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Northwest pilot shortage continues

If you're planning to fly Northwest in the near future, you may want to make alternate arrangements. The airline has canceled more than 600 flights this past week because it doesn't have enough pilots, and things look grim for the upcoming final weeks of busy summer travel. Northwest has cut back its August schedule to avoid more cancellations; unfortunately, this is a problem that has no quick-fix solution.

To address the pilot shortage, Northwest is planning to hire up to 250 pilots in the upcoming year, and recall and retrain furloughed pilots.

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If you do find yourself on a cancelled Northwest flight, you are entitled to a few reparations:

  • A phone card of up to five minutes in call time
  • A coupon valid for either Northwest WorldPerks mileage or a beverage or headset on board the plane (domestic flights)
  • A coupon valid for either Northwest WorldPerks mileage, a meal in the airport, or a beverage or headset on board the plane (international flights)
  • Discount coupons to put toward future Northwest tickets

If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours, you'll receive additional vouchers and/or compensation. And, if Northwest cancels a flight and cannot re-route you on the same day of departure, the airline will "make every effort to provide, at Northwest's expense, hotel accommodations near the airport and a voucher for meals."

Keep in mind these concessions are due to you if Northwest is responsible for canceling the flight, and the cancellation is not due to weather or other factors outside the company's control.

Not having enough pilots to fly would certainly apply.

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