Saturday, January 26, 2008

Northwest Airlines Fiasco

On Jan. 20th 2008 my wife and I flew on NWA from Spokane, WA to Norfolk, VA. It was without a doubt the worst case scenario of airline travel we had ever experienced. Our first stop over was in Minneapolis, MN where we were informed that our connecting flight had been cancelled due to aircraft maintenance. They had no other flights available that day and indicated that there would be a flight available if we flew into Atlanta, GA that could get us into Norfolk, VA the next morning. We flew down to Atlanta where Northwest put us up in the Westin Hotel near the airport. The Westin Hotel which had all the appearance of a 5 star hotel in the lobby, however the room was so dirty that we had to put down all the bath and hand towels on the floor in order to walk barefoot and it also had a heavy cigarette smoke odor. NWA provided us with a food voucher that was just enough for hors d'oeuvres for the evening meal and minimal breakfast in the morning. The next morning we flew out with Delta and arrived in Norfolk about 10:45 am. Upon arriving we went to the baggage claim office for NWA and they were closed. We contacted NWA by phone and they told us that 1 piece of luggage was in Detroit the other in Minneapolis. We were told that NWA would email the 2 airports and let them know to forward our baggage to Norfolk. We went to our hotel and after waiting until 11:00 pm and still no baggage I again contacted NWA and asked them for an update to which they responded and said that I would have to return to Norfolk airport and file a claim. My response was that I did not have the time available because I would be in business meetings from early morning till late evening for the next 3 1/2 days. They simply stated that if I was not able to come to the airport that there was nothing they could do for me. I made a second call to NWA and got the same response from a different NWA representative. At this point I asked for a supervisor who told me the exact same thing. At this point I told them that I wanted to be reimbursed monetarily for the lost luggage and asked what the total reimbursement would be and to that the NWA representative hesitated for about 30 seconds and then replied $3000.00 per person. I told him that we would start the proceedings to file the claim for the $3000.00 to which he indicated he would get back to me. In less than 10 minutes I received a return call that our luggage had arrived in Norfolk and would be delivered to our hotel that same evening. I found it quite amazing how fear of having to pay out $3000.00 each my wife and myself got the ball rolling and that we would not have to go to the Norfolk airport to file a claim. The luggage was then delivered. Our return flights were relatively uneventful however what struck me odd was that on none of the flights were we offered any free snacks. Everything had to be paid for. They were very generous and did provide 1 beverage for a 3 hour and 24 minute flight. When sharing this story with a number of my business associates they told me that they stopped using NWA and now fly Southwest Airlines instead. I think I'll be joining them.

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