger appeal is appalling! Why would anyone want to fly in one? They must be one of very few airlines still flying them across the atlantic - Continental recently introduced the 777 at my local airport (Manchester) It may only have 2 engines but there's no competition which one I would chose!

Also, why do Nothwest still fly their DC-9s and are in no hurry to replace them?
I've never flown on one but judging by their vintage they must be showing their age unless they've had a serious amount of money spent on them.

Northwest appear to be getting left behind.
In Europe DC-10s/DC-9s and 727s are gone and 747-classics/737-200s are on their way.
The US carriers are further behind but they've all made the effort to modernise except NW. They seem the only carrier not to have lined up a type to replace every outdated aircraft;-
What will replace the DC-9s?
There arent enough A330s to replace Dc-10s and they wont start to arrive 'til 2005 anyway
What will replace 747 classics - why so few 747-400s at NW given the amount of pacific work they do?

I'm surprised an airline the calibre of KLM codeshare with them - I'd be dissapointed if I booked KLM and ended up on a NW '-10 over the Atlantic!
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 1999 8:53 pm

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sat Oct 23, 1999 10:37 pm

Northwest operates DC-10s on the following routes that I know of:

Amsterdam - Boston
Amsterdam - Newark
Amsterdam - Seattle
Amsterdam - Philadelphia (discontinued after summer schedule)
Amsterdam - Washington
Amsterdam - Detroit
Oslo - Minneapolis (discontinued after summer schedule)
Amsterdam - Delhi
Amsterdam - Bombay
Frankfurt - Detroit

I have to agree with Jet Setter. It is a shame that a wonderful airline like KLM has an alliance with an airline like Northwest. NWA is totally unable to match KLM's standards of quality. And this airline really needs to replace some of its DC-10s, since some of them are getting very old
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 1999 6:54 am

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sat Oct 23, 1999 10:39 pm

Most people could care less about what type of aircraft they are riding on. Price of the flight and WorldPerks mileage are more important. Unless someone has had a really terrible experience on an airline, they will continue to fly that airline if for no other reason to build up and use mileage.

It's the same concept many grocery stores use. They give you a card with your special code number on it. If you are a regular customer and use the card, you will receive a discount on certain grocery items. You don't care if the store is new or not, you shop there because the prices are lower because you have the "membership card". The more you shop, the more money you save = the more you fly, the more money you save. Now with WorldPerks, we can add mileage by using a certain long distance phone company, stay in certain hotles or rent an automobile from a certain company. Kind of makes a person want to stick with that airline. It's an excellent marketing tool.

Try getting on an aircraft and ask the passengers what type of aircraft it is, and if they know how old the plane is. I'll wager that 8 out of 10 will have no idea unless they happen to look at the safety cards. Even if they do know they won't care. Most will be happy enough because they won't see props on the engines!

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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:26 am

In Defense Of Older Aircraft

Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:46 pm

I agree with Spence. It's not a matter of how old an a/c is, but how it is operated and maintained by its owners. Over the past couple of years I've flown in several of Continental's DC-9-30s (the last of which was retired at the beginning of this month) and always found them to clean and comfortable. Sure, they didn't have the passenger amenities that the 737NGs have, but they weren't "showing their age" either.

One thing people often overlook when ripping on older a/c is that the DC-9, 727, and the original widebodies(747, DC-10, L-1011 and A300) were designed by real engineers with pencils and slide rules. The few computers they had were warehouse-sized and slower than an Apple II. They didn't have the luxury of being able to exceed FAA and international standards by an exact percentage. These airplanes were simply designed and built like tanks.

I think it will be a safe bet that thirty years from now, there won't be very many A318s with 80,000+ cycles on them.(as a number of DC-9s do) There probably won't be many 777s with 100,000 hours either.(As TWA's 747s did when they were finally scrapped)
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 1999 6:13 am

RE: Older Planes

Sun Oct 24, 1999 2:08 am

regardless of the "refurbishing", "maintenance" etc. on the geriatric NWA fleet, there must still be plenty of old original wiring, insulation, cable runs etc. just waiting to break. Next time you get close to one of these senior citizens, check out the number of skin patches they have around major openings in the fuselage - what does that tell you? I've seen patches on top of patches on some of these dinosaurs.

Add LGW-DTW and LGW-MSP to your list of international NWA DC-10 routes.

I must admit though, I have 90,000+ worldperks miles and that's what brings me back to NWA! But I want it all - new jets and more mileage!
SEA nw DC10
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 3:03 am

Here's What I Know...

Sun Oct 24, 1999 3:19 am

I work for NWA on the ramp at SEA...most of our flights via the -10 are to and from MSP, HNL, and DTW. I don't think NW plans on retiring our fleet of -10's, they are efficient, and have a long range, they possibly will be replaced way later in the future, but I dont see it in the near future. On the ramp, it is the favorite aircraft, just because it is easy to load/offload, and it's a great looking bird. Hope this helps...
SEA nw DC10
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 3:03 am

Comment For "Tripple7"

Sun Oct 24, 1999 3:23 am

As a NWA employee, I didnt' appreciate the remark about us being matched with KLM. Our goal at NW is the same, if not higher than the service goals of KLM, and we try hard to make people like you happy on all of our flights. If you don't like NW, pick another carrier and let us do our job. Thanks
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 1999 12:45 am

RE: Northwest And DC-10

Sun Oct 24, 1999 8:05 am

I prefer newer airplanes, but schedules are important to me, and I suspect to most passengers. So the age of the airframe is not that important to most travellers. So, NWA continues to operate the DC-10's. With correct maintenance, the DC-10's will last another 10 years, and NWA will have replaced them with A330's. NWA is able to make money flying these, so let them operate them as long as it's safe. Again, schedules are more important to travellers. As for the KLM/NWA alliance, the feed in travellers probably adds over $100 Million or more to each airline per year, revenue that each would not obtain without the alliance. It is beneficial to both airlines, irregardless to fleet types used.
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 1999 6:54 am

RE: Here's What I Know...

Sun Oct 24, 1999 12:56 pm

SEA nw DC 10:

If you have time, please tell me about the "imfamous rear cargo door" and how safely that closes now. How about the cabin floor support?

Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 1999 6:54 am

RE: Older Planes

Sun Oct 24, 1999 3:27 pm

Remember all those cables and wiring have to be inspected on a regular schedule. When was the last time a DC-9 crashed because of a problem with the aircraft? Do things go wrong on a DC-9? Yes indeed they do,but how often do they crash and kill people due to a critical failure of the aircraft?

Just my own opinion if you will, I would feel much safer on one of Northwest's DC-9s than some other airlines 737s. I'm not convinced that the rudder "problem" has been corrected and I don't think it will be until they add a second control unit for the rudder like other Boeing aircraft.

I must admit to somewhat of an uneasy feeling of flying on a DC-10. Another aircraft I'm not convinced all the problems have been worked out.
Check out a book it's called DESTINATION DISASTER by Paul Eddy. It's out of print, but found one for me. The unnerving story of the DC-10 and L-1011 and some 747 info as well. Douglas knew all about the cargo doors and cabin floor problems way before the first DC-10 ever left the ground. You will also learn the absurb facts about the DC-6 and the DC-8 and how Douglas and the Nixon administration tried to shut people up who talked about these problems. Many more things that will blow your mind.
I must apoligise for straying way off the topic of this thread, I'm truly sorry.

Feel free to email me with any comments or questions:


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