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Thread: Flying the Red Tails of NWA; One. Final. Time.

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Southern Illinois

    Flying the Red Tails of NWA; One. Final. Time.

    Reason for the Trip: I wanted to fly Northwest Airlines once more before they had completely submerged into the new Delta, and no more Red Tails were to be found. I was shooting around airfares online checking routes and aircrafts to try to get the best deal for the maximum amount of flights as possible while also trying to create new routes and fly aircrafts I had not flown on before. I finally found one which had me going STL-MSP-PDX-SEA-MSP-STL. So, 2 new airports for me, and four new routings, and I would add 4 new sub-fleets to my list, while I had flown the main plane, i.e. one of the routes involved a 757-300; I had flown a -200, but not a -300. That’s what I mean by that. I booked the flights and selected my seats; I was all ready to go. This was going to be a long day for me because the SEA-MSP portion was entirely a red eye flight, and I cannot sleep on flights. I also had quite a few surprises flying around the system and as always saved the best for last! So, sit back, pull your seats in the upright and locked position, buckle your seatbelts and get ready to tour the great Pacific Northwest on board Northwest Airlines-Now a Part of the new Delta!

    Feb 7th, 2009
    Northwest Airlink/Mesaba
    Flight 3652

    I arrived into STL Airport and parked the car. I got out and was able to see the terminal from my car spot as well as the flags that fly above the airport.

    I walked into the Main Terminal, and turned right to head to the Northwest ticket counters. I was not able to check in online so I feared I was going to get SSSS. I tried once more to check in at the kiosk but again it required me to see the agent. Great, I really did not want to explain this multi segment itinerary, and watch her figure out where my final destination was actually going to be (PDX btw, was farthest I flew before turning home). I handed her my ID and itinerary confirmation code and said “I cannot check in online or the kiosk and I fear it is either SSS or the multi segment itinerary”

    Agent: “Oh No problem sir let’s check this out”

    She pulls my itinerary up and prints off my passes, and she literally started to say—

    Agent: “Ok sir I have your passes and your final destination is…” She continues to look up and down the screen and back at my passes, and continued …Wait; this says you booked to Portland as your final destination but I show you are also returning the same day, are you actually doing all of this today?”
    *sighs* “Yes I am, I am doing a mileage run on you guys and also to fly Northwest one more time.”

    Agent: “Oh, well aren’t you sweet. Well thanks very much, your gate will be A-3 and simply go downstairs to the left and proceed through security”

    I thanked her after grabbing a shot of the check in counter too; there was a ton of construction going on around upstairs in the main terminal.

    I proceeded through check in, and it was breeze, I did not get SSSS. Woo-Hoo!

    After going through I walked around the bend to the A Concourse, I hadn’t flown out of A since my last NWA trip ironically, back in Sept of 2005 to BWI. So I didn’t notice much change if ANY at all. Oh well. I got to my gate and still had an hour until boarding time so I walked around spotting and taking a couple of pics, nothing big and texted a couple of my friends to pass the time and catch up until it was time to board.

    The plane pulled up to the gate and not many people got off actually, in fact this was going to be common on all my segments, fairly empty flights.

    Boarding: I requested to pre-board and was said “absolutely” by the agent and she showed me where to sit, asked how I communicate so she could figure the best way to alert me when it was time to board. I told her I speak and read lips it is just hard to understand announcements so simply a wave to come to the gate or to physically come get me would be appreciated. She nodded and as soon as boarding began she promptly came over to get me and my pass and allowed me to board. Well done STL for doing this. NW Mainline in MSP completely failed on this and I will get into that in MSP.

    I walked down the jet bridge getting fairly excited to fly new planes, new routes and to try out the CRJ-900. I heard so many good things about them and had already flown the CR2 and CR7 both with OO and I didn’t mind it too and would get to complete the CRJXXX family, with exception to the -100.

    I got on board with an hello from the flight attendant, and walked to my seat 14-D. Immediately I was struck by the lack of wing/window view from my position, but this would be solved as we literally only had I think 15 or so people on board so once we got on we were free to move about the cabin so I then moved back to 17-D. Perfect!

    I truly enjoyed the cabin interior of the CRJ900 and XJ, and wouldn’t hesitate to book this aircraft again. The electronic device light/sign is excellent for those of us who are deaf and cannot hear those announcements. As said it was so wide open I was the only one in row 17 and all the way in the back. Everyone pretty much sat in the exit rows and up front, no problem for me!

    Announcements for safety briefing which were pre recorded was made and it came through loud and clear, perfect! I enjoyed the system and sounds on board this plane too. We backed out and did an S back out, and then we taxied off to the runway.

    I assumed we were heading to 12L to take off, but when we went past it and swung over 6/24 I became very confused. Then I got very excited, it occurred to me we were going to take off on the new runway-11/29! Woo Hoo!!! This would be my very first take off on the new runway. So already the trip is off to a great start!

    We got to the runway and proceeded to take off.

    Take-Off Video

    In Flight: After take off was completed, I settled back and got very comfortable. My word this was indeed a comfortable plane for sure. This was a pretty run of the mill flight quite honestly. Nothing exceeded my expectations or nothing bad. Usually soft drink service only.

    Me chilling on board hahaha

    Airport Quiz/trivia for you! I don’t know where or which airport this is. Routing is STL-MSP…

    The Frozen Tundra down there hahaha

    My In Flight service :-P

    Soon in no time it was time to clean up and start descending into MSP.

    Clean up was done throughout the cabin and seats locked in position, the usual stuff. We descended quite rapidly; you could very well sense it in the CR9. We did our turns and whatnot.

    Landing Video

    We taxied around for quite a very long time until we got to C-24 at the terminal.

    We got to C-24 and we got off the plane.

    Northwest Airlines
    Flight 595
    Airbus A320

    I got off the plane and just used the time to walk around and go spotting and catch some rarities which I really had gotten!!!

    I walked to the G gates as Transpac had told me that’s where the intls were. I had hoped to find some DL birdies but did not expect to come across the 747-200 that was sitting at G-9. I didn’t know it was the 747-200 at first. I saw a 747 and went oh cool a 747. I snapped a picture of it and I looked again and went wait a minute…that 747 doesn’t have a lot of windows in the upper deck, that cannot be a -400? I walked to the gate and checked the nose and it was 6624. I was pretty sure it was a -200 but didn’t know just yet. I texted Transpac to simply say “6624 is here…?”. His response “Oh My God is it scheduled service?!” I walked to the gate where the -200 was leaving from and inquired the agent and she had informed me it was doing a charter to Texas. I remarked I had to ask since it is rare to see the 742’s anymore. She actually was surprised I knew a thing or two about it haha. Some pics of it here…

    I walked around some more, and Transpac (my buddy from the other site) informed me of the A330’s that were at MSP. I texted him that a DL A330 was indeed at MSP. He inquired as if it was a matter of fact that it was N801NW, I said No, it is N802NW. This seemed to have confused him and he told me to go back to the gate and get the registration, well I did him one better, I got the pics to prove it was indeed N802NW in new DL colors which was the second one to be painted hence the confusion between us.

    So got two new rarities at MSP, not to shabby of a day for me!

    I walked to F7 to grab some food and settle down as we had an hour until boarding time. When it was getting near boarding time I went to the gate to inquire about pre boarding. Northwest completely dropped the ball on this one. I said to him “I was wondering if I could pre board since I am deaf and cannot hear the announcements well or understand it” He said sure, when we make the announcements that will be your cue to board with us. UGH…common sense could prevail here...if I make a statement that I am deaf, it is obvious that I will not HEAR the announcement. I didn’t want to argue or try to “bother” him as it really wasn’t necessary but just helps me. I stood around, and he made some announcements, of course I cannot hear or understand it. F Class boarded as well as sky team elites and wheelchairs. No one still came to get me. Grr…I waited some more and then another announcement is made and everyone stands to line up. What?! Ugh, so I didn’t hear the announcement as expected and unlike the agent in STL no effort was made to get my attention or anything. So I walked to the back of the line and boarded. Oh well, next time try harder NWA.

    I handed the other agent my pass and got on board into the A320. 2nd new plane for me to ride on! My first impression was WIDE!!! Holy cow is it a wide plane for a narrow body. I had flown the A319 awhile back in 2005 but I had completely forgotten and being so used to the 737’s too. I walked to my seat 17F and settled down. It was full but not busy or anything mostly middle seats were open. Ample leg room too on the A320.

    After everyone boarded we did the safety briefings and this time I heard “Welcome aboard Northwest Airlines, now a part of the NEW Delta Airlines!” While I expected it, still weird to hear. We backed out and headed to the runway to take off for PDX. Sun was setting so it was getting pretty.

    I screwed up the take off video so bad. I basically never recorded it though I thought I had! Darn it. So after we took off we climbed to cruising altitude.

    I took out my laptop which I charged at home to watch my TV shows, and what you know it never charged. So I had a dead laptop battery wise, no IFE on NW planes, all I had was my Ipod and the view out the window which was getting dark anyhow. This really ended up being quite a long flight, no fault of NWA, just how it is.

    I made small talk with my seatmate, and listened to my ipod, having a mountain dew again, and that was it. It seems NWA does not accept CC on board so I was not able to purchase any food since I don’t like to carry cash. Again no fault of NWA just a bit annoying, so I was quite starved even after eating in MSP. I’ll have to grab more food once I had arrived in SEA.

    Last light of the day!

    Soon we were approaching PDX and as usual clean up, tray tables etc was done. The approach was very cool and pretty into Portland. We landed and it was quite rough actually. The captain made some joke, but I didn’t hear it so wasn’t sure what was so funny.

    We taxied to the gate and got off and I headed all the way to the Horizon Gates. I actually kind of got lost twice trying to find it. But in no time I found it.

    Horizon Air
    Flight 2496

    I finally arrived to my gate and there is a flight that leaves almost every hour or so to SEA. Because the CR7 was leaving Horizon for the Q400 I considered taking the CR7 instead. However I was more concerned about actually making it to SEA to make my red eye I decided to stay with the original flight and add another Q400 to the itinerary. With that decided I suddenly remembered that there is free internet in PDX So I took out the laptop after talking to friends on the phone.
    I stayed online until it was time to board to SEA. My third time on the Q400!

    This really is gonna be rather short and quick. We boarded the Q400 maybe 10-15 people on board? They told us to sit anywhere we wanted so I chose 15A right by the wing/landing gear to watch it go up and down. I always enjoy that on the Q400. After all of us boarded, the stairs came up and we got settled for the quick hop over to SEA.

    Props turned and safety announcements were done and off we went to take off. We only taxied fairly shortly before we were already back in the air!

    We climbed to cruising and I grabbed an apple juice Horizon also started passing out snacks too. The flight was really quick so in no time we already started descending down for SEA Airport.

    Tray tables and all and landed into SEA. We taxied to C and got off in the ramp. I do love getting off on the ramp. I walked inside the terminal and made my way to the S place once again!

    Feb 8th, 2009
    Northwest Airlines
    Flight 154
    Boeing 757-300

    Now this part I was seriously dreading spending almost 3 hrs in Seattle Airport with nothing to do, no internet no TV, good lord. I walked around for 30 minutes checking things out. I was getting hungry so I grabbed Burger King. We actually believe it or not had a real good time hanging out at BK. I mingled with some Customers who were on my flight as well as the 10:25pm to DTW. I also spoke with a NW Agent too about the merger also. We all had some good laughs and it really passed the time a lot.

    Once I grabbed the food and ate it I went back to charge up my laptop and watched some TV shows. There was nothing at all to do here in Seattle. All my friends went to bed. I was quite alone. A thousand mile away or so, no one to text or call. It didn’t sit well with me so I was very anxious to get on the red eye to head back to MSP.

    I checked the board at 10:30pm SEA time making it 12:30am already my own time. I noticed the 753 was in bound already from MSP so it was arriving early. So I went to the gate and waited for it to arrive. The fog was coming in very quickly so I grabbed a shot of it before the fog engulfed it in haha.

    The plane arrived at 10:45pm and we weren’t due to depart until 12:40am oh lord. Soon the fog engulfed the plane in and the field of SEA was completely socked in. You could not see a damn thing whatsoever.

    After two hours passed by it was time to begin boarding. I boarded into the plane and walked to 33F. I sat down and couldn’t even see the wing at all outside it was that completely fogged in. Wow oh wow.

    After we all boarded we backed out at 12:40am and taxied V-E-R-Y slowly to the runway. Only thing I could see was blinking lights off the wingtips. It was like beer goggles everything was blurred by the lights and such. I kept thinking we are going to hit a plane, or crash into something. It just did not settle in with me at all to be taxing literally, and completely blind by the naked eye. We taxied for what seemed quite forever and very slowly, and then we turned and sat. However I thought we just sat in taxi way. Wrong…lights started flashing back and forth abruptly and out of nowhere the engines rumbled up really loudly and we shot down the runway. However this didn’t feel like a normal 757 take off to me in fact there was nothing grand about this 753 at all. I was actually quite disappointed flight wise. Granted it is a 757 yes, but I thought it’d be a bit different. Then now this is what it FELT LIKE so I don’t know if this is actually what occurred.

    As we started going down the runway it felt quite heavy like, not sport like as a 752 would to me. We slowly lumbered down the runway picking up speed. This whole time I am thinking, being paranoid oh god we cannot see anything in this fog, what if there’s another plane coming at us!? Anyhow, drama aside, we continued picking up speed, and this huge bright light would flash by us every I assumed 1,000 feet showing how much runway we had left. Then when it seemed like or felt like the nose wheel started to lift off, I felt quite a shudder and we lurched to the left, feeling the nose in the air but main gears still on ground. Then the next feeling I got was if we got pushed from the left and it knocked us into the air and immediately a right turn was made. As we lifted entirely into the air it became smoother and we immediately cleared the fog and it was a smooth climb from there on out.

    That was quite a ride/take off for me and hadn’t really experienced anything like it. We had a full moon so it was a beautiful cruise to MSP. I could not sleep so I just stared outside or stared into the darkness impatiently waiting for us to get to MSP. I was now in let’s go home mode.

    Absolutely nothing to do on this flight. I was bored to tears haha. I took out my hearing aids and tried to sleep but really no luck at all with that. I don’t do flights and sleeping together well at all.

    So really that was all I did. We hit some turbulence that was quite shaky near MSP but that didn’t last long at all. Finally at 5:30am it was announced we were descending into MSP. Thank god at last!

    We started our descent, I do love early am approaches for some reason. So I watched as we came in for landing into MSP. Landed and we taxied all the way to F-13 where the 753 would continue on to Mexico!

    I got off the plane and walked a very zombie like state to D-4 where I would board the MSP-STL flight!

    Northwest Airlines
    Flight 1470

    I walked to the gate and sat around and also took a picture of it too.

    I sat around and out of nowhere I heard my name being called to the podium as well as two other passengers. What now I thought…

    I walked up and she gave us new boarding passes and said due to the extremely wide open flight she was UPGRADING all of us to FIRST CLASS!!! Holy ****! It was booked to 8 people entirely on the entire DC9. 5 were already confirmed in F and only 3 of us in Coach so she went ahead and moved us all to F. So my new seat was 3A!

    What a fantastic way to end the 5 segment trip on Northwest Airlines and to ride F class on a DC9. To save the best for last, the DC9, the backbone of Northwest Airlines. Also to end it with a bang too quite literally and be upgraded to First Class also, was very much appreciated.

    Finally it was time to board and she made the announcement which it dawned on me I would be hearing for the last time, “Northwest Airlines, now a part of Delta Airlines would like to welcome all first class passengers on board the aircraft at this time.”

    I got on board and went to my seat. It was obvious we had to be de-iced.

    We got our pre board departure drinks I asked for OJ. It came promptly and I settled in for the brief flight to STL.

    We backed out after the F/A did the safety briefing. One thing I was shocked to see was that the lone F/A did all of the work, the other two sat in Coach I assume and did nothing of the sort.

    We taxied to be de iced and got de iced. Didn’t take long at all. We taxied to the runway and shot down and took off in eight seconds! Very sporty take off!

    Our breakfast was passed out and I got banana and a bag of breakfast chips it tasted like…

    We continued to cruise our way to STL. I was glad to finally be heading home after 5 flights on Northwest! I was tired as hell, I had been awake for more than 24 hours but it was all worth it to me!

    Then out of nowhere, it felt like someone put a hand to the DC9 to stop us from flying and we went down rapidly to prepare for landing in STL.

    We soon came in over the city and landed over 30R. The usual DC9 landing and we taxied around and docked into the gate at exactly 9am. Amazing.

    In closing… I was hit with a wave of sadness. I don’t have the history with NWA like I did with TWA. However I know the feeling and sadness of seeing your airline be swallowed into another airline and seeing that history go with it. I was not an avid fan of Northwest or knew much about the history but I certainly respected them as an airline and the history and business they have brought to us, the country and to the world. I wish all my fellow employees at Northwest Airlines good luck and to enjoy your time and transition to Delta Airlines, and hope it works out for all of you. Continue to bring the NWA history to Delta, and never, ever let it be forgotten. I will miss the red tails at STL and do look forward to seeing a part of you with the new Delta. Good Luck to you all!!!

    Alex Bags Fly Free. Anytime, Anywhere on Southwest Airlines. Share the LUV!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: Flying the Red Tails of NWA; One. Final. Time.

    Alex that was the "real" food you got in F class?


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