I vow never to fly Northwest Airlines again.

All right, I’m doing this evil out-of-order blogging thing because I’ve been too busy to actually write stuff here (starting with Chicago trip of um…several weeks ago, still not mentioned), but right now I’m pissed off and need to vent my spleen. I don’t get pissed off very often.

NORTHWEST AIRLINES … are a bunch of fuckers who have lost my business permanently. Did I say fuckers? That doesn’t really imply a negative association…heck, I’d like to be more of a fucker myself, but girls who tolerate wierd nerds (and, simultaneously, want a fucking) are hard to come by. Motherfuckers? Well, these days, with half the population over 25 already having pumped out a crying little unit, that’s hardly stigmatized (/ avoidable) either. How about “fuckers of their very own respective mothers”? Yeah, that’s more like it.

We were booked to leave Sunday afternoon, giving us plenty of time to set up our equipment for the next day, check into our hotel, have a nice dinner and maybe hit the pubs of Ann Arbor for a bit. A few hours before the flight my coworker CL, the brains of the whole project, gets a recorded phone message that our flight has been cancelled. But NWA have been nice enough to rebook it for…6AM Monday morning. Woohoo, alarm clock set for 4:00am, hand-soldering teeny DB-44 connectors Monday morning/afternoonish (after our intern did them with all the wires swapped, and we found out about it that afternoon) with bloodshot eyes and the clock ticking. By the time we get all set up, it’s been a long nasty day and we decide we may as well piss off for the day and start spinning bright and early tomorrow.

Anyway, one thing after another with the test stand and related hardware (and a scare with our DAQ cards threatening a dirt nap at the exactly worst possible moment), but we finish up a day early and call in to bump our return flight from Friday eveningish to Thurs. morning, so as to get back to Boston and actually get some stuff done on a different project (final report due THIS SUNDAY, so it um…kinda has to be working by then, which it isn’t.) No problem, flight changed, $100 charge to do this, but it’s well worth it to get back and get some extra lab time in (and besides, it’s not MY project paying for it ;).

So we’re headed to Detroit Metro Airport bright and early, optimistic even, thinking we might even be able to catch one earlier if there are seats available. About 10 miles out CL’s phone rings. “Bet it’s those Northwest fuckers cancelling our flight again”, I quipped. Nope, just CL’s wife on the line, and we’re breathing easy. Then it rings again. It was those Northwest fuckers cancelling our flight again.

“Cancelled?”, you say? “But flights get delayed or cancelled all the time, predicting the weather isn’t an exact science.” Except this wasn’t cancelled due to the un-Detroitlike bright and sunny weather, but, so far as I can determine, to cut costs and freeze out workers as part of an ongoing labor dispute, screwing over everyone else (also known as “customers”) in the process.

So anyway… we get rebooked on another at 1:00pm. Booked standby, but they don’t tell us that. That flight is about 2x oversold, because of course, the who-knows-how-many other passengers on the same cancelled flight wound up the exact same place. Needless to say, we weren’t on it. To top all, ticket-counter guy starts giving CL attitude when trying to find out what our other options are.

Ticket Counter Douche: “I don’t see what gives you the right to be upset, Sir, this isn’t even the flight you originally booked…you were supposed to be on the xxxx.”
CL: “You cancelled the xxxx.”
Ticket Counter Douche: “Oh…” <shuts up>

So rebooked standby on the oversold 3pm. Wait around, wait around, thumbs up asses, I’m curled up in a seat at the terminal with a laptop, oscilloscope (surprised as hell we got THAT past airport security), and the prototype boards I need to get working by Sunday night. It was a pretty sad little sight, me sitting in the terminal with a Digikey box of electronics parts sprawled out in the seat next to me, trying to mod a board without a soldering iron (didn’t even TRY to get one of those past security). Speaking of which, have you noticed how airport restaurants, even comparatively ‘good’ ones, have to give you a plastic knife and fork? CL seemed mildly shocked and appalled. They did have heavy glass salt and pepper shakers though, which would be almost equally as effective when directed at the base of a hypothetical pilot’s skull. But I digress.

And then rebooked standby on the 5pm. Nope! No dice there.

But there’s another one at 7-something.

When we got NAK’ed on the last one, we ran like little running bastards to be first in the standby line. Good thing too, because it turned out to have exactly two seats available. The rest of those poor fuckers from noon (and probably other cancelled flights we didn’t know about) would have to try their luck at the next one, 9pm.

At least we have seats, but for one last little kick in the nuts, they’re both middle seats. I hate the middle seat! Sandwiched between these two fat old birds overflowing their seats and armrests.

So let’s recap:

* Flights cancelled: TWICE (To stick it to workers threatening a strike. Apparently a little collateral damage is acceptable)
* Charge to rebook on a flight to get us home earlier, that didn’t get us home earlier.
* Forget about a simple apology; instead, snotty attitude from staff.
* Three times standby roulette, shuffling our mountains of crap from terminal to terminal.
* Eight hours sitting on our numb asses in the craptastic airport, listening to the sounds of deadlines approaching.
* 2 overpriced airport meals of balancing luggage on seats and plastic forks.
* Hacking and bootloading broken firmware onto bare boards amid dirty looks for hogging both of the only electrical outlets at human-reachable level (one for scope, one for wall-wart that just happens to fit the DC socket I added to the board layout as an afterthought).
* More oversized old bats sitting in my seat than me sitting in my seat.
* Hunting for our checked luggage at Logan after it beat us there by 8hrs (all torn open by security, of course. Because everyone travels with handmade helicopter rotor blades with bundles of wires sticking out of them).

I bet they don’t even refund our $100.


One Response to “I vow never to fly Northwest Airlines again.”

  1. Brundlefly says:

    YES. I arrived home two DAYS late because of these bastards. A pox on all their houses.

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