Topic Author
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Thu Apr 27, 2000 2:24 am

I booked my ticket with Northwest, but judging by everyone's opinion of the airline I'm starting to have second thoughts. The Northwest ticket was much cheaper than Air Canada's. As much as I hate Air Canada, I'd rather not fly on a plane that's older than I am. Anyways, if I do stick with Northwest, how is it in terms of safety and service? Are their aircraft well maintained? I've never flown them before. I need to know by Friday!


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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 2:27 am

What route are you looking to fly on? Also, the age of the equipment doesn't necessarily mean they don't you get there on time and in great shape.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower

RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 3:21 am

Northwest has very good safety record and I am flying with that airline few times per year. I wouldn't fly with them if I don't think that they are safe to fly with. And I dont have any doubts about this.
ps. I didn't know that their planes are that old. Are they???
Topic Author
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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 3:27 am

My route: YEG-MSP-LGA and then return. The YEG-MSP route uses a DC9; the MSP-LGA uses a 757. I have heard that many of NWA's craft are over 20 years old.

The ticket is much cheaper than the AC alternative, but it's not as flexible in changing times. The AC flight is much more flexible, but a lot more expensive -- and they use newer aircraft. Still, if NWA's safety record is suspect, I'd be willing to fork over the dough to AC.

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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 3:37 am

I have flown on NWA a lot. While I don't like flying on the DC-10, i don't find it comforatable, they are a very safe airline. I have heard that the DC-9s have been maintained very well, and are nice on the inside despite their age.
I would keep the NWA ticket becasue its a lot cheaper, and there are no safety problems with the airline.

RE: They've Lost My Brother-in-law's Luggage

Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:03 am

Only thing I can tell you about "Northworst" is that they have been able to lose my brother-in-law's luggage twice within a six month period.

Fortunately both times the bags had been located and returned but for that to happen twice in a row and to go through the inconvenience of no clean clothes or personal items for 24-48 hours, it doesn't really make you feel good about flying them again!

I think if my brother in law has to ever fly them again, he may try to bring his luggage on board!  

Good Luck and let us know if you get your luggage at the same time you reach your destination!  

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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:10 am

From my own experiences, I would have to rate Northwest as much better than what many people have been saying about them recently. Since I'm from Michigan, I use Northwest in order to fly nonstop. Out of the flights that I have taken on them, they have all arrived or departed on schedule. Inflight service is adequate, but unspectacular. Meal service was awful on a flight I took to Seoul, but other than that has been decent. The biggest problem I have with Northwest is the time I spend waiting to pick up my luggage. In my opinion, this has to do with the fact that Northwest is operating beyond the terminal's capacity at DTW, since I never have a significant wait at other airports, but I think they could do better. I have heard many horror stories from other people, though, and that is what makes me hesitant to fly on them, when I plan future trips.
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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:19 am

Hey Louis whats up? I've had my share of problems with Northworst Aircraft such as their 727-200,747-200 and DC-10 packed in seats on the aircraft as well as employees rudeness from the FAs and gate agents. But not too many of the employees are bad. Their A320, 757-200 and DC-9 are pretty good. Any possiblity that you can check out US Airways, Continental or AA?
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Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 2:20 pm

RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:31 am

I've only flown NW a few times, and my experience is that they seem better on domestic/shorter runs than they do on international flights. On a flight I took to London and back the servie was very mediocre, the food bland, and the cabin staff were very rushed and a little surly, even for economy class, plus their 747's do not have the larger overhead bins.

On the domestic leg however the cabin crew both ways were chatty and friendly, and the food from their ala cart service was quite decent.

Everything I have heard about their planes is they are very well maintained despite their age, and their pilots are first-rate.
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
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I Like NWA

Thu Apr 27, 2000 6:31 am

I flew NWA from....MCO-MEM-SEA-HNL, and HNL-LAX-MEM-MCO. All the flights we're great. The inflight service was good, and I like the breakfast's on the long flights. The only problem we had was that we left 45 min late from HNL cause the DC-10 had navigational problems. I would fly them again.
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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 6:32 am

I have flown Northwest a few times (JAX-LAX via Memphis and return, and also from SEL-HNL-DTW-ROC), and have had great flights each and every time. While the DC-9's are old, they are well maintained and nice on the inside. The FA's have been very friendly, and I have yet to come across one who was rude not only to me but anyone else I was sitting near.

All I can say is try them out. Many people on here talk bad about Northwest because of one bad experience, or simply just because other people do. I say give them a shot, and see for yourself. No major airline will offer up suspect equipment, no matter how old. So fly NW, and enjoy the flight.
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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 10:17 am

I love flying old aircraft just like wine they get better with age>

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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 10:40 am

I don't think you need to worry about NW, they're a fairly reputable airline.

Louis, are you sure you're flying a DC-9 on the YEG-MSP leg? By my check of the schedule that route is operated by A319's only. Not that there's anything wrong with the DC-9's, they're a fairly reliable aircraft.

For the poster who mentioned USAirways, American or Continental- no chance, none of them serve Edmonton. The closest airport USAirways serves is a long way away from YEG, and the nearest airport CO serves is Calgary, about a 3 hour drive, and they only fly to IAH from Calgary anyways, which is a majorly long detour to get to New York via IAH from western Canada. AA also serves Calgary with flights to ORD or DFW, but what's the point of driving an that far to catch a plane?
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I Liked NW

Thu Apr 27, 2000 10:45 am

I flew on them in February, from Orlando to San Diego (via MSP.) Flew on a DC-10. They flight crew was very friendly. Flew an A-320 home, and again, everyone was great.

I am a Youth Minister for a large church and we had a group of 60 teens flying from Orlando to Denver for a ski trip. The planes were clean and the flight crew was very courteous. In fact, the landing in Demver was the smoothest I have ever experienced.

I enjoyed my experience with NW abd felt safe on their well-maintained planes. I have good and bad experiences on almost every major airline, and there are none hat I would avoid.

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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

What's Important!

Thu Apr 27, 2000 10:48 am

NWA has a cheaper ticket, is a very safe airline and has an overall good product. NWA will get you and your luggage there just fine.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower

NW's Product

Thu Apr 27, 2000 3:45 pm

I flew NW recently between BNA and MGM, and I noticed several things on the flights that may add to the discussion of NW service above.

The A320 from BNA to MEM was quite comfortable. The cabin crew was fairly attentive, although for most of the flight they remained seated b/c of dense build-ups around the aircraft all the way to MEM.

NW's MEM hub is hell. Absolute hell. The terminal is old, drab, and depressing, still being in a beige '70s motif. It's also filthy. On top of that, the MEM ground staff were surly, inattentive, and abrasive.

The NW Airlink SF340 from MEM to MGM was equally nightmarish. The seatbacks (ostensibly for safety/evac reasons) only came to my mid-back region (I'm 5'11"), and the a/c was expectedly loud, but the lone F/A was extremely cordial and indicated she loved working for Express I (the Airlink carrier out of MEM). The return was the same, and my comments would be the same.

The 340 from MGM-MEM was still uncomfortable; the MEM hub was still hell. As for the DC-9-50 from MEM to BNA, however, j'ai été très impressionné! The interior appeared to be brand-new; the seats were extraordinarily comfortable. The cabin crew was relatively attentive but slightly cold and lacked the friendly touch that seems to be becoming the norm at DL these days. The flight crew was exceptionally attentive, though, explaining in detail the weather intricacies in MEM that caused a gate hold.

All in all, NW is respectable, but definitely suffers from customer service issues that need to be addressed. And the MEM hub is nightmarish! They seriously need to evaluate renovating that facility.
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RE: Northwest

Thu Apr 27, 2000 3:49 pm

Northwest isn't a bad airline at all. I think you should stick with what you got. What other people experience with them doesn't mean that you will too. That's their own opinion. Some people might like them, some people might not. Give them a try and see if you like it.

They keep their aircraft well maintained. They have had their DC-9s for a long time, and look now, they still operate them so they must be keeping them in good condition.

Have a good time on the flight.

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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2000 2:23 am

RE: Northwest

Fri Apr 28, 2000 1:13 am

If you are flying from Edmonton, you will have an Airbus A319, not a DC9. However, the DC-9 fleet has a brand-new interior that is very nice. The A319 aircraft are brand new, (<1 year old) and look beautiful in NWA colors! I flew one fron PBI-DTW and, though it was a little bouncy on descent, I loved the plane.

In addition, Northwest has a spotless safety record in the past 8 years or so (their older aircraft are well maintained) and also uses a exclusive navigation system that provides for the least amount of turbulence in the industry. I have never had an overly-turbulent flight on Northwest (with the exception of on descent sometimes), and I fly them a lot since I live outside Detoit. Otherwise, their staff is friendly in the air (gate agents are rude though) and the food is making marginal improvements every time I fly. Plus, they were second on-time record last year. You will be satisfied with Northwest. They are consistent and reliable but not really spectacular (CO is better).
Go Blue!!

RE: Northwest

Fri Apr 28, 2000 2:18 am

I have flown with them twice from Detroit to MCO on 727-200s and 757s and the service was very good. May 5th I am flying with them on a Avro RJ85 from TYS to Detroit and then on to ALB on a DC-9.
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RE: Northwest

Fri Apr 28, 2000 3:04 am

Flied with NW once : YUL-DTW-PBI and back. All DC9's. Didn't find them very comfortable (I'm 6 feet - 1,82 m). Food was terribly bad (as is always the case with US airlines on domestic routes). 3 of these 4 legs were overbooked ! Last leg (DTW-YUL) was delayed 60 minutes because of a window problem. Overall, I was not impressed at all. The last time I flied an american airline was CO (MD80, 733, 735). Food was terribly bad (as is always the case with US airlines on domestic routes). But overall I liked it better than NW.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.

Read This One, Good Buddy

Fri Apr 28, 2000 3:55 am

northwest has one of the oldest fleets of aircraft in the world. northwest uses maximum density seating on nearly all of their domestic operated aircraft. northwest was the airline that "held hostage" thousands of passengers ON AIRCRAFT for hours and hours (like 6 to 8 hours) during a snow storm in detroit last year. northwest frequently has only 2 flight attendants on their 30year-old + dc9's. northwest reservation lines will advise you they are too busy to take your call at this time and to please call back later and you are then disconnected. northwest supports the lowest level of service in travel agent's computer reservation systems...affecting seat assignments, true availability. unless you ask to see northwest's customer service committment, northwest will not offer amenities for stranded passengers. northwest's detroit and memphis hubs are filthy, dingy, cold and cramped.

i hope you have a good experience on them. they no longer get my money.

Opieyork Or Someone

Fri Apr 28, 2000 4:15 am

Will you please tell me more about the incident in January last year when people on 30 or so aircraft were held in them on the tarmac during a snowstorm? I heard about the incident, but i would like to learn more about it. Why weren't the people delivered to the gates of the airport and let off there? If those aircraft could have landed in that situation, couldn't they have gone to the gates?

RE: Louis

Fri Apr 28, 2000 10:08 am


Please try to realize that all of our airlines south of the border are more or less comparable in terms of service standards and aircraft upkeep. You may hear XXX airlines provided such excellent service, or that so and so looked after me so well, but that kind of talk is pretty much bunk. That's what happens when airlines have 600+ aircraft and thousands of daily flights which equates to tens of thousands of passengers carried each day--how can you please all of them?

Your experience with any airline will depend on smooth flying conditions, weather delays (or lack thereof), friendly F/A's (or lack thereof) and numerous other conditions out of control of the airlines.

All of the majors have well-maintained fleets--its simply not possible to keep to a schedule of 6-8 daily trips per a/c otherwise. NWA's DC9's have all been recently refurbished from the inside out and are currently the only to be fitted with Noise Cancellation/suppression technology. Not to mention the Diesel 9 was built like a tank.

As for NW, they are a decent airline. Avoid the DTW (Detroit) hub like the plague and you'll be fine.

As mentioned above, all YWG-MSP flights are operated by A319, so the DC9 isn't even an issue here. And a 757 into LGA is an experience you wont soon forget. Don't know if you've ever flown into LGA, but the approach is breathtaking to say the least (Hopefully you can get a seat on the Manhattan, not Long Island side) with lots of sweeping turns towards the very end.

Give NW a try--you'll get there safely and most likely in good shape. With the winter more or less over, snowstorms shouldn't really be a problem anymore.
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RE: Northwest

Fri Apr 28, 2000 10:26 am

TEDSKI et al I've flown DTW-ALB on one of their DC-9-15, probably built in '65 or '66. The interior was clean and updated. It was wierd to be on a DC-9 with no leading edge slats, as there are on DC-9-30/40/50 (maybe 20?). Actually a good flight with a stiff wind across RWY 1, making for a nice X-wind landing.
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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 1999 6:13 am

RE: Snowstorm At DTW

Fri Apr 28, 2000 12:45 pm

PH-BZA: As most people know, NWA's Detroit hub is extremely congested. In Janurary 1999, NWA had little or no contingency plans should a major snowstorm affect it's biggest hub - when all the planes were on the ground there.

A contributing factor was their ground-staff: I understand around 50% did not show up for work due to the bad weather (the city of Detroit didn't plow residential neighborhoods at the time). But the major problem was that NWA continued to route a/c into DTW as the snowstorm moved in - the snow was moving east so they wanted all their a/c out of that region. As snow piled up and there were not the drivers to man the plows at the airport, the normal congestion that usually costs the NWA passenger arriving in Detroit a 10-20 minute wait while the arrival gate is prepared (there are insufficient gates for the number of a/c movements) got out of control.
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RE: Snowstorm At DTW

Fri Apr 28, 2000 1:21 pm

I was on a Northwest DC-10 in DTW during the snowstorm, We were sitting there for 4+ hours, It wasnt as bad as people peeing in cups and all that, but the flight attendants were yelling at averyone and about an hour after we landed we were 26th in line for a gate. NW reimbursed me for half my ticket though, so I was grateful that I recieved at least some compensation.
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

RE: Northwest

Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:53 pm

I've flown on a number of Northwest flights, but only because of their alliance with Continental (I bought CO tickets, they were on code-share flights).

In general the overall experience hasn't been that bad. I've only had a couple of bad experiences, first was with a with a surly Gate Agent in Detroit while boarding a Mesaba flight from DTW to SBD. She yelled at me because I gave her a Continental e-ticket boarding pass, she kept asking for my 'regular' boarding pass, I told her I didn't have one - see, it says 'E-TICKET' across the top. She finally took the boarding pass, cursed at Continental under her breath, and let me on board.

Second was a flight from DTW to ORD, I was on an A320. While we were taxiing to takeoff we turned around and went back to the gate. The pilot said there was something wrong with one of the engines. We sat in the plane for almost 2 hours while they were trying to fix it. They gave out drinks and snacks while onboard, I just wish they would've let us out of the plane. When they finally decided to put us on another plane we spent another hour on it while they were deicing the plane.

Other than the above I haven't had a problem with them. I do not like DTW though, I agree with what everybody has said about this abysmal airport. I know they're buidling a new terminal there, hopefully it'll make things there alot better.
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Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2000 4:12 am

RE: Northwest

Sat Apr 29, 2000 12:38 am

I flew with KLM/Northwest from Luxemburg via AMS and DTW to TPA on 26 March 99. The flight from LUX to AMS was very nice and we had good food. The flight from AMS to DTW was also good (it was the only new plane that flew from AMS to Amerika that morning; it was a 747-400. All other planes which stood around there were old DC10 s. Then we flew from DTW to TPA. The plane: 727-200. It was very old and it smelled inside. There was nearly no service inside. We got something to drink (one time only on a 2 hours 50 minutes flight) and something to eat but only very little.
The flight back was ok, only the flight from DTW to AMS was very terrible. (plane: DC10) The terrible on this plane is the seat configurtaion (2-5-2). The crew was very rude. There were no women as crew.
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RE: Northwest

Sat Apr 29, 2000 12:49 am

NWA is an excellent airline, I have been on them about 35 to 40 times   I'm sure you'll have a wonderful flight. If you're still unsure, I can give you a trip report of an NWA flight on this forum.
Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly


Sat Apr 29, 2000 12:57 am

I think levels of service on US Carriers can be a little shocking to our European friends; the difference on a similar length intra-Europe and intra-US flight can be pretty shocking for the uninitiated as CNS has shown above. NW is one of the few US airlines that doesn't serve snacks from a baggie as you walk on the plane which can be quite a silly episode if you ask me.

NWA's DC10's do suck; they are old but well cared for, not a total joy to fly on.

The 727's are on the way out so I don't think NW wasted any money overhauling them; all the DC9's have been refurbished and have nice new interiors/seats as well as completely rebuilt/reinforced exteriors. I think its fun to fly on the older jets; they are a hell of a lot more interesting than today's modern Airbus/Boeings and NWA's DC9's receive better care than most.

Louis, I have had several nice flights on NWA DC9's in the past few months. Don't write them off because of old jets, or a few bad experiences had by others.
Topic Author
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:53 am

RE: Louis

Sat Apr 29, 2000 2:26 am

I decided to switch to Air Canada. It had nothing to do with NW's reputation or safety issues. The NW ticket was very rigid in terms of changing dates for travel -- I just couldn't do it. The AC ticket was way more flexible and there is a good chance I'll be staying in New York longer than the nine days I'm scheduled for.

Thanks for your responses, guys,

Posts: 254
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2000 12:54 am

RE: Northwest

Sun Apr 30, 2000 1:15 pm

I hope you don't get stranded inside of the airplane for five hours!!!!!     Northwest has a reputation of doing this.    That is why United needs to make MSP a focus city!!! 
Fly United Louis!!!!

Topic Author
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:53 am

RE: Northwest

Sun Apr 30, 2000 1:17 pm

I would fly UAL, but they don't fly to Deadmonton.

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