NW comparison report (Warning: long)

 
Old Feb 25, 03, 10:24 am
  #1  
GG
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: Mr Hertz & I have an Understanding. ;-> HH Diamond. DL PM (woo... at least it's clearly earned!)
Posts: 1,685
NW comparison report (Warning: long)

As threatened, here's the tale of our first NW trip in this century. I wrote this for those Deltoids who are still considering switching airlines and have expressed interested in our experience. That's why it's in the Delta forum. The NW guys know what their airline is like.

As we expected, there were positives and negatives in relation to flying Delta. What we didn't expect was to run into a major weather mess, but it certainly gave us a chance to test NW.

Our automatic upgrades came through at 72 hrs or thereabouts, even with both of us on one PRN. That was always a hassle when we were Gold on DL, having to call and have our reservation split to get our upgrades done.

Big Positive: I was still asleep whenever DL 657 took off for ATL (it's scheduled at 6:15 ack bloody emma), but I did hear 1058 leaving for CVG around 7:15, from the comfort of my bed. Ahhh...

Negative: no NW Skycaps at Bluegrass Field. (Not an issue for most of you, I realize.) We also were not allowed to check our third bags, although we are supposed to be able to as confirmed F pax. Vegas Agent on the NW forum has explained how they're supposed to do it, so we should get this worked out in future.

The Mesaba Avro (RJ 85) was fine, and we are very happy at the prospect of flying that plane LEX-DTW. The F seats are huge, and coach seats wider than F on DL's 764s. Pitch is OK too. Based on the PA announcement, coach also gets a full beverage service, which beats Fast Break to ATL any day.

The onboard F service was very similar to Delta's as it always used to be and still is sometimes. We got coats hung up and pre-flight drinks. The FA was pleasant. Once airborne she offered another round of drinks, snacks, and drink refills. There was none of this "everyone stay seated with your seatbelts on while we try to find some rough air" crap Delta has pulled on three quarters of our LEX/SDF to/from ATL flights the last few months.

We had somewhat inadvertently booked a 33-minute connection at DTW, landed about 10 minutes late (snow flurries), and actually made our next flight even changing concourses. I hardly recommend such a tight connection, but it's nice to know it can be done.

757 to BOS - again, very similar in-flight service. The FAs were friendly and attentive - not better than DL's usual, but easily as good. We got full lunch service. Haven't seen that on a 90-minute DL flight in a while. The food was edible. Portions were large - I couldn't finish my chicken pasta salad. Dessert was a biggish slice of cheesecake, which was really pretty good - a lot better than DL's current usual. The downside is that I ate the cheesecake . Skipping dessert on DL is very easy these days (not the Sundaes, of course, but we don't see them very often any more). Maybe the NW solution is to go straight to the cheesecake.

Boston got a couple of feet of snow while we were there. Friends who were scheduled to go back to MSP on NW Monday evening were able to rebook to earlier in the day, and actually made it out. Our Tuesday am flight was cancelled. First they tried to put us on ATA to Chicago and some sort of torture prop down to LEX later on Tuesday, but we called the elite line and got ourselves rebooked on our original itinerary a day later. I was happy to wait it out in comfort instead of hanging around the airport trying to get something earlier or flying ATA. We didn't have much hope of keeping our upgrades in such a travel mess, but as it happened, we snagged the last two F seats on the plane.

We bought a 2 month Worldclub membership at Logan and got quite a lot of use out of it there - we had showed up early and had a lot of time to kill - and at DTW, as our LEX flight was delayed out of White Plains. There's a lounge on B concourse near what we think will be our usual LEX gate. It's quite pleasant - self serve bar but plenty of variety and the Espresso/Latte/Cappuccino machine is a nice touch; more varied and tastier snacks than DL's endless kibble, two-sided fireplace with Comfy chairs, and also windows for plane watching. Oh, and lots of real magazines. The negatives are 1) no internet access without using your own laptop; and 2) unappealing beer.

NW doesn't include club membership at any elite level - it does discount the price. But we saved enough money on our tickets to justify the expense. If the DL codeshare goes through, we will use our PM CRC memberships for the rest of the year, and if not, we'll pony up the dough for annual membership.

The club agents were pleasant and helpful. One even tracked me down to my chair at the fireside to warn me that our LEX plane was on the ground and would be boarding soon. I knew this - LexPax was at the gate - but she didn't know I knew it, and I really did appreciate her concern.

Final note: our bags actually beat us to the baggage carousel. I was shocked. It's usually a 20 minute wait on our Delta flights (and was longer until I took all the Priority tags off our bags).

Sorry if this has been long, and YMMV, but we are pretty sure now we've made the right decision for our flying needs.

------------------
email on profile

[This message has been edited by GG (edited 02-25-2003).]
GG is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 10:56 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: ATL
Programs: No status no more, no where, no how.
Posts: 13,184
For an even longer NW trip report and comparison of DL and NW service, I humbly direct the reader to this thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum35/HTML/005257.html
Just Passing Thru is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 1:21 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist & Moderator: CommunityBuzz!, OMNI, OMNI/PR, and OMNI/Games
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Southern California
Programs: DL: 3.8 MM Marriott: Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 24,555
GG/JPT....both reports were excellent...thanks. Don't know how you recall such detail. My report from a typical flight would be:
Planted butt in B/E throne, latched seat belt, fell asleep before plane even backed away from gate. Woke up when wheels hit the runway. Unhooked seat belt, extracted butt from B/E throne (soon to be RJ torture rack) and sauntered off the plane.
Have to admit your reports were a lot more entertaining...
Cholula is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 2:22 pm
  #4  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,400
GG/JPT--thanks for the great reports. In December I had to go to Rochester, MN from LAX. Because of my loyalty to DL (had already hit PM for the year), my routing was as follows: LAX/CVG. Connect CVG/MSP (overnight in Msp). Purchase 2 tix on NW for 20 minute flt to Rst. Return was Rst/Msp on NW(long layover, so I sprang for the 60 day WP Lounge access which was great!) Msp/Slc (connect)/Lax. Have to return to Rst in November. My routing this time will be Lax/Msp (non-stop on NW) connect to Rst and return. Much easier, and most likely, less expensive. BTW, was in RST, because family member was headed for Mayo Clinic. NW, I have since learned, has special fares for Mayo-Clinic-bound pax in Rst (perhaps, for the Scottsdale and Fl clinics as well).
obscure2k is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 5:53 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Orlando
Programs: Marriott Plat; National Emerald Exec Elite
Posts: 264
Thanks for the report. I've just been comped NW Gold, and will give it a try saturday going to africa. How much did the 2 month membership cost?
FarAway is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 6:07 pm
  #6  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,400
I believe the 2 month membership cost was around $100.00 +or-. This enabled me to bring in a guest, as well. The WP staff in MSP was superb. When they realized we were departing on DL, they offered to call for an electric cart to take us to the DL gate (we did not have to request this service). Also, good selection of self-serve beverages in Club (alcoholic & non-alcoholic), in addition to good cheese and crackers, fruit, cookies and other snacks. Excellent selection of reading material, as well.
obscure2k is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 8:55 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA PLT; SPG G
Posts: 381
Shamless plug for a look at NW's international J service.
Engines turn is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 9:56 pm
  #8  
Moderator: Hilton Honors forums
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States
Posts: 24,546
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Engines turn:
</font>
...or passengers swim.
Canarsie is offline  
Old Feb 25, 03, 10:39 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,748
GG, when DL/NW/CO begin executing their agreement, I don't believe PM will have free access to WorldClubs or President's Clubs, but JMO.
IndustrialPatent is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 12:05 pm
  #10  
Moderator: Travel Bidding forum
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Suwanee,Ga ,usa
Posts: 3,613
Thanks for the reports. I,too,was comped gold.I look forward to trying them as an elite.
jabez is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 12:11 pm
  #11  
GG
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: Mr Hertz & I have an Understanding. ;-> HH Diamond. DL PM (woo... at least it's clearly earned!)
Posts: 1,685
Cholula, well, I was paying more attention than I usually do, with the trip report in mind. I'm much more envious of someone who can just go to sleep on an airplane. I generally have to be totally exhausted or take drugs or both.

Faraway, the two-month membership was $85 and did indeed include bringing a guest. Contrast that with a $50 one-day CRC pass which does not allow you to bring in a guest...

IP, if there's no reciprocity among lounges, well there's no reciprocity. But it seems logical there would be, given the way NW/CO works and that even UA gives RCC access for CRC members on day of UA flights.

Or are you suggesting that other CRC members will be able to use Worldclubs/PCs but not PMs? That would go over big...

------------------
email on profile
GG is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 1:27 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: FLL
Programs: delta pm, aa exp, hilton diamond
Posts: 410
Thank you for the great report. I have my first nw trip out next week. I have been using co this year as they com. me plat for plat. I have been enjoying co! Thanks Delta for pushing me to try new things!
Traveling Salesman is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 8:51 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: SAN Diego (Hillcrest); soon formerly LEXington, KY; otherwise around and about
Programs: DL still sort-of Elite; Marriott Lifetime Platinum; married to Hilton Elite
Posts: 2,973
GG cut this report by 60% or more from her original, and left out the parts about what faced us when we finally got home: no electricity, no heat, four trees down, driveway and front door blocked...

Fortunately, the cats were fine (the cat-sitter had warned us about the destruction, but nowhere near enough to prepare) and the temp had stayed high enough so pipes weren't frozen. Refrigerators -- ugh, let's not go there.

We got power back Thursday night. Spent Friday supervising the folks cutting up and removing the limbs and trees. Had power out again for a while last night.

I have almost given up resisting her entreaties to move to San Diego!

One positive of the delays was doing dinner with andymo in Boston. And great also to meet CKDGM, only sorry that the big snow kept us from also catching up with HRGM. Next time, maybe.

[edited for elaboration]

[This message has been edited by LexPassenger (edited 02-26-2003).]
LexPassenger is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 9:00 pm
  #14  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,400
Dinner with Andymo is definitely a positive experience. Lucky you!
obscure2k is offline  
Old Feb 26, 03, 9:43 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,748
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by GG:
IP, if there's no reciprocity among lounges, well there's no reciprocity. But it seems logical there would be, given the way NW/CO works and that even UA gives RCC access for CRC members on day of UA flights.

Or are you suggesting that other CRC members will be able to use Worldclubs/PCs but not PMs? That would go over big...
</font>
GG,

I believe one of two things will happen:
  • A paid CRC membership will include access to WorldClubs/President’s Clubs (and vice versa).
  • NW/CO will raise the Platinum Elite mileage requirement to 100,000 miles per year and include complimentary access to WC/PC/CRC/etc (NW did say they would attempt to different Platinum from Gold in the near future).

NW has made it clear in the past that the vast majority of WC members were Platinum Elites, so it made no sense to give complimentary memberships. Unless DL would be paying NW each time their PM used a WC, I doubt NW would offer complimentary access. Not to mention that it wouldn’t go over too well with NW’s elites .
IndustrialPatent is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread