Overall Service And Flight Quality
I have flown Northwest frequently over the past few years, and I have to say that overall, they've been quite good. Until recently, they were the cheapest airline on my Boston-Montana route, and I always found that they were dependable, had few delayed flights, the customer service was helpful and friendly, and my luggage always came back to me in one piece with nothing missing - no problems. I'm a musician who always travels with a guitar, a laptop and other music gear, in addition to loads of other luggage, and they were always as accommodating as could be expected and I was never charged for extra baggage, and I was never forced to check my guitar. My travels would often go so smoothly I'd actually look forward to them!
Even when my last roundtrip of flights turned out to be a disaster, they were actually rather commendable in most respects. On my way out, one of my connection flights was cancelled due to a bad snowstorm, and given the circumstances, I decided it'd be best to return home and try again the next day. They said that my luggage would follow me, but unfortunately it didn't. So I spent the next day waiting at home, checking the internet luggage tracking database and being told repeatedly that there was no new data on it (so a small point deduction there). Finally I called and was told that it had continued on its way to my destination, and finally knowing where it was, I rebooked a flight. They did not charge me extra to reschedule, which I really appreciated. I finally reached my destination the next day, only to find one of my bags still missing.
However, it was delivered to my mother's house the next morning, so it was frustrating, but not too shabby. On the way back, my first flight was horribly delayed, which from my observation was primarily due to some confusion and incompetence of the staff. When I got to my first stop, my next flight, which was the last for the day, had already left, and I was told that the delay was classified as 'weather-related,' and as such, I was entitled to no compensation for having to stay there overnight. At least they automatically put me on the earliest flight the next morning, but their only help for the night was a voucher that would supposedly give me a discounted stay at a nearby hotel; that discounted hotel room turned out to be $85, and as a student-musician, I wasn't willing to pay that, and spent the night in the airport.
In the end, I got home safely, with all of my luggage intact, and I never had to spend any extra money for all the flight changes. It wasn't any fun, but I suspect it could have been much worse.