Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Farewell To First On Northworst

No, Northworst, er, I mean, NorthWEST Airlines is not doing away with its domestic first class cabins, at least not as far as I know.

But NWA, formerly Northwest Airlines, and before that the proud Northwest Orient Airlines, is marching inexorably to oblivion as the merger with Delta bumps along to execution. When the big red Northwest logo with the northwest-facing compass face on the starboard side of its airplane tails (weirdly, northeast-facing on the port side) finally succumbs to the Delta widget, so will NWA's domestic first class product be scrapped and replaced by the Delta version.

The REAL Delta-Northwest merger rationale, by the way, is NOT a drive for efficiency in the airline industry. Rather, it's to generate a hefty donation to the FTMTOCFTURM&AL (Fund To Maintain Torrents Of Cash Flowing To Unimaginably Rich M&A Lawyers). But I digress.

Sure, the Delta first class product in the United States is not what it used to be, and neither is Northwest's. Tatty though first class may be on NWA in 2008, it fields, in my opinion, a far better everyday first class service than Delta does these days.

For instance, will the new Delta continue serving the delicious pistachio nut mix and cinnamon pita chips, along with fresh apples and bananas, in first class? I don't think so: a luxury like that is anathema to the diehard Delta culture, and, anyway, far too costly after paying all that merger dough to the FTMTOCFTURM&AL (Fund To Maintain Torrents Of Cash Flowing To Unimaginably Rich M&A Lawyers).

Will Delta retain the comfortable 12 first class seats laid out in a 1-2 configuration on NW Airlink's fleet of new CRJ-900 aircraft? Methinks not likely. If those RJs aren't grounded, they will be reconfigured with 16-18 seats where those 12 are now. Need more butts in more seats who've forked over more lucre to keep the FTMTOCFTURM&AL fires burning.

What are the chances that bins full of warm Northwest midnight blue blankets will be found, as they are now, after the merger? Nada. Gotta scrape up more wampum to funnel to the FTMTOCFTURM&AL.

Beyond first class, will the new owners keep all four World Club locations open at vast DTW? Despite the fact that I've never been in any of the four clubs when they weren't brimming with customers, I'd be surprised if Delta kept more than three alive. Bucks saved could be paying FTMTOCFTURM&AL's post-merger invoices, after all.

On reflection, though, I probably shouldn't shed a tear for the death of Northwest and the concurrent demise of its first class service. What's it all about, anyway? The airline that's left when the last red compass logo is painted over will have shrunk considerably. And probably, in another decade or less, disappear altogether.

I never thought I'd think this, let alone say it, but when that day arrives, I won't shed a tear then, either.


Blogger William A. Allen III said...

My friend, Judy Guffey writes via email:

One of the BEST lounges I've ever had the opportunity to spend eleven (yes, eleven) hours in is the NW lounge at Narita. Hope it continues in operation....ask Joe Brancatelli about the beer dispenser. My husband couldn't praise it highly enough.

For some reason I couldn't get into my 'blogger' account to post it on the site...but for what it's two cents on NW lounges.

Have a great day....aloha, Judy

6/18/2008 11:20 AM  

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