Northwest cancels flights, flights, and more flights

It's so perfect that while searching Google News for coverage of the current tidal wave of Northwest flight cancellations, I'd come across an article placing the airline last in a customer satisfaction survey. I think it's safe to assume that this latest meltdown ensures that Northwest is really earning that poor satisfaction rating.

By looking at Northwest's site, you wouldn't even know there's a problem, since there's no mention of the cancellations. The most comprehensive information I've found comes from Joe Brancatelli, business travel expert and the Joe-in-charge of JoeSentMe. In an email he sent out this morning to members, he details how the airline canceled 14 percent (193) flights yesterday, 159 flights on Saturday, and has already canceled 82 flights today. He cites one to two percent as the industry standard for canceled flights, so this pattern is certainly cause for alarm and frustration.

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Brancatelli points to Northwest's severe understaffing as the cause of the debacle, and says, "at this point, there's no reason to think that the cancellations will ease after today." Having gotten his hands on an internal Northwest memo about the cancellations, he advises travelers to, "Change your flight if you can," and goes on to say that this situation, "bodes badly for travel on Northwest at the end of July, August, and September, too. Needless to say, I wouldn't book Northwest after the middle of any of the upcoming months."

Since Northwest won't level with us, it's good to get advice from someone who will. Thanks, Joe.

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