Hi, everyone. Here is the trip report from my recent trip to Germany, OMA
and back. There are no pictures because they were too big to fit on my profile, so just try to imagine some totally awesome pictures that would be included as you read. I will also be comparing them to Delta along the way, with results at the end. Here goes:
NWA 5865, 6-15-08, OMA
The first leg of the trip was flown on a CRJ-440, N8611A. Departure was scheduled for 10:05 AM
, but due to a weather system near Detroit, the plane came about 20 minutes late and the flight was delayed till about 10:40. Eventually though, the gate agent began the boarding process and my family headed down the jetway at gate A1. What a crapbox that CRJ was! The floor was extemely dirty, with ancient black gum patties
and snack crumbs everywhere. Going to my seat, 5D, I nearly whacked my head on the cabin ceiling, and I am only 5' 5". After I got to my seat, and having found that my backpack didn't fit under the seat very well, I attempted to look out the window a little bit. This was extremely difficult due to the fact that the windows on these early CRJs are at approximately shoulder height. Fortunately it wasn't long until we departed. As we rolled onto the runway, I was totally unprepared for what ws to come next. Two girls in row 6 across the aisle began making totally ridiculous observations about the plane ("Look Mommy, I can see the wing!!!!). This continued through most of the flight. In addition, they repeatedly dropped there tray tables and banged on them incessantly. Oh well, I guess you can't blame Pinnacle for that, but it did seem a little bit ironic that there was a letter from the CEO saying they "strove to provide comfortable and convenient air service in a clean and welcoming environment" or something like that. There was some considerable turbulence near Detroit, and the captain even had to stop his announcement to focus on flying the plane! Eventually we arrived in Detroit around 1:25 PM
and pulled up to gate B28. Thank God!
Layover in DTW
Our layover waiting for flight 52 to FRA
to depart began with an 'interesting' walk to the McNamara terminal throught the underground tunnel with all the lights and weird music. Actually, on the way up to terminal A, we met a friend of my mother's who was headed back to Omaha. After checking for information on the monitors (there was none until the LH
flight to FRA
left), we went to find lunch at Chili's. After that, I tried to take some pictures of NWA planes near the gates, but the friggin' windows have these little black dots all over them, rendering my camera useless. So we rode the tram up and down the terminal for a while before we happened upon some dot-free windows at the high-numbered end of the terminal. I got the impression that the tram was only there because someone wanted to say that they had one. It was pretty useless since it was contained in only one terminal. So it was kind of a relief when the boarding call came for our flight to Frankfurt.
NWA 52: DTW
Boarding for this flight began right around 4:45 for the 5:35 departure from A56. We were seated in row 30, with me in 30H. Almost immediately I discovered that there was virtually no under-seat room because of the AVOD unit. Also, when going to retrieve something from my mom's backpack, I realized how ill-proportioned the A330 is. Speaking of which, the plane was A330-323X N821NW. The bins in the middle don't swing down like they do on Delta's 767-300s, making it very hard to reach anything. Eventually, I got situated and looked out the window for a while while my mom and other passengers conversed with the flight attendant. My mom just had
to tell her that I had been learning some German for our trip, so every time she came by with water or a snack, she asked in German that I didn't understand. Once the AVOD started, I listened to some of the music before watching Cars
. At one point during the movie, the system went down, saying it had to reboot 3/4 of the way through. Luckily I found my place again and waited for the dinner service. It consisted of a choice of chicken with steamed vegetables and rice or penne pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. I asked for the chicken, but I got some pasta from my brother. Both were pretty good. Service was somewhat lackluster, however (Ya want or pasta? Here ya go). It never really got dark any of the way over, so I stayed awake almost the whole time, occupying myself with Bejeweled and my iPod. Because of a glitch, some game selections were unavailable, so the variety was pretty limited. At one point I decided to go get some water from the lavatory sink (it must have been the jet lag, I wasn't thinking straight), but when I found that it was a cloudy greyish-white, I decided it was probably not a good idea. Only then did I notice the sign that said there was no potable water. About an hour-and-a-half from landing, the breakfast ws served. It was NW
's version of an Egg McMuffin, complete with th NWA logo engraved on the top. i enjoyed the breakfast I got on Delta in 2005 much better; it was a bread roll with strawberry jam, yougurt, and ham. Shortly after, the AVOD ended, and we began to turn toward the airport. we landed early at about 7:35 AM
as opposed to the scheduled 7:50. Passport control was a breeze, except for the long walk from our gate. So began my amazing 3 1/2 week trip in Germany.
NWA 51: FRA
Well, the weeks had flown by and before I knew it, it was time to head home. While we waited with my grandparents at the check-in line in Frankfurt, I searched for airline tags for my collection. I came away with only two, including one you could never find EVER in the US: Yemenia, and the more common Iberia. After check-in, we headed for the gate on the upper level of Terminal 1. After a brief check we passed through Customs but were held up because the agent wanted to inspect my brother's toy. This didn't take long, and we proceeded to the gate, and I did some spotting while we waited, including an Uzbekistan A310 and the AC
Free Spirit 763. I also saw the DL
757 flight from New York come in. Originally I had supported the idea of taking it, but I was overruled. Boarding was completed on time, but after a short wait, the captain made a somewhat cryptic announcement about takeoff slots and our delayed departure. Eventually, our plane, N818NW, pushed back at 11:15 AM
instead of the scheduled 10:40. As we turned toward the ocean, AVOD programming began, and I busied myself in the trivia game, which I won several times. We had some extremely nice flight attendant sitting near us, who helped my disabled brother back from the lavatory in some turbulence. About midway through, lunch was served, a choice of cheese-stuffed bowtie pasta with alfredo sauce or chicken with veggies and rice, just like on the way over. The service was better this time, and the crew seemed a lot friendlier and more appreciative of their job and assignment. I opted for the pasta, which was surprisingly tasty. Due to a storm system over the North Atlantic, we took a faaaaaar north route over north-central Greenland and the top of Newfoundland. We enjoyed a stunning cloudless descent over northeastern Canada, eventually coming in over northeastern Michigan and into Detroit, where we landed at about 1:35 PM
Another Layover in DTW
This was taken up mostly by going through Customs and all that. Passport control was remarkably civiilzed with at least 30 different lanes, making the lines relatively short. Luggage retrieval was a little more challenging, since 51's baggage was spread out over two carousels along with a Lufthansa flight and a flight from Paris. After we got our bags, we moved on to the re-check-in area. We simply dropped our bags by a scanner and headed over to the security screening station. We took the escalator upstairs, and walked to terminal C, where our flight to Omaha was to leave from.
NWA 5866: DTW
This flight was operated on another CRJ-440, N8389A. At first we were unsure because two different times were posted, but it left at 3:37 PM
from C10, giving us a little more time to get to that gate and buy some huge drinks compared to the 0.1 L things in Germany. Boarding was completed quickly, and the flight left right on time. This plane was a lot cleaner than the one on the previous flight, though there was forehead gease all over the window. Service was slim, consisting of drinks only, unless you forked over $3. The flight was clear almost the whole way, with virtually no turbulence. So I took the opprtunity to sleep a little bit, which felt great because of the time change. I woke up just in time for the descent into Omaha. As we approached, we came pretty close to the Council Bluffs airport before banking to the left for a landing on runway 14R in a blazing hot Omaha, arriving at about 5:15 PM
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience with Northwest and Pinnacle, with the exception of a few details like the oversized A330 cabin and other things like that. In terms of overall comfort, Delta wins on the transatlantic section, with seats that reclined more and were generally more comfortable. On the other hand, entertainment earns NW
points because last time, there was no AVOD or anything like that on Delta. Delta's service was also better.
Crew Friendliness: 8/10
So... that comes to 28/40. Not to sound mean, but I am not totally disappointed that Delta will take them over.
I hope you liked it! Thanks for reading.