Unfortunately, my Grandpa’s health has taken a “turn for the worst”. I live in Iowa City, Iowa and my mom lives in Muscatine (not too far away). Grandpa lives in Minneapolis, and mom wanted to get there as soon as possible. A car trip would take approx 6 hours, and she didn’t really want to drive it. So, she decreed that we would fly.
I took care of the travel plans so she wouldn’t have that to worry about. We found this out on Tuesday night, and we wanted to leave on Thursday morning. I was expecting to pay over $1000 for the total of both of our tickets for this flight (MLI or CID – MSP).
Somehow, the revenue management Gods smiled upon me, and I was able to find a $213/person roundtrip from MLI-MSP on Northwest. The nearest to this was $475/person.
My mom hasn’t flown since I was in 4th grade, and that was the era when 727’s were used on flights like MLI-AND CURRENT: Denver - International (DEN / KDEN), USA - Colorado">DEN. The last flight she was on was a UA DC-10 from SFO-ORD in the summer of 1992. So this was gonna be a change for her.
She was shocked to find out that we wouldn’t be getting boarding passes mailed to us for the flight. She was also shocked to find out that we could check in for our flight the night before AND print out our own boarding passes.
December 22, 2005
Northwest Airlink (operated by Pinnacle) 3344
Scheduled Departure: 7:00am
Scheduled Arrival: 8:17am
We arrived at MLI at 6:20 am, courtesy of step-father. My mom was stunned by the line at the NW ticket counter. I promptly dragged her with me to the security checkpoint explaining to her that we didn’t need to check in and we didn’t need to check luggage because we could gate check them (or as NWA called it, ‘valet check’). So we went and passed through security with ease. I went first to show her the proper procedures, taking out my laptop for them and placing it in the tray, removing everything from my pockets, etc…
She and I sat by the gate, waiting for them to start boarding. They didn’t initiate boarding until 6:50am or so, and finally we made our way onto the plane. I sat in seat 7D, and she in 7C.
I must say, I was not impressed at all with the seating on this CRJ. Holy cow, that was the most cramped seat I have ever been on. The only other rj’s I’ve been on have been on Air Whisky and Skywest, and for some reason I don’t remember those being nearly this bad.
Anyway, we sat at the gate for awhile to get a quick “squirt” of De-Icing fluid. We finally departed MLI around 7:20am.
The flight itself was fine. Our F/A was decent, but she had these disgusting long fingernails that looked really unsanitary as well as awful. I had an apple juice and mom decided to forgo the beverage service.
Mom was a little bit nervous throughout the whole flight. Every time she felt the slightest bump she would ask “why are we getting turbulence, there aren’t any clouds outside!”
Haha. It was kind of annoying after awhile, but I tried to be patient, knowing my mom hadn’t flown on an airliner in over 10 years.
Our landing into MSP was normal, to the southwest (I think we were on 25L…I could look it up but I’m exhausted). We taxied past all the red tails and finally found our gate…only to wait there 10 mins while they found someone to park us. By this time my back was aching and my legs were about to fall off. I had never felt more ready to get off an airplane, even after my transatlantic flights.
Actual Departure: 7:20am
Actual Arrival: 8:41am
I can honestly say that I will do whatever I can to avoid NW regional aircraft from now on. That was the most uncomfortable I have ever been on an aircraft. I am grateful that the flight was open and for such a cheap fare, so I will not complain anymore.
But, it was a sad day to fly an airplane for me. Grandpa has 24-48 hours to live
In any case, I am going back out to MSP in an hour or so (11:00pm…it’s been a long ass day) with my uncle John to pick up my uncle Tom, flying in from SFO via LAS on America West. He was delayed a few hours in SFO, but luckily his AWE 694 out of LAS was also delayed, so he was able to make it on board. Not sure if we’re flying back on our return trip or not, step dad is probably driving up next week and we’ll probably drive back with him.
Hope everyone has a merrier Christmas than I am having. :/