03 January 2010

Alas Poor Yorick (aka Northwest)

Every year - I clean out old files and occasionally tackle a long list of things which in the US is known as the "Honey Do" list. This is of course of my own making. So I was reviewing my frequent flyer file. Whereas at one time it was more than 40 carriers deep it has now shrunk to less than 10. And this got me thinking about one of my favorite airlines.

The final chapter in Northwest's history is being written as we speak. While not exactly legendary for their customer service - they have a lot of history that was unique. Northwest Airways, Northwest Airlines, Northwest Orient and back to Northwest Airlines again. It absorbed amongst others its neighbour Republic which included Hughes Airwest, North Central and others.

Well known as being frugal - at one time there were no doors on the bathrooms so that executives and staffers wouldn't have the temptation to hide in the WC during the day. Not that the surroundings were luxurious - for the longest time the corporate HQ was the hanger at MSP.

Effective this month the airline of Don Nyrop and Colonel Lewis Brittin will soon be no more. The airline whose heritage includes Howard Hughes second string airlines and rather infamously D B Cooper will lose its last vestiges of independence as it is swallowed up into the world's largest airline Delta. It is already operating on a single certificate. The attempted bombing of NW253 should not have escaped anyone's notice that the actual A330 was painted in DL colours.

From my side it is a small degree of poignancy. My father and I both worked on the advertising account for Northwest at different times in our careers.

So here's to Northwest and its long history. I am confident that the legacy will live on.


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