In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Breaking Up with Northwest Airlines

At one time, I was a very dedicated Northwest traveler. I live in Minneapolis, and Northwest commands at least 80% of the flights that leave from here. Their monopoly made it difficult to NOT be a Northwest traveler.

When my other half moved to Minneapolis, he traveled a lot for his work. He was always on a Northwest flight. After a short year or two, he moved up to the upper echelons of Northwest travelers. He earned the coveted Gold Elite flight status. His work also paid for a membership in the Northwest World Club. When we would travel together, we would "hang out" in the World Club Lounge. We'd get free food and free drinks (note t0 self: an open bar does not mean it is your last night on earth). Then, we'd walk to the gate.

Here's where one of the snags comes in. My other half was frequently bumped up to first class. His companion was often not. We would often have to fly separately.

This experience left me a little jealous. However, I was soon traveling a lot for my own work. It was not quite to the level that he was traveling, but it was something. I even got myself to a Silver Elite level on year. Then, I was getting bumped up a little more frequently to first class. Let me tell you, it's hard going back to coach after you've experienced food and attentive flight crew in first class! Some of you know what I'm talking about.

However, Northwest Airlines has not been faring too well for the past couple of years. about 18 months ago, their mechanics went on strike. Right after that, Northwest filed for bankruptcy. I'd like to think that there problems were the result of these hardships, but I'm finding that it was happening long before then.

Because we both flew a lot, we racked up a lot of frequent flier miles. We still get quite a few. However, it is becoming harder and harder to use those miles. There are many restrictions, and the available dates are few and far between. We now plan to use those miles at least 6 months in advance. Frequent flier miles are a wonderful perk that keep your customers loyal, but the harder it is to use them, the more tempted I am to move to another carrier...any other carrier that will just let us fly in peace.

Moving to another airline is difficult. Again, Northwest is often our only option for travel. Other flight schedules are pretty restrictive. What's a guy to do.

So I find myself going back to Northwest, even after I feel that I've been treated poorly. What can end this dysfunctional relationship?


Blogger mark said...

stop flying!

ok... probably not the most helpful option...

3:19 PM  

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