I promised a trip report in some thread I posted in, and since I have time now, and dont want to forget details, I may as well fill everyone in! My first one!
Flt 1512 RNO-MSP Depart- 6.40 am
I left on this A320 early in the morning, after booking the flight not 8 hours earlier. NW and AA were my two choices, though the AA flight would have gone via DFW and gotten me into MKE too late, especially as I have to travel an hour north to my hometown. The late ticketing was due to death of a family member, so I was headed back for the funeral, and made up my mind at the last minute. NW offered a competitive fare (under $400- almost what I would pay under normal circumstances from RNO to anywhere east of the Mississippi River I think) and good times, so I opted for them, though not without some hesitation.
This flight was fairly open, and I was confronted at the airport with the checkin kiosks for the first time. The NW people were very helpful though, especially the guy running the tags for luggage- he was funny and very laid back and for 5.45 in the morning, thats a rather good accomplishment! Checked in smoothly to MKE, and got the luggage through the screener and on my way to the gate.
The flight was uneventful, we boarded on time, and took off on time to climb through the low-hanging clouds in the valley here to a gorgeous sight of mountain peaks sticking up through the low clouds and the sun just coming up. A smooth flight and I was able to doze off a little bit, and we had a hell of a tailwind as we pulled in to MSP (C6 I think) after 2h15 flight time. The flight attendants were kind and efficient, with an emphasis on efficient! Perhaps not the youngest in the industry, or the mm, most svelte to be diplomatic, but I would trust them to get me out of burning wreckage without hesitation. They were still smiling however, on an early flight whilst dishing out pretzels and drinks. THe plane itself was clean and didnt smell like plane at all, which is nice for NW because i have always associated that DC9 smell with NW as a whole.
My MSP layover was a bit of a treat as I hadnt been in that airport in a long long time (10-12 years). I phoned a friend who is a NW employee as I pulled into the gate since he had no idea I was in town at all. He pulled some pants on and came to meet me and, since he was headed to Iowa two hours after me, checked in for his flight and took me to the World Club in C concourse. I had never been before, but it was quite nice, I suppose I can understand why people enjoy that amenity. We caught up with each other and had a rather large shot of whiskey together (hey, we did grad school together- in honour of many late nights!) and he walked me to my gate- C4- for the flight for MKE
19 February Flt 1276 MSP-MKE Depart 11.58 am
I boarded quite late for this flight after giving my friend a hug, and to my dismay found the flight absolutely heaving with people. To be expected for sure to MKE, but wow. It was a good thing Id had a drink because my seat was smack in the middle of about 6 kids all under the age of 7 seated around me. I believe this was either an A320 or an A319. Again, good flight attendants- capable, though perhaps with a bit of reserve. MKE is a quick flight, only 45 minutes or so, but they tried their damndest to get service to everyone in the plane, though they had to stop about row 22 I believe. Comfortable enough I suppose, for the number of people- clean plane and they got us there early. My bags eventually came down the carousel in MKE and off I went with my family.
Tuesday 22 Feb Flt 107/1955 MKE-MSP Depart 6.20pm/4.30 pm
On my return I tried to make an earlier flight after chatting wtih my MSP friend who wanted to show me his new house and go out to dinner. Scheduled for the 6.20 pm flight, my little shuttle van, picking me up early and somehow getting me to the airport through MKE traffic early, I was able to get on the 4.30 flight just in the nick of time. I found a CS agent as I came in the airport and asked her to help me get on the earlier flight, which she did efficiently at the ticket kiosk. Apparently had i been 2 minutes later I would have missed going standby on that flight, though there was time for sure. Points to the CS agent for helping me, some other guy was having difficulty and she rather ignored him to deal with my pressing matter first, even when she misunderstood that I was going on to RNO and just wanted a longer layover in MSP.
The MKE-MSP flight was on a good ole DC9 though, and I forgot how loud those monsters are in flight. Comfy airplane though, I had a row to myself and it was perhaps 80% full. Uneventful flight, pretty much the same service I had received on previous flights. The plane, however, definitely had the -9 smell i remember as a kid!
Landed on time in MSP and I headed out for a few hours with my friends.
22 February Flt 1507 MSP-RNO Depart 9.27 pm
Again i boarded on final call and again, to my dismay, saw an absolutely packed flight. Understandable as there are only two flights a day to RNO, but oh my god. I had realized en route to the airport that I had pulled seat 9B and it was too late to change it at the counter. Aircraft was an A320 I believe. So I took my assigned spot in the center seat next to two nice gentlemen whom I spoke with a little before trying to sleep on the way. I felt bad for the man on my right as he hadnt had any dinner and there wasnt any BOB service on that flight. He also asked for a pillow. The flight attendant though was joking with him in a rather fun manner- she tried to be kind with what she had by offering him the whole can of soda and extra pretzels and joking about the lack of pillows and the ability to roll up a coat... hey, she tried to alleviate the situation the best way she knew how. He wasnt very grumbly, most likely as he was from northern MN and was stuck flying NW all the time anyway. Another uneventful flight in to RNO, took aboutu 3:10. We landed and then the baggage claim took forEVER. I dont know what it is about RNO, but HONESTLY 45 minutes for my luggage? The only other flights were a WN that came in just before us and a Skywest. Unreal- i dont know if its because they only had one crew working or because of all the skis they have to unload but it was simply amazing at the slowness. This isnt the only time weve had that problem at RNO either.
So that is my trip, I suppose its not much to report really, I was prepared to hate NW, but was pleasantly surprised by the staff and the aircraft. They got me from A to B to C in a timely manner and with my baggage, and were able to help me when I needed help and without grumbling. I should note that I am from the Midwest originally and perhaps have many of the same character traits that their staff have as well- a firmness and perhaps perceived as a lack of warmth- that others may find off-putting. Instead I found this rather comforting, it was like flying with my aunts or uncles or the guy down the street back home.
As a whole, a pleasant experience, though definitely not anything out of the ordinary. I would take NW again.