Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 in flight
Last December we reported on a Go! Airlines flight where the pilots fell asleep and missed the airport. Today a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 flight missed their destination of Minneapolis by 150 miles.
The flight crew said they became engrossed in a conversation about airline policy (and honestly, who couldn’t?) and lost track of their location. However, the FAA is investigating if pilot fatigue played any roll in this event.
The flight from San Diego to Minneapolis had 144 passengers onboard and none of them were aware of what happened, until the aircraft was swarmed by police once they finally arrived. The police kept all passengers onboard until they were allowed to question the flight crew.
The FAA lost contact with the aircraft while it was traveling at 37,000 feet and they notified the Air National Guard, who then put two fighter jets on alert. They were never given the order to take off.
Andrea Allmon, a passenger who had been traveling from San Diego on business, stated, “When I do my job, I do my job. These guys are supposed to be paying attention to the flight. The safety of the passengers should be first and foremost. (It’s) unbelievable to me that they weren’t paying attention. Just not paying attention.”
She is right. No matter if they were awake having a heated debate, they should have still been paying attention to their flight and of course the radio. The FAA is investigating the incident and the two pilots have been suspended from flying. Hopefully it is not found that the pilots fell asleep during flight.
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Source: Minnesota Star Tribune Image: AV8NLVR
A Northwest Airline's tail up in the far north, Alaska
The website GoNorthwest.com has been operating for the past ten years, providing travel information for the Pacific Northwestern part of the United States.
Northwest Airlines, which has recently been acquired by Delta Airlines feel they own the rights to the name. This started when site owner Jack High trademarked his name last year after someone stole his site’s contents and created an illegal copy under a similar name. High defends his actions stating he has no issue with any other company using the word, “northwest,” but is just concerned about protecting his own site.
Andrea James with the Seattle PI points out that over 10,500 companies have “northwest” as part of their name, just in Washington state. There are also 366 trademarks that exist for “NW” and “Northwest” in the United States.
Delta Airlines commented that “Northwest is a world-famous mark that is used by one of the oldest airlines in the world and that has been built with billions of dollars of investments over eight decades.” The airline continued, stating they were concerned about the future of the site causing additional confusion of the brands. To me, this seems like a big company going a few steps too far. Here are some of my thoughts:
#1 The Northwest Airlines brand is going away. Delta is in the process of changing all their naming over to Delta. There won’t be any confusion in the future since the name will be gone soon. Why spend money on a dying brand?
#2 There is no record of people getting the two names confused. Even searching for ’œGo Northwest’ on Google, Northwest Airlines doesn’t show up.
#3 The look and feel of the two websites and what the companies offer GREATLY differ and it would be very hard for someone to mistake them.
#4 Should Delta go after all the companies that use the word “delta”? If one goes to GoDelta.com, it forwards you to a Delta marketing group (wow that font looks very similar). Should they be worried? How about Southwest Airlines or Alaska Airlines? When using a geographic location to name your business, you should expect there are going to be people that use part of your name in travel-related businesses.
#5 I don’t see how this is going to look good for Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines. They should just back off now, it just isn’t worth the bad publicity.
#6 Sometimes the legal and moral lines aren’t so clear. Even if Northwest/Delta is shown to be legally right, does that make it right? Should a large, well established, world renowned airline be able to control how a very localized, small, travel website runs its business?
What are your thoughts on this? Is Northwest/Delta going too far or are they justified in protecting their brand?
The good old airline spork.
Weight equals money and when a fully loaded Airbus A380 can weigh over a million pounds, airlines don’t want to be adding any unnecessary weight. The airline industry has become very creative with adding new fees to bring in additional revenue, but they are also looking at creative ways to lessen weight and save money.
Northwest Airlines (err, I guess Delta) is now cutting spoons on their flights to help save weight. Sure one little spoon might not seem to make a big difference, but a Northwest Boeing 747-400 holds more than 400 people — that’s a lot of spoons (why don’t they just bring back the spork?)
They aren’t the only airline considering utensil overhaul. Japan Airlines has decreased the size of their cutlery (which not only saves money in weight, but for purchase price of the actual product). Other airlines are cleaning their planes more (dust = weight), not supplying magazines and carrying less water on board.
I am sure this concept will catch on. From cutting pillows, to the type of fabric being used in seats, to having less gadgets (boo), to maybe even someday accounting for passengers’ weights (hopefully not, but RyanAir might be crazy enough), the airlines will probably continue to look for cost-cutting measures, especially as they move toward better fuel-efficiency.
Source: Seattle PI Image: Ethan Hurd
People lining up at Seattle's Airport before the Starbucks opens
A frequent 8yr old flier who flies regularly from Washington state to Kentucky had an interesting experience. She was flying on a Northwest Airlines flight and her parents paid an extra $100 each way for their unaccompanied minor program (someone supervises the child from parent to parent). The child complained of being tired, so the supervising Northwest employee told her to get a large coffee at Starbucks and made her pay using her own money.
Sure, there might be some out there who say a little coffee for a child won’t do any harm, but I doubt anyone can say a large coffee is a good thing for a child.
The excess of caffeine caused her to get sick and she had to make use of the “courtesy bags.” By the time she arrived in Seattle, WA it was obvious to her mother something was wrong, “She was pale, shaking and talking a lot.”
Northwest is investigating, and of course states they take the care of unaccompanied minors very seriously. Although this sounds like a story where it is easy to get upset at Northwest Airlines, I would like to give them and their employees the benefit of the doubt, since we know that sometimes kids can exaggerate stories, especially when it keeps them out of trouble!
Source: NWCN Image: dcortesi
Last summer Northwest airlines cancelled about 100 flights, causing much understood frustration from ticket holders. This earned them quite a bit of bad press and a few upset pilots. This summer, the airline is running much better, some days even running 100% on-time.
Northwest had to work with the pilots union and change it scheduling, but it wants to be known as a reliable airline. Part of the changes allows the pilots to bid for 80hrs instead of the old 88-90hrs. The negotiation also allowed 150% pay for any hours over 80.
With airlines cutting everything from flights to free peanuts, having delayed or cancelled flights just makes flying that less desirable. Cheers to Northwest for being able to bring a little positively to the current flying environment.
Source: Star Tribune Image: Points1