ST. PAUL, MICHIGAN -- I am writing concerning travel that occurred on Thursday, August 20th, 2009. I booked flights for my two children, and their significant others, on Northwest Airlines on March 28th, 2009. I booked the flights far in advance to ensure that they could all attend their step-sister's wedding and all of the activities associated with the wedding in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Their Flight numbers are as follows: Thursday August 20th, 2009 Flight: NW 1178, Departs St. Louis-Lambert Int'l, MO (STL) at 10:10AM Arrives Detroit-Wayne County Int'l, MI (DTW) at 12:50PM. Thursday August 20th, 2009 Flight: NW3863, Departs Detroit-Wayne County Int'l, MI (DTW) at 1:30PM Arrives Bangor-Int'l, ME (BGR) at 3:32 PM.
The problem comes in with the airlines. Flight # NW1178 left (STL) and landed at DTW at 12:54 PM on August 20th. They were on the ground. We were tracking the flight status because we were picking them up at Bangor Int'l Airport. They had to wait to get a gate. They all four of them plus 3 additional passengers arrived at their connecting flight before the plane left and at least several minutes before the scheduled departure time. They would not let any of them board the plane.
The airline was aware that their flight was on the ground and should have ensured that all of the passengers made their connection. It was not bad weather it was no act of god, it was simple inefficiency and lack of customer care. Instead none of them were allowed to get on the plane. There are limited options to get to Bangor, Maine.
The result was that they could not get on another flight until the next day, 24 hours and the same flight. However, Northwest Airlines did put their luggage on that flight. Now they are captive in Detroit with no luggage. Northwest said they were not responsible for paying for their hotel, and for the four of them, gave them 100.00 in Airport vouchers for food and told them that they could stay for free at the airport.
Meanwhile back in Bar Harbor, Maine. They missed a family get together on Thursday evening, August 20th. Additionally they missed the family whale watching expedition the next morning. There were two rooms reserved for them in Bar Harbor, Maine, which also were not occupied. I cannot tell you how disappointing it was to not have them arrive on schedule.
These plans were made for a long time, and we had been looking forward to having all five of our children and their spouses and significant others together for a long weekend. Our children live all over the country and it is not often that they are all together, so this was especially difficult. If bad weather had been the problem, that is something not under the control of Northwest Airlines. Ensuring passengers made their connections when the flight is on the ground is under the control of Northwest Airlines.
I made the reservations almost five months in advance yet Northwest must have given their seats to other passengers instead of allowing them to get on the plane which was still on the ground and did not depart the gate for at least 15 additional minutes. Otherwise there was no reason for them not to get on that plane as I mentioned their luggage was put on the plane so that tells you there was ample time for them to get on that plane. I expect restitution from Northwest Airlines for this total lack of basic customer service. They were not even treated kindly at the gate and were pretty much told there was nothing they could do about it.
There is something Northwest Airlines can do and that is refund the cost of the tickets. The Airline did not deliver the service that was expected and therefore I expect that at the very least. There is no price that can be put on the fact that they missed out on 24 hours of this special weekend.
Let me contrast this to an experience that My husband and I had with Northwest early on a Saturday morning, October 27th, 2007. We were flying from St. Louis to Chicago and then on to Ottawa, Canada. Our flight in St. Louis left over an hour late due to a flight attendant being ill, and they had to get a replacement for her. By the time we landed in Chicago, we only had 10 minutes to make it to another terminal across the tarmac to get to our next flight. They held the flight, when we arrived at the gate they said you must be the **. I don't understand why the same courtesy was not extended to my children. It was a much more significant trip and had lasting results.
Northwest Airlines needs to understand that this type of customer treatment and lack of care has long reaching effects. The airline should always strive to ensure that passengers make their connections if their flights are on the ground in time. There is no reason for this type of treatment. I called Customer Service and was treated rudely again, the customer service representative would not let me finish explaining my complaint. I did get upset and he hung up the phone. Distressed customer.
LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS -- I would like to report my experience and concerns about what happened after Northwest flight 293 landed at 8:56pm in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 28, 2009. After waiting for our bags for more than 30 minutes I and 20-30 other passengers were told by a Northwest baggage handler at 9:40pm that there were no more bags coming. That person instructed us to go to the Northwest ticket counter to file lost baggage claims. For some reason Northwest Airlines has no lost baggage office at the Little Rock Airport.
Our large group left the baggage carousel and proceeded to the NWA ticket counter. When we got to the counter no NWA employees were present. After abut 15 minutes of waiting, many passengers grew agitated and restless, and they left the line to try to find someone to help. Some mentioned that lost baggage claims must be made before a passenger leaves the airport.
My wife left me in line and went to the Little Rock Airport customer care counter, and she asked the airport employee to page someone from Northwest Airlines to go to the ticket counter. That person spoke with someone by phone and reported to my wife that the Northwest employees “were cleaning the plane and would be at the ticket counter in about 10 minutes”. That was at 10:05pm. I was still standing in line at the Northwest ticket counter when my wife came back and told me what the airport customer care person had said. At that point we had all waited about 30 minutes for a Northwest employee to make an appearance, but no one came.
After about 45 minutes of waiting many passengers had left, but some passengers became so irritated that they went behind the Northwest ticket counter and began rifling through papers, using the computer, opening drawers, removing items and looking behind the ticket counter's baggage conveyor into a room, all in an effort to get some help or perhaps vent frustration. There were Continental and US Air ticket counter people present who had to have seen this group of people breaching security but they ignored the situation.
I felt threatened and nervous about this activity, so I asked my wife to look for airport security or the police. She left the line and walked all parts of the airport that she had access to inside and out. There was a Little Rock Police Car parked at the front of the airport but no officer was in it.
My wife finally contacted the same customer care person that she had spoken to earlier, and pleaded with her that there was a security breach and near riot going on at the NWA ticket counter and said “someone needs to get down there immediately”. The customer care person said that she would contact the airport manager again, and that he would contact the NWA employees who were cleaning the plane one more time and ask them to go to the counter.
I was the second person waiting in line that evening, and I finally left at 10:40pm after waiting in line for an hour. During that hour no NWA employees, no Little Rock police and no airport manager ever came to the counter. Some of the passengers were still rifling through things behind the counter, and one of the men when told that he might get arrested for what he was doing said that he didn't care, and that he might break everything back there before he left.
I arrived home about 11:15pm, and I tried to call NWA customer service at 1800-225-2525. I waited on hold for nearly ½ hour and finally gave up. On Sunday morning I called another number on your website (800-745-9798) where I reached a real person. I briefly explained the situation and wanted to know what to do about reporting the lost checked bag. That NWA person said that I would have to go back to the airport to fill out a lost bag claim. I asked for the telephone number for the NWA counter at Little Rock Airport and the customer service person said that she wasn't allowed to give that number to me.
I asked her to call the counter at Little Rock Airport had have someone call me. She said that she couldn't do that either. I asked her again to please help me, and she said that without a lost bag claim number there was nothing she could do. She said, “sir, I am in Minnesota. What do you think I can possibly do to help you retrieve your bag in Little Rock without a claim number?” With that remark I ended the call. I received my checked bag two days later.
RALEIGN, NORTH CAROLINA -- On August 15, 2008 I was at Erie International Airport going through the TSA checkpoint where I was stopped and directed to check my bag into NWA luggage due to liquids/hair gel in my bag. They started the boarding process for my flight to Detroit (layover) so I hurried and ran to the ticket counter, good thing Erie is such a small airport. I hurriedly checked my bag and ran to TSA and then to the gate to catch my flight (NW 5818).
I arrived in Raleigh and headed directly to the baggage claim. I was standing where the bags come out since I was in a hurry to catch my ride to my destination. As my bag came out, I saw it was opened and immediately panicked because I remembered that my digital camera was in there. I then searched my bag and the camera was not inside my bag. I headed directly to the Northwest baggage office where I spoke with **.
I walked into the office and explained to her that my bag was opened and that my camera has been taken out of my bag. She in return stated “what do you want me to do about it?” I was a little drawn back by her statement and then asked her to take a claim for me. She stated that I did not have a right to file a claim because it was an “electronic item and Northwest is not responsible”.
I then told her that she needs to take a claim because one of their employees went through my bag, no TSA card was in there to show my bag was randomly searched and my camera was gone. I continued to explain that I only fly with Northwest and am a loyal customer and would like some assistance. She stated back to me, “Then go fly a different airline, I am not responsible for this”. I was now starting to get upset and told her I will just call customer service. She told me to go ahead; she did not care because they would tell me the same thing.
I called customer service on the way to Durham and they apologized on how I was treated, she (** agent sign ME) asked if she could place me on hold while she spoke with her manager, I told her that it would not be a problem. After she returned, she told me that I needed to go back to the airport and tell the lady there that I was to file a claim and she was to take the claim. She told me that Northwest would take care of this problem since I am a loyal customer. I explained that I had to be somewhere and if I could go back to the airport tomorrow, ** stated that would not be a problem.
The following day, August 16, 2008, after my appointment in Durham, I pursued back to the airport, to my luck, the same generous lady ** was working. I went over the conversation that I had with customer service. ** then reached in her desk and read a pamphlet to me as if I were in Kindergarten stating that Northwest is not responsible.
I replied, “I do not care what it says, customer service stated I am to file a claim and it will be handled, start typing.” She then started to take the claim and said she will deny it as soon as it is filed. She then asked for my baggage tag which I did not know I needed to have, she told me, “oh well come back tomorrow then with it.” I told her my flight was at 8:50 AM and I will be here at 6:30 AM to do so.
I came back the following day at 6:45 AM to file my claim and then to catch my flight to return home. There was a different lady working that morning, I am not sure on her name but she was a younger Arab lady. I explained the whole situation as well as the experience that I have had so far with Northwest over this mishap. She then refused to take a claim and said that I would be able to fill out a lost and found card.
I was now on my last nerve with rude customer service. I told her that it's not a lost or found issue, my camera was stolen by your baggage employee and probably at the employee's house most likely on eBay by now. I then told her that customer service said I was to file a claim and to do so. She came back with, “You only had 24hrs to file“, and I explained that I have been trying to file it for a day and a half now.
Finally she got fed up and said she is calling her manager and I asked her to please do so. Her manager then told her she is to take the claim. I finally filed the claim and left to go catch my flight. As I was leaving she said they will not be able to do anything on the claim division end, I ignored her and walked on. WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER and told me that they will not replace my camera that an employee stole!
DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- I would like to take this opportunity to add to the growing list of dissatisfied customers who have had negative experiences with Northwest Airlines. I hope that eventually enough of us will complain and this organization will be forced to address their lack of business ethics.
Almost a year my husband and I flew on Northwest Airlines. I admit to having been uncomfortable about flying with this airline due to the recent strike but the time constraints on our trip made this our best option. Our flight to the wedding near Cleveland was great. We were returning from the event on a Sunday.
After leaving the Cleveland airport we landed at Detroit. My husband and I were the last ones off the plane. As I passed the Gate directly in front of the deboarding tunnel I realized I had left my purse on the plane stowed under the seat in front of where I had been seated. I informed the attendant at the Gate who informed me that when the plane was checked the purse would be returned. She did not go to check the plane.
Sometime later I was informed the purse was not on the plane. I insisted I had left the purse stowed under the seat but the employees insinuated that I must have left it behind at the prior airport. We had another flight to catch so I filed a claim with the airport police and he gave me the phone number of lost and found in Detroit.
During the next few days I called lost and found at both airports, the luggage desks at both airports, the Gates at both airports and emailed to NWA reporting the loss. The purse had not turned up anywhere. By Wednesday I was sure that I had left the purse on the plane but I could not get through to anyone in authority to tell them what had happened.
The people I talked to made the assumption that I had left the purse in the prior airport and that it would turn up there. The kicker came on Thursday when a package was delivered to my home from Detroit with an odd anonymous note and no return address. The only plausible explanation is that someone with access to the plane stole my purse. The purse was not left at the prior airport. My purse was on the plane in Detroit when it was stolen. Between the time I departed the plane and when the plane was checked an employee stole my purse.
I have faxed, emailed, attempted to telephone this company and I have received responses which indicate that the airline will take no responsibility for the theft. I am certain this is what the thief was depending on. Northwest Airline cannot admit to even the possibility of a theft because that would open up a Pandora's Box.
It is very disconcerting that it was this simple to commit a crime on a passenger. I can't help but wonder how easy it might be to get something on the plane. It is unbelievable that at the very least this organization would not initiate some type of legitimate investigation. I am sure that the brazenness of this theft will only embolden this employee. There are no safeguards for the passenger on this airline. Beware!
TOELDO, OHIO -- I have been traveling Northwest Airlines almost exclusively for 8 years. I have earned elite status in almost every year, 1 year traveling enough to earn platinum status. By all definitions, I have been a loyal customer. For two years (2005 and 2006), I had a job that did not require me to travel often. I travelled approximately 12,000 to 14,000 miles in those years. In April of 2007, my job changed and I logged 46,500 miles on Northwest from the last week in March until the end of December. In order to be considered for gold elite status, you must travel 50,000 miles in a calendar year.
Because the airline recognized my history by awarding silver elite status in the years I travelled infrequently, I didn't think I would have any problem making a case for gold status in 2008. After all, in 9 months, I travelled at a level that was very consistent with a gold traveler. I made my request, mentioned the two trips that I have already purchased tickets for in January, and informed Northwest that these two trips would put me in excess of 50,000 miles in a 10 month time frame.
To their credit, Northwest responded quickly. The first response informed me about an exciting opportunity to earn gold status by flying 5 round trips in certain fare classes in the first 90 days of 2008. Of course that would be great if I ever flew in those fare classes.
When I responded that would not help me and that my company would not be willing to pay more for a ticket so I could have a particular fare class, I got a "we make no exceptions" response. I was told that the only way to earn gold elite status is to fly the right number of miles in a CALENDAR year, not just in a 12-month timeframe. This seems crazy to me and their "no exceptions" response is insulting. I know they must get many requests and I wouldn't expect them to grant all of them. I certainly didn't expect (or request) the silver status they gave me in the years I didn't travel much.
My final response to them has been sent. In that response I pointed out that they were willing to make exceptions when I didn't travel often and didn't request it but wouldn't consider a request when I was actually giving them a lot of business. That seems backwards to me. I also have made two offers to discuss this and my other concerns about Northwest customer service with anyone who is interested. I included my phone number each time.
After the last response from Northwest, I contacted another airline that flies the routes that I travel most frequently. If they are willing to grant me status in their frequent traveler program, I will be switching my business. My husband is also a gold level traveler (was platinum last year) and he is also considering making a switch based on Northwest customer service.
Northwest has disappointed me for some time with the level of service they provide in flight and the nickel and dime approach to amenities. When I have had to travel other airlines this year, I have been impressed by how much better the service is. If Northwest doesn't reconsider, I have very little reason to stay.
I am amazed by how little the airlines seem to care about their customers. Clearly the airlines that have figured this out (Southwest, JetBlue) are the only ones doing well. Why are the large carriers having such a hard time understanding such simple concepts? This is EASY stuff to fix and they just seem unwilling to address a growing problem.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA -- I used to fly NW a lot way back when, but haven't much in the last few years. In January I had a trip from Baltimore to Portland, but due to snow delays, we were late leaving, and missed a late p.m. (the last) Portland flight out of Minneapolis. The flight attendants did a 100% job in telling people about connecting flights, and getting people who had a chance of making them off of the plane first (Portland passengers, just remain seated, the plane has already departed).
Upon arriving, about 12 Portland connecting people were sent to the vacant gate that we would have used to board our now departed plane. Yap, yap yap ("where is anybody?" "do they know we are here?" "are they going to put us on a special plane to Portland?" "my wife is tired, they had better give us a room" "I will be late to my niece's birthday, my whole trip is ruined!" "my wife is picking me up, how will she know the plane left without me?").
In about 3 minutes, a service rep showed up, pleasant, eager, and ready to do whatever it took to get everyone on their way to Portland, tomorrow. All I cared about was being in Portland by tomorrow at noon, late tonight would have been better, but that simply was not going to happen.
As the available seats for early morning were disappearing fast, the people were getting real gripe. As the rep talked with one person, everyone else in line kept asking how each thing he said to that person would affect them (rude). I got out of the line and sat down, watching the remaining folks get crabbier and the rep getting more terse, but not rude. They wanted NW to give them pajamas, toothpaste, mouthwash, nice rooms, fancy rooms, close rooms, free meals, free real nice meals, late dinner & breakfast. YOU OWE US!!! IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!
Finally, I went up to the counter as the last passenger needing to get to Portland. "You must be Mr. **?" I confirmed it, and explained that I knew why we missed the plane, and had known since I noted when we had departed late. I know my bag is not accessible. I have friends in Minneapolis, know where to get good food and beer late at night, and would be happy with just a place to sleep. I told the rep I didn't care how I flew; even a connecting night flight on someone else would be OK. The rep was SOOOOO relieved that I wasn't another whiner.
I wound up in a real nice hotel, more meal tickets than I could eat, and a voucher. NW employees have lots of good reasons to be unhappy; the management, the bankruptcy issues and some awfully rude and obnoxious passengers who are probably like that everywhere. I sent NW a note saying that generally it is below average and in trouble, but that there are still many employees with a positive attitude and that they should make use of them while can. I would fly NW again if it fit my plans.
I thought I got a great deal on my flight from LAX to ICN (South Korea) on Northwest, a part of Delta Airlines. Little did I know, the service quality was going to be so horrible. If you're in economy, forget about asking for anything beyond what they give you. More than half the flight attendants were rude and don't realize that the money we pay for our plane tickets helps pay their salaries. They should reconsider their profession in customer service. They're doing a bad job representing Northwest/Delta.
We were on flight 302 from Tokyo to LAX. There was an older Japanese female flight attendant with bleached blond hair with more attitude than I've seen in all flight attendants put together, although she was friendly towards and joking around with the males on the staff. The worst one of them all was a young Asian male with long spiky hair. The only pleasant flight attendant was a nice, elderly American gentleman who had trouble hearing.
We pressed the FA button to ask for some water b/c we were sitting next to an aisle sitter who had fallen asleep and we didn't want to disturb him by getting up and asking for water. The rude Japanese flight attendant came and gave us water with some attitude on the side. While my bf was waiting for the bathroom, he saw the water pitcher on the cart and poured some into his cup. The young Asian male FA immediately stopped him and told him that was only for business class passengers and that we needed to ask for water.
Maybe if asking for something was met with a little less attitude, we would want to talk to the FA's. When did water become for business class passengers only? With all the recent and upcoming layoffs, I'm thinking Northwest/Delta needs to reconsider employing people who make their company look bad. I know we will never fly Northwest/Delta again, and we will make sure we tell others about our recent, horrible experiences.
Just wanted to share my displeasure with NWA. We are flying out of town today, my wife, our daughter (under 2 years old) and myself. We have 3 seats reserved since we wanted our daughter to have more room for the long flight. Long story short, I wanted to make sure we had 3 seats together.
Logged on to and tried to reserve the seats last night. It showed a few groups of 3 seats available at the time. It would not let me. It kept assigning us random seats all over the plane. So I decide to call NWA and see what was going on. I can't talk to anyone. They were experiencing high call volume and told me to try again later. Fine. It was the evening so I thought I would try this morning.
So this morning comes, I log in to the website. All the seats are now gone. I can't change them. My 15-month-old daughter is now seated alone in the back of the plane. Nice. They know she is under 2 since we had to specify it at the time of reservations.
Anyway, back to my complaint. I try to call NWA again. This time I get through and get their automated response system. It takes me through a series of hoops where it makes me talk to the computer, and the computer tries very hard to understand me by repeating it back 5 times. Each time it messes something else up and starts all over. Finally the computer gets my information correct, and then tells me they are having system problems and they will connect me to an operator. Great! That is all I wanted to begin with.
A few seconds go by, I get a message that they are experiencing high volume of calls and cannot take my call at this time. It hangs up on me. I spent 20 minutes battling the automated system for them to tell me they can't help me. Nice. Hopefully we can get at least two seats together when we check in at the airport. Otherwise I'm going to leave a bottle with the flight attendant and tell her good luck. ;-)
My six-year old son flew for the first time as an unaccompanied minor on Northwest Flight 1549 from Minneapolis to JFK. I was repeatedly assured by NW employees on the phone and at the Minneapolis airport that my son's mother would be allowed and expected to meet him at his gate at JFK. She arrived an hour before the flight with her ID and was told to wait in a specified room and our son would be brought to her.
When she informed the NW employees that she was assured that she would be able to meet him at the gate she was sent to see no fewer than five other employees. When she was finally allowed to go to his gate she was told that my son had been placed on a bus and was being taken to a waiting area at another terminal. He had been assured that his mother would meet him. He was finally brought to her half an hour after his flight had landed. He was, thankfully, fine, resilient lad that he is, but his mother was understandably upset by the events as was I.
After I contacted NW Customer Support at a non-800 number and waited nearly fifteen minutes for an agent, I received an apology and the offer of a hundred dollar flight voucher for a future flight. I explained to the agent ** that I was interested in neither.
What I wanted was for him to take down my complaint and to have someone research the situation and get back to me with an explanation of what happened and why. He informed me that my complaint was being duly noted and would be passed along to the relevant people so that this would not happen again. I responded that my confidence level in NW assurances was not high and wanted someone to get back to me. He said that was not possible but that I could file my complaint online and someone would get back to me.
Surely, it was not impossible for me to receive the service for which I asked, simply inconvenient for him and/or NW. They prefer me to email. I preferred, after their botching the treatment of my son the unaccompanied six year old minor, to speak to a live person and then receive a response, which could have been via email, explaining the how and why of what happened and what steps were being taken to rectify the situation. I didn't want a hollow apology nor a flight voucher from an airline so unwilling to address my request after their screw up.
I had flown with Northwest for many years while in the military, and then after. I swore by them, and would always tell anyone to fly with Northwest. I would not ever again. We went from Oregon Wisconsin to Memphis, with our final destination being Montego Bay, Jamaica. Our flight in Memphis scheduled to leave at 10 A.M. was cancelled due to crew. 200 and some odd people all going on vacation, honeymoons, or in the case of my brother-in-law going there to get married.
There were 13 of us on that flight who had planned this trip for over a year. NWA cancelled the flight for crew that day in Memphis. Oh yes, they put us all in hotels as there were no other crews or airlines available. Yes, they gave us a meal voucher that would not cover anything, much less make up for the all-inclusive resort we were to have been staying at. They made the bride and groom be forced to be married in Memphis in a makeshift ceremony due to them not being in Jamaica for 48 hours prior to their wedding.
Beyond all of that, they really ruined a vacation for my wife and I, basically ruining 2 days of our vacation, and all we got for it was an extremely rude manager at Memphis, no seat assignments on an overbooked US Airways flight (Kudos to US Airways for making it right and doing EVERYTHING they could to get us there), and a very polite "Go pile sand" letter from the complaint department.
I am in the most polite tone going to say and spread the word just as much as I used to when I would say 'go Fly NWA'. Well now I am saying I will never fly them again, nor would I ever recommend them. I will also NEVER fly Delta as they are now partnered. What a shame that a company can treat its customers this way and not even care. In this time when the economy is the way it is, I find it shocking that an airline would act in this manner.