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Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Sun Sep 17, 2000 3:28 pm

Just wanted to know if anyone has any thoughts on NW's new add campaign called "clearing the way."

"clearing the way" is what NW says they do for passengers in all areas.

I think the biggest add says something like "Northwest Airlines...clearing the way for you to have great flight" or something like that.

I like it (no surprise there though huh?!) because I think it advertises what Northwest does better than any other airline. To me Northwest has the best "service recovery" of any of the airlines. While the flights are normally fine, if something does go wrong I know I get a phone card, some miles, a meal, a discount coupon, and a comment card that I get a personal response to. In addition the ground staff always works hard to find me the best available flights to where I need to be.

Northwest Airlines - Clearing the Way
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Mon Sep 18, 2000 4:28 pm

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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Mon Sep 18, 2000 8:49 pm

They are truly the WORST airline in the skies. (besides AmWest and United)

N312RC in DTW
My views as expressed above are my views alone and do not constitute the views of my employer.

RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Mon Sep 18, 2000 9:29 pm


"While the flights are normally fine, if something does go wrong I know I get a phone card, some miles, a meal, a discount coupon, and a comment card that I get a personal response to. "

Most ordinary people who fly around the world would just expect that their flight will be on time and that there would be no problems.

Nice to know that NWA accepts the fact that they have bad schedules that they can never meet and they can give some poor passenger a phone card to call ahead and let whoever they are meeting know that they in fact flying NORTHWORST.

"Hello? Oh you are waiting for me. NWA gave me this nice card that I can call you to let you know I will be 2 hours late or more. Yes I know. How nice of them, they gave me a discount coupon too."

Reality check! (*ding*)

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RE: Northwest Airlines -

Mon Sep 18, 2000 10:47 pm

I had such bad experiences flying with NWA in the 80's and early 90's that I still go out of my way not to fly them. I have flown NWA in the Pacific, to Europe and domestically, on all types of aircraft and in all classes. It has been my experience that a good flight with NWA is the exception rather than the rule.

My last experience with NWA was OMA-MSP-GEG back in '95. I was flying with two small children and had made my reservations and requested 3 together seating 6 weeks in advance. When I arrived at OMA they had 3 seats for us but they were all single seats (i.e. middle) scattered throughout the cabin. None of the gate agents seemed particularly interested in helping me get 3 seats together. They told me to sort things out once we boarded. The senior FA did manage to get us two together with another in the adjoining seat row which was better than nothing, but we had to hang around in the galley and wait for her to make the arrangements. We arrived nearly 40 minutes late at MSP and the 722 flight to GEG was so overbooked that they were looking for 15 (!) PAX to give up their seats. We didn't make that flight (along with several others who were involuntarily bumped) and had to wait 7 hours until later that afternoon for another flight to GEG. The only thing NWA offered us was a free shuttle bus trip to the Mall of America - nothing else. No phone card, no meal voucher, no passes.

We were finally given 3 together seating on our 722 to GEG. When we arrived (this time nearly 1 hour late) one of our checked bags was missing and took another 24 hours to arrive at GEG. Another checked bag that did arrive on our flight looked as though it had been run over by a baggage cart. That was when I made the decision to avoid "Northworst" at all cost. Life is too short and I enjoy flying way too much to subject my family and myself to any more flights on NWA.

I have flown all over the world on a number of airlines. Northwest has consistently provided the worst experiences I have had. I could relate many more NWA stories of horrific delays, surly gate agents, inattentive cabin service, dirty aircraft, lost luggage etc. If NWA is trying to change, great. It will take a lot more than a bunch of clever advertising to get my business back.
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RE: Nwa747-400

Mon Sep 18, 2000 11:19 pm


I live near DTW (Approximately 40 Minute Drive) and often am forced to fly NWA due to scheduling. I HATE NWA, the planes are old, the F/A's are ALWAYS unfriendly, the flights are consistenly late and the check-in agents are the worst part of the whole experience! I once took my grandfather on a trip with me, I booked the fare with a senior citizen discount, I was given the discount because I was accompanying a senior; we made the out bound flight DTW-MIA no problems, on the MIA-DTW return the gate agent told us that my ticket was invalid as I was not a Senior Citizen! He went in the back room for about five minutes, came out and scolded me for booking a ticket in this manner (I booked directly with NWA) and told me that I could "get away with it this time". That was too much, I wrote NWA a letter and they apologized for the "misinformed gate agent" and gave me the typical airline "I'm sorry". About a year ago I couldn't get a flight with anybody but SWA, being rather tepid on flying on a cattle car like that I went with them anyway, well. I now fly SWA as often as I can for one reason, I have never been on time on SWA, I'VE ALWAYS BEEN EARLY!! I've never had a ticketing problem with them, I show my ID at the gate and get on the plane. The F/A's are genuine, if they are having a bad day they will tell you, they don't put on a fake smile and act surly, they will tell you about their day and then get back to work, I'd rather have that. The complimentary coffee and doughnuts at the gate also say something to me that no other airline says, you are our guest. With most other main line airlines (save Midwes Express) the parties involved see it as they are doing you a favor rather than you are doing them one!

Enough ranting and raving, Nwa747-400, tell me, how many flights with NWA have you taken, which airports do you leave from, and lastly, what are you smoking and where can I get some  .


RE: Northwest Airlines -

Tue Sep 19, 2000 1:53 am

I think that this is an issue with every airline. Some people have the best luck, and some have the worst luck. I for one have had very good luck with NWA. They are good at customer service about %70 of the time. But I think this is true for all of the major carriers. They have all made mistakes, they all loose customers due to bad experiences. I think that some people will have a bad experience on a airline like NWA and then they will go to United and have good luck the first few times, but it is bound to happen that you will have a bad day with another carrier. I think the problem is these airlines get so big in size that they get out of hand. Customer service falls apart, they have problems with procedures. Well that is my 2 cents worth.

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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 2:58 am

I love how all the replies to a posting are determined by what the first few replies say.

If the first few had said they like NW....everyone else would have too. Let's stop acting like sheep and get our opinions.

I dont care that this web site is full of a bunch of Northwest haters. The stats and facts from the DOT are in black and white and the AQR 2000 speaks for itself. Northwest is improving and getting better and better at a time when most airlines are staying the same or seeing a decline in operational performance.

All the airline experience severe delays this summer. My point is that out of all the airlines it appeared to me that Northwest had a plan and compensated me well for events such as weather delays that were not the airlines fault. As opposed to United who bumped be from First Class to Coach without compensation, and delayed me on almost every flight this summer and gave me nothing for it. When I called to complain they (United)offered me a 25 discount certificate. Northwest does that for me without me even asking.

As for how much I fly Northwest. I am currently a silver elite on my way to gold elite status. I take them to Europe whenever possible. I am also planning a business trip to Tokyo late this year and Northwest is who I will be flying.

"Most ordinary people who fly around the world would just expect that their flight will be on time and that there would be no problems. " in this era of horrible delays you should never expect your flight to be ontime and free from problems. I have learned that after flying so much this summer.

EyeSky- Northwest has changed a lot since the last time you flew on them. All the planes bar the 727 have brand new interiors (and the 727s will be gone next year).

Anyway, call them "Northworst" until your blue in the face it won't change my opinion. Everytime I have flown them it has been a classy operation. Even in the middle of ground stop at MSP or MEM the staff have been professional and helpful.

One other thing...if you are nice to the person on the other side of the counter there is a really,really good chance they will be nice back to you. "Nice" doesnt mean they will find a way to get you out of Chicago in the middle of a tornado..."Nice" means they will be professional and do the best they can to help you.

From my experience how you walk up to the counter is how you walk away. If you walk up screaming you won't get help and you'll walk away screaming (and humiliating yourself). BUT.....
if you walk up calmly you'll walk away calmly (not to mention other air ragers will see your attitude and follow suite)

Just my 2cents...well more like 4 or 5.
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 4:12 am


While I disagree with you my opinion is mine! I am not merely a sheep who follows anyone's opinions. If you check my profile I am a frequent DTW-LAS flier. Normally I fly ATA charter flights which I find far superior to NWA, I was stuck with NWA not two weeks ago, boarded a dirty 757 crammed my self into a 18" seat and paid $369. When I go with ATA or SY I get the same 18" seat and pay between $99-230US. I will say one thing, you didn't answer my questions (the last one was of course rhetorical).

I am glad you had a good experience with NWA, and I'll admit, for trans-atlantic service they are decent, for service to the Orient, they are great! However getting stuck on a DC-10 for 12 hours is tantamount to torture in my book!

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RE: Northwest Airlines -

Tue Sep 19, 2000 5:01 am


I wasn't trying to change your opinon - I was simply stating mine (that is OK isn't it?). I gave NWA many 2nd chances to win back my business. I was living and working in Japan between 1984 and 1988 and made a couple of dozen trips back to the states during that time. The first year I traveled almost exclusively on NWA. I usually prefer a US carrier, but started flying JAL and KAL when I could because of the terrible service, delays and "attitude" that I experienced on NWA. Pan Am was no prize during those days either and I welcomed UAL's purchase of their Pacific routes, although I ended up coming back to the States before I could fly them.

One NWA flight from LGW to BOS in the early 90's on a DC-10 was a wonderful experience and almost won me back. (I had earlier avoided Pan Am when traveling to the US from Europe for very similar reasons.) The aircraft was clean, the service was excellent, we departed and arrived on time and with all of our luggage. My next 3 flights with NWA however (BOS TPA, TPA-DTW and DTW/NRT) were just plain awful.

I'd like to point out that I never raised my voice to or got nasty with a gate agent, ticket agent, FA or any other NWA personnel that I came in contact with. I'd also like to reiterate that I have had rotten flights on many carriers, but never as consistently as I did with NWA (although EAL came VERY close).

Hey, if NWA is trying to clean up their act, more power to them. Maybe I'll fly them again someday and be very pleasantly surprised. I just won't go out of my way to book a flight with them based on my past experiences.
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 6:33 am

I do applaud NW for cleaning up its act, but its new slogan is strange...

It sounds more like a street-cleaning or a bull=dozer company, or even Merry Maids!

City Street Sweepers -- Clearing the Way

Dozer Destruction -- Clearing the Way


Down with Rising, down with these new slogans! I say revert back to "We love to fly and it shows", "Some people just know how to fly", and "Come fly the friendly skies." All IMHO, of course.
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 9:17 am

I agree. the slogans have gotten worse. but it seems the newer types are here to stay.

It is just nice to see NW taking a direction because they have been without a slogan for a while .

anyway....what i said on the United posting stands. i am not going to bother posting anymore if i cant see people responding with constructive comments.

If you want you may read my other posting about how I feel check under the "United Still Playing The Same Games" posting.


nwa man
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 9:27 am

Disclaimer...I don't work for NW.

Mx5_boy...How cynical can you be? Really, if you have looked at the DOT reports, you will find Northwest at the top of the list in the past year for on time performance. They have the phone card because they admit that they are not perfect. Maybe, in some different universe, on some distant planet, there is an airline that runs 100% on time, with no cancellations, no runway delays, and no accidents whatsoever. Unfortunately, we live on Earth, which has its share of weather problems, and all the machines are not perfect. Imagine you are delayed or your flight is cancelled. Would you rather pay for a long distance call to a relative or have it taken care of by the airline? That's what I thought. So, maybe it's not such a bad idea!


"Open-mindedness is a wonderful thing."
Create your own luck.

RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 10:14 am

NWA Man,

Does this mean you don't respect me? Cynical? Perhaps I added a little sarcasm....

And perhaps the idea of "service recovery" and that of airlines admitting they are basically going to make you late and lose your luggage seems a very odd concept to get a grip on. Only an idiot or someone who has no choice would attempt to fly on them.

Maybe we are just too lucky down under.

nwa man
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 10:36 am

No, Mx5_boy, I respect you, it's just that I disagree with your take on the topic. If you can't avoid the delay, why not make it at least a little better by offering a perk? BTW, Qantas and Ansett aren't perfect either...they cancel flights and delay passengers also. There is no perfect airline right now.

FYI...NW adopted the policy from Continental, another airline at the top of the charts for on time percentage, and an airline widely regarded as one of the best in the world.
Create your own luck.
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 2:54 am

RE: Northwest Airlines -

Tue Sep 19, 2000 11:15 am

To answer your original question, NW's newest slogan is about as corny and non-catchy as it can get. I agree with the person who said it's best suited to a bulldozer firm. "Clearing the Way?" Who thought of that trite b.s.? ...Was it the same tasteless people who thought of DL's newest Aeroflot livery?

Why are these carriers coming up with slogans that seem to admit that they KNOW they've been crappy? ie., United's former "Rising" campaign. Rising from where?

I think NW itself is very "average." No worse than Tower or Delta, but certainly no AA, UA, or CO.
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 11:31 am

I am NW elite and have flown over 50 segments on them so far this year. Living in ATL, I did most of my flying on DL and FL over the last few years, but NW has won my business recently with a combination of good programs (E-Biz Perks, etc..), good fares and exceptional customer service.

I have had my share of problems with every airline ranging from cancellations to diversions to delays to involuntary bumps to lost luggage. Whereas United and Delta and American and TWA always tried to weasel away from helping, I have found that Northwest (both the airport agents as well as the corporate folks) almost always come through and do the right thing - and that their contingency plans for every situation are very thorough, well publicized among their staff and applied consistently to all passengers (not just to those who make a fuss and demand compensation). Yes, this is probably a direct result of the DTW fiasco a few years ago, but my philosophy is that if an airline is willing to learn from their mistakes - good for them!

John Dasburg gets very little credit for the work he has done with NW, but I honestly consider him to be on par if not the superior of Bethune and Branson. NW is a very underappreciated brand in the marketplace, and if it takes corny ad campaigns to rectify the situation, so be it.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 11:32 am

I like Northwest.
This is my opinion and that is it.
Northwest isn't neccessarily BAD, just mediocre. They provide average service,and on some routes the service is better or worse.
Get your patchouli stink outta my store!

RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 11:47 am

I'm fine with Northwest.
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RE: Northwest Airlines -

Tue Sep 19, 2000 12:16 pm

Seven Fifty seven wrote:

"I think NW itself is very "average." No worse than Tower or Delta, but certainly no AA, UA, or CO"

Tower???? How could you put NW or DL in that category???? Tower flew unsafe and unreliable jets across large bodies of water, sometimes not knowing whether they'd come down on a runway or an ocean. Personally, I haven't flown DL (I have heard that they are pretty good), but I fly Northwest at least three to four times a year, and have had no problems in the past two years...Each time I fly with them they seem to be improving, from takeoff (interiors are updated and new planes are coming) to touchdown (on-time record is good now), from check-in to baggage handling....I live in Detroit....I hated Northwest....I watch for these little improvements, and I see them...."Clearing the way" to be #1 at the start of 2002 when the new DTW terminal opens....MSP is already a fine facility (I connected there once), and I don't know about MEM but DTW is getting better and will be first class (at least for NW) once December 2001 rolls around.

Certainly no UA is for sure!!! UA is meddled with labor problems. NWA seems to be on top of their problems at this time anyway....
Go Blue!!
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RE: Northwest Airlines - "Clearing The Way"

Tue Sep 19, 2000 4:02 pm

Thanks guys (for the positive NW comments!!!!)

I view Northwest right now as the same a Continental a few years back. everyone hated them....but they turned around. they didnt do it overnight but it has happened and now they are an industry leader.

Won't that be nice to have an alliance like Northwest/Continental all over the top of the charts! Just wait Northwest haters...in a year or two you'll see what I see now.

p.s i dont work for northwest either I just have very high respect for an airline that continually rolls out the red carpet for me, accepts respobisibilty when they do make a mistake, and then they fix whatever they did wrong. That's what keeps me coming back.

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