Northwest Airlines Breaks The Bad News To Its Frequent Fliers

We hope all you Northwest Airlines frequent fliers secretly had a thing for Delta, because you’ve been merged.

Here’s the email Northwest sent, in case you missed it:

As a valued Northwest Airlines customer and WorldPerks® member, I wanted you to be among the first to hear that we have announced a merger with Delta Air Lines. Subject to regulatory review, our two airlines are joining forces to create America’s premier global airline which, upon closing of the merger, will be called Delta Air Lines.

By combining Northwest and Delta, we are building a stronger, more resilient airline that will be a leader in providing customer service and value. Our combined airline will offer unprecedented access to the world, enabling you to fly to more destinations, have more flight choices and more ways than ever to earn and redeem your WorldPerks miles.

You can be assured that your WorldPerks miles and Elite program status will be unaffected by this merger. In addition, you can continue to earn miles through use of partners like WorldPerks Visa®. And once the new Delta Air Lines emerges you can look forward to being a part of the world’s largest frequent flyer program with expanded benefits.

The combined Delta Air Lines will serve more U.S. communities and connect to more worldwide destinations than any global airline. Our hubs – both Delta’s and Northwest’s – will be retained and enhanced. We will be the only U.S. airline to offer direct service from the United States to all of the world’s major business centers in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa and around North America.
Both airlines bring tremendous strengths to this new partnership. Our complementary service networks form an end-to-end system that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. This is a merger by addition, not subtraction, which means all of our hubs – both Northwest’s and Delta’s – will be retained. In addition, building on both airlines’ proud, decades-long history of serving small communities, we plan to enhance global connections to small towns and cities across the U.S.

All of these positive benefits of our combination mean that we can:

* Offer a true global network where our customers will be able to fly to more destinations, have more schedule options and more opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles in what will become the world’s best and most comprehensive frequent flyer program.
* Continue to serve our current roster of destinations and to maintain our hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
* Improve our customers’ travel experience, through new products and services including enhanced self-service tools, better bag-tracking technology, more onboard services, including more meal options, new seats and refurbished cabins.

While we work to secure approval of our merger, which may take up to 6 to 8 months, it will be business-as-usual at both airlines. We will continue to operate as independent airlines and the people of Northwest will remain focused on providing you with the very best in safe, reliable and convenient air travel. At the same time, both airlines will be planning for a seamless integration of our two airlines, one that delivers to you the enhanced benefits that will earn – and retain – your preference.

As we work through this process, we will keep you informed at every step along the way. Thank you for your business and we look forward to serving you on your next Northwest flight.

Sincerely,

Bob Soukup
Managing Director, WorldPerks

Christopher Elliott, from whose blog we lifted this touching bit of correspondence, isn’t sure he’s buying it. Neither are we.

Is Delta-Northwest merger really creating “a leader in providing customer service and value”? [Elliott]

Comments

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  1. bellesouth says:

    CRAAAP! I have been in Northworst’s Worldperks program for like a million years and have yet to earn a flight. Mostly because I have to saw off a limb to afford air fare these days and they keep raising the number of miles you have to have.

    This sucks. Now all the planes are going to fly into Atlanta, the crappiest hub ever. I hate American, and I also hate an airline that Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport.

    I am annoyed.

  2. mariospants says:

    I had a buddy who set prices for Delta airlines. In addition to doing the math and accounting to set profitable prices, he occasionally took requests from friends and lowered fares for an hour for specific flights. Used to drive the competition crazy, apparently because they could never quite figure out why Delta had lowered the prices on those fares at those times (probably believed there was a trade show they hadn’t heard of but Delta had). He’s not there anymore, Delta, don’t worry.

  3. chemmy says:

    Meh… I never used one airline long enough to accrue miles for flights… I just use them to get other stuff like magazine subscriptions.

  4. SadSam says:

    Well all those WorldPerk people will be on par with Delta SkyMiles people, like me, and unable to ever use those stinkin’ miles.

  5. ThunderRoad says:

    This merger is a glorious screwing of the customers. Oh, and the state of Minnesota too who has spent millions to prop up and bail out NWA.

    68,000 miles of my NWA account. I need to figure out how to cash them out or something.

  6. bizzz says:

    we already are on par with you. I have 100k miles with NW and they are pretty much worthless.

    Have to use double the miles to get past the restrictions (there’s never any flights at the lower mile rate…..never). So instead of four tickets, I can only get two. So, then I have to buy two regular priced NW tickets (for the kids) which is much more expensive than just buying four tickets off of orbitz or travelocity, etc. And the fare buster limit totally blows any chance of using the miles for europe, hawaii or mexico (I’ll be damned if I bank another 40k miles with them).

    They don’t even have any decent options to cash them in for worthless merchandise (other than magazine subscriptions). I should just donate the miles and take the write off.

  7. raleel says:

    *shrug* I was able to use Delta SkyMiles a couple years ago to go to Hawaii with the missus. Going to use some more in the fall to fly her out to the east coast with me for a getaway.

  8. jamar0303 says:

    Well, this is just lovely. I actually kind of liked Northwest (over United, at least- eww). On the other hand, the one time I flew Delta I hated it (and it was business class- didn’t feel like it).

  9. My worst CS experiences have been on Delta, so I stopped flying them.

    Then I had a new worst experience on NWA, and discovered (here) that they had hired Delta’s CEO. So I wrote them a polite letter explaining that I had put Delta back on my list and taken NWA off. (Because really, how many airlines can you refuse to fly on.)

    Now all of my shenanigans turn out to be for naught.

  10. WTRickman says:

    >Our hubs – both Delta’s and Northwest’s – will be retained and enhanced.

    My prediction is that Memphis will be the first to go… followed by Detroit. That will leave Delta with hubs at ATL, CVG, MSP, and SLC. There’s no way they’ll keep two southern hubs and two northern hubs.

    Remember that American said they wouldn’t close the St. Louis hub when they bought TWA? But hell, they had Chicago – they didn’t need STL.

  11. gamehendge2000 says:

    How can anyone possibly call NWA worthless when they’re the only ones with a direct Bos->AMS flight?

  12. DeafChick says:

    I just posted my thoughts in the other thread. I am pissed. I was planning on using the Worldperks on one of their partner airlines(Korean Air) for my trip overseas.

  13. BigElectricCat says:

    I stopped being a frequent traveler several years ago, but I still have a boatload of Delta and United miles. And I’ve never had a problem using them. You just have to make your plans far in advance, and you have to be flexible with your dates and times of your flights.

    If you wait until the last minute and/or you’re not flexible on time & date, you’ll get screwed with the free flights.

  14. almondwine says:

    I’ll be surprised if this gets approved. Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN-8) is the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and he’s both anti-merger and from Minnesota. Since a merger with Delta is bad for the Minnesota economy, there’s little chance he’ll just let this one sail through.

  15. LionelEHutz says:

    Oh crap. The only good thing for me is that maybe they’ll combine my Delta & Northwest miles.

  16. rg says:

    It’s a little suspicious that a letter (email?) would be sent out like this before the merger has even been approved and any details have been settled. I’m beginning to think Consumerist is becoming the Enquirer of the net.

  17. rg says:

    .

  18. almondwine says:

    @rg:
    Be as suspicious as you want – the email went out. NWA.com has very similar text at [preview.tinyurl.com]

  19. AD8BC says:

    Since 1998, I have been a Northwest customer, flying them almost exclusively until moving to Dallas last year. I have earned almost 1.1 million miles on Northwest, and I have about 420,000 left to use.

    I cannot recall one time where I had a poor customer experience on Northwest. Sure, I have seen weather delays and mechanical delays, and one time where they overcharged me for changing a ticket (one nicely worded letter got me a refund).

    The “new” Detroit airport is one of the nicest hub-size airports I have ever seen (the old Detroit sucked, mind you). I agree, Memphis will probably go, it’s a crappy little hub airport.

    To those of you complaining about airfares, I have difficulty understanding why. Most of my flights, with a two-week advance notice (sometimes less) and a Saturday night stay coninue to be relatively reasonable, $200-$350 or so, mostly Dallas-Chicago flights, some Dallas-LAX, Dallas-Atlanta, Dallas-Memphis, Dallas-Columbus have been my main routes in the past year. You just need to plan ahead.

  20. ChChChacos says:

    Seems like the majority of the posts are against Delta, I think Delta is far better than NWA even if you have to deal with hubs like Atlanta. I hate Detroit (NWA’s hub). NWA makes you pay for silly things on flights too, like a bag of chips along with your soda they serve. As I recall on Delta, that’s a part of the flight. And let’s all think back 6-8 months ago when NWA was cancelling all of their flights at the end of the month because the pilot’s had flown too many hours. Whose fault was that? ( [www.jetwhine.com] 0 )

  21. almondwine says:

    @rg:
    Be as suspicious as you want – the email went out. NWA.com has very similar text at [preview.tinyurl.com]

  22. sleze69 says:

    I just flew on Northwest for the first time last week. Hopefully now that they are merging with Delta, they will implement some sort of zonal boarding policy as opposed to the free-for-all that occurs after first class, elite and kids board.

    I kinda feel sorry for the people I had to step on to secure my overhead space.

  23. sonic0boom says:

    If you have beaucoup NWA points but don’t like flying Delta, use them on Sky Team partners like Continental. I’ve always had points on NWA/KLM flights applied directly to my Continental onepass account and have used them back on NWA/KTL flights. Never been a problem.

  24. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @chemmy:

    WN (Southwest) offers double RapidReward points for anyone from 18-24, with 4 bonus just for signing up…so 3 trips and you get one free. I’ve never had a problem finding a seat to redeem on either. And if you’re over 24…well….just add a few years to your birth year on signup!

  25. BigElectricCat says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: Good luck getting to Paris or Tokyo with those Southwest coupons.

  26. BigElectricCat says:

    @LUV2CattleCall:

    Um, yeah. Good luck getting to Paris or Tokyo on Southwest.

  27. meh. I burned all my remaining NW miles awhile back for a free trip to Paris, including one leg in business class, for the “saver” mileage amount which I had not seen in a long time.

    the “saver” flights are out there. you have to be flexible with dates, times, partners, and routings. this trip is on Air France BOS-CDG in business class and CDG-PHL-BOS in coach. beats the alternative of BOS-DTW-CDG on NW metal.

    the DTW hub isn’t going anywhere. you don’t walk away from a billion-dollar terminal. MEM and CVG are toast, and good riddance to MEM.

  28. taka2k7 says:

    I burned about 40K last year on NWA for a trip to Malaysia. Still, i had to pay all the damn fees and such. Probably saved about 50% over the normal $1500 plane ticket though. About 65K left.

    MSP has a nice USO if I remember correctly. I usually load up (no not ‘load up’) a USO before getting on a any flight. DFW USO rocks. The ones that don’t work well are those outside of security. Can’t bring the drinks back through.

  29. BigElectricCat says:

    @geeniusatwrok: Word on the DTW terminal. Pretty plush, even if you don’t have a Worldclubs pass.