A few Northwest observations

I just got off a Northwest flight from Tampa to Detroit, and wanted to post some quick thoughts:

  • I was on a DC9, which is one ancient bird. When I peaked into the cockpit I really thought I was in some aviation museum.
  • All three flight attendants had AFA pins on. For those of you that don’t know, the AFA is the flight attendant union, and I’m guessing this has something to do with Delta, given that their flight attendants aren’t unionized, but Northwest’s are (as of now).
  • There was one old(er) male flight attendant that was sweating like crazy and kept touching his soaking wet hair as he was preparing the drink cart without ever washing his hands. Furthermore, as he dumped out the bucket with the ice from the last flight in the lavatory sink, the ice scooper totally touched the lavatory handle more than once. Eeek! 
  • The seatbelt sign never went off and there was no announcement from the cockpit until just before landing.
  • For dinner in first class they had cold chicken with pasta or a turkey sandwich. I went with the pasta. Back when Northwest was Northwest, they’d have hot food, but this was still pretty tasty and perfectly adequate for a two hour flight.
  • The guy sitting across from me was totally wasted. As we landed he asked me for the time and then asked me where I was connecting to. Eh….? Of course there was more to him being wasted, but I found that to be an odd interaction.


Filed Under: Northwest
  1. Just some facts to complicate your descriptions: The sweat gland evolved from the kidney, thus – sweat is essentially watered-down urine (explains the high salt content, plus the yellow color sweat stains). That being said, just for sensationalist value, 😉 I doubt there exists any real risk of contamination of any sort from touching hair or the lav handle. Yeah, it’s disgusting, but from a medical standpoint, you’re okay.

    Then again – I have no problem walking into a lav with socks. (Honestly – yeah, it’s a bit gross, but fresh urine is completely sterile, contains no bacteria, and if one steps in it, the worst one encounters is bacteria producing nitrogen and ammonia in breaking it down). But – then again – I’m trying to become an ER physician, and this stuff doesn’t really scare me 😉

    I hoped you enjoyed the DC-9. I flew on two for college visits senior of high school from DTW – CMH. Loved it.

  2. Ben, I’m confused. You’ve stated in previous posts that you never pay for premium cabins, so I assume yu used some sort of upgrade. This leaves me wondering exactly how many miles you fly per year across all airlines? This is an incredible hobby you have. I hope you get a book deal out of it!

  3. I read some previous posts and saw that you are Northwest Platinum. I’m still left wondering the total miles you travel per year (not including status or cabin bonuses, or promotions). Incredible!

  4. “The seatbelt sign never went off and there was no announcement from the cockpit until just before landing. ”

    I had my first trip on NW in a while a couple of weeks ago and noticed the exact same thing. I wasn’t paying much attention, but think we did all (or 90%+) of a SEA-MSP leg with the seat belt sign on. What’s the point?

  5. What was odd about a guy asking you for the time (presumably for his own purposes/connection) and then asking you (presumably just to make conversation and show interest in your situation) if you were connecting?

  6. @ Gray — LMAO! Not sure what to say, hah…

    @ Despina — I travel about 200-250K a year. Northwest is really my secondary airline, but I fly them relatively infrequently. I status matched to them late last year so the status is good through February.

    @ gba — Yeah, it really eliminates the purpose of the seatbelt sign. I did notice, however, that the flight attendants didn’t remind passengers that the seatbelt sign was on when they got up, unlike at United.

    @ Sinep — Well, he was sitting across the aisle from me and as we’re taxiing in and I’m clearly on my cellphone listening to messages and reading texts he starts a conversation with me. That’s not usually how it works in my experience, and the fact that he was plastered didn’t make me any more interested in talking to him.

  7. I think that Northwest flight attendant’s were much more professional, and kind. Delta flight attendant’s are rude and lazy! I can always tell flight attendant’s that were Northwest, they are more professional. Delta is a lousy operation! Late, inconsistant, and chaotic! I miss the old Northwest!
    John R.

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