Sucks to be Northwest Airlines

For $20 you can SuperSize your next paid roundtrip on Northwest Airlines® , Northwest Airlink or KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and earn an additional 1,000 Bonus Miles*. These Bonus Miles are in addition to the regular credited flight miles you will earn for your paid travel.

Says a “special offer” on the Northwest Airlines web page. A bit of quick math shows that these days a frequent flyer mile is only worth between 1.5 to 2 cents when all is said and done, so this offer isn’t special at all. They must think we’re stupid. Or is this another way to boost revenue?

My first air flight was on Northwest Airlines, so it has some kind of, uh, place in my heart, even though I’ve hardly flown on it since. When I did, I noticed two things: (1) their logo has been spruced up with a new look, but despite this, (2) their planes were rickety instead of spanking new. In fact the plane I took was yellowed and creaky as if it was the same plane I took that first time, and probably was. That’s not a good thing to know about their fleet.

These days, I suppose NWA is technically bankrupt, like other large US airlines. With rising fuel prices, they’ve been desperate to recover revenue in any way possible, like imposing a fuel surcharge, limiting checked baggage weight or count, charging for them, raising miscellaneous fees like change fees, charging for certain preferred seats, devaluing frequent flyer miles, making them “expire” sooner, etc. Somewhere I read airlines cannot balance their books with crude above $120 per barrel… well, it’s $130+ per barrel and expectations are sticking, so I doubt the situation is sustainable.


  1. v
    June 10th, 2008 | 10:29

Leave a reply