Thursday, June 30, 2005

NWA giving extra miles...

Got two letters from NWA without even making a wavelet. Each letter apologizes for delays in flights we were waiting for, and each letter awards frequent flyer miles as a gesture of good will. Kudos NWA.

NWA and iAir...

After flying Northwest a couple of weeks ago, let me compare it with Independence Air. Now NWA has been my "vehicle of choice" for flying for some time now. Decades in fact. I have frequent flyer miles. Well, on iAir, after your flight is delayed and you finally take off - you are offered extra snacks and maybe even free bevies of the alcoholic type - one per person. On NWA, you are reminded that trailmix snacks are a dollar and to have that ready when your attendant gets to you. Sigh. They do offer the free granola bars...specially made to taste like a miniscule bit of cardboard, and then there are sometimes free twisty pretzels which aren't so bad a mouthful.

With NWA, you wait in the gate and the gate gets changed so you bag-drag it down to another concourse. You then wait and wait and information is leaked to you, the passengers, only when absolutely necessary, and then you realize the staff themselves are being left in the cloud of unknowing. On iAir they update you every 5-10 minutes even when they don't know any more than they did before. This gives the passenger at least the idea that they know you are there.

It would really cut down on passengers getting all hot and bothered and harassing the staff if the passengers were told more and more often. Even a "We are sorry for the delay and we haven't heard anything more, but we will sure let you know as soon as we know!" would defuse the anxiety level I saw building around me in the airports in June. Independence Air has that approach, but NWA is giving the impression that they don't know and can't cope. When your flight is delayed to the point that you know and they know that you aren't getting to your destination the same day - they should let you know before you hit the airport in between that they have arranged for hotels and transportation. To have to know to go to the counter and wait and ask and grope around for the right place to do all this - well, passengers get mad, they get hostile and they frequently publicize these feelings.