Friday, August 31, 2007

More Insanity from NWA

I continue to be baffled by Northwest Airlines. I'm not surprised that they are still struggling to survive because basically they suck, but I am surprised that they make it so obvious just how stupid they are. I have been planning two trips from Duluth to Michigan (either Detroit or Flint, most likely).

Detroit is one of their hubs, as is Minneapolis. When you fly out of Duluth (on NWA) you will be flying to one of those two cities; there are no other choices. So for my first trip I was planning to fly to Flint in October. I was surprised to find a relatively low fare of $239 for the round-trip DLH-FNT flights. In each case I would have to change planes in Detroit.

Then I started shopping for round-trip airfare to Detroit in November. The lowest available fare is $680. My first thought is that they must be having a major fare increase between mid-October and mid-November. So, I decide to look up the Duluth-Detroit for the same dates in October when I an traveling to Flint. I was surprised to see that the fare was once again $680 and up.

So, here's the deal-ee-oh. I can fly from Duluth to Detroit to Flint for $239 or I can fly from Duluth to Detroit (on the same flight as above) and NOT fly to Flint for $680. I cannot find any way in the world to think of that as anything less than TOTALLY STUPID.

Just to see whether this is a complete anomaly I decided to check another flight. What about flying through the other hub in Minneapolis? Round-trip from DLH-MSP is $399. If I keep flying from MSP and travel on to St. Louis my cost drops to $249. That's right, I save $150 by taking another seat on another flight and eating more lousy pretzels and being sneered at by more disgruntled employees. Still, that's nothing compared to the $441 I save by flying on to Flint rather than staying in Detroit.

Airline pricing has never made perfect sense, but they seem to be reaching an all-time high in stupidity. BTW, I try to teach my children not to use the word "stupid," but I just can't help myself when I can't find another word without sacrificing accuracy.

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