Delta and Northwest Consummate Their Merger

Delta, Mergers/Finance, Northwest

Looks like it’s a done deal. Delta and Northwest cleared the last hurdle in their merger effort yesterday when the DOJ approved the deal without any changes. Now, one of the oldest names in American skies will disappear under the Delta name. I’m not going to spend too much time on this, because you can go to just about any blog or news outlet and get the scoop, but I couldn’t just let it go without at least saying something.

08_02_21 dlnwmergerFor those who just want the basics, Northwest is now officially a subsidary of Delta, and the integration will continue to move forward. That’s about it. Now the hard work starts.

Northwest has been around under the same name (with an “Orient” thrown in here and there) since 1926. You can get the whole history of the airline here on Northwest’s site. You might be surprised to learn some of the good things that Northwest has contributed to the world of aviation over the years.

I know that many will not miss this airline at all, and I’m one of those people. I never had an affinity for Northwest, although my last flights were quite good. I also rarely had much of a reason to head to the Upper Midwest, Northwest’s home territory. But any time we see a name with more than 80 years of history disappear, it’s at the very least a bittersweet day. For my friends who work at the airline, it’s an extremely sad day indeed. Now that the deal is done, reality will start setting in.

So, pour one out for Northwest this weekend, even if you didn’t have any love for them. Then sit back and see if all that merger planning will actually lead to a smooth integration.

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14 comments on “Delta and Northwest Consummate Their Merger

  1. Hi CF,

    No particular regrets this end either on the passing of NW. I only flew them once (LGW-MSP-LGW) on the much missed L-1011, and although it was a decade ago (and my brain has since turned to mush) I have the distinct feeling that we were sitting unfeasibly close to the front of that plane, yet still in Y-class. Other than that, a dull experience on a dull carrier – for UK flyers, the tie-up with KLM was the most attractive thing to recommend flying NW as it gave many non-London residents access via local airports. Not that I gave a monkeys about that – I only live 25 miles (yet 2 hours tube journey!!) from LHR.

  2. I’ve probably flown more miles on NWA than any other airline. Not always by choice, but a side effect when I moved to Minnesota and called MSP my home airport.

    There was an editorial in the Minneapolis paper over the summer about the bittersweet end of NWA. Basically talked about how locals have always had nothing good to say about NWA until the Delta merger was announced. I’m sure over the coming years everyone here will hold similar disdain for Delta, joining what my friends in Atlanta have said for years.

    A year ago I would’ve had nothing good to say about NWA. Right now, oddly enough, I’m thinking about how Delta screwed me over and kept me stuck at ATL on a Friday night, or how United made me miss a connection flight at ORD because they couldn’t find a gate to park at, or how American left me stranded when their MD-80’s were all grounded. So everything people hated about Northwest is no different at the other majors.

    Say what you will about NWA in general, but they were the best airline for take-offs and landings in blizzards. I used to book winter flights around that knowledge. I could rest assured the red tails would be flying while the southern based airlines would cancel flights. Something that doesn’t get missed when you live in Minnesota. Best hopes that Delta keeps those Northwest pilots on board.

    Someday I’m sure people will look back on NWA like we do the likes of Pan Am, Eastern, TWA. I’m not so sure we’re better off having one less airline in the sky, but if history has told us anything, this is not the last airline to go.

  3. Bobber – you would’ve flown a DC-10 with Northwest. They never had the L1011. Believe that was Delta and TWA…and Eastern way back.

  4. Hi A – you’re right. My mistake. It was BA I flew the Tristar with. With that revelation any remotely pleasant/interesting experiences with NW have been purged!!

  5. Although I have never flown NW, the airline has always had a fond place in my heart. When I was in fifth and sixth grade, (1962-63), I must have written to every airline in the US asking for pictures (usually of recently retired DC-7s and Connies). Some responded better than others, but one day, I hit the jackpot. A yellow slip saying I had to pick up a package at the post office. When I got the package, it was a big cardboard tube with “air mail” stickers all over it. Inside were 16X20 photos and prints of a Northwest DC-6B, a DC-7C, a DC-8 (who remembers that NWA also flew the “eight”), and a 707.

    That made a huge impression on this kid.

  6. As someone who grew up right living near LGW I always remember seeing their silver DC-10s and 747s taking to the skies, as well as hearing their ads on my local radio station. Never flew with them, not something I ever aspired to tbh. The “Orient” part of their name always intrigued me though and hence why I felt it lost something when it was removed.

  7. Hey there,

    So glad this negotiation has come to an end. Since we’re based out of Atlanta for Jet Set Life and we use both airlines we were on pins and needles waiting for the outcome. Great Post Thank You.

    Warmest Regards,

  8. I’m with you… NWA in terms of an airline to fly on will not be missed. But 80 years of history, the Northwest Orient thing and such will all be missed.

    Wasn’t Northwest the only airline to fly the 40 series of the DC-10? Or was it that NWA only have DC-10s that were 40 series?

    Weren’t they they first to fly the 747-400?

    Being from Minnesota I’m glad to see their HQ leaving the state. I felt it was bad for the state the way the politicians bent over backwards for the airline. Hopefully those days are over. Especially with the high air fare part of it.

    …especially with SWA finally dipping it’s toe into the MSP.

  9. I have had a love-hate relationship with Northwest Airlines. I have detailed this a few times on, and I will be sad to see them go.

    As a kid I grew up off of JFK’s runway 4R/22L (aircraft departing 4L and 4R would bank right and come off my house as would most traffic from 13R and 13L). I used to love sitting on the garage roof and watching the cross branded NW/KL DC-10 coming in.

    My 8 year old daughter’s 3rd,4th,5th,6th flights of her life were on NW metal. JFK-DTW-SFO/SFO-MSP-JFK (her first and second flights were on TWA). The first leg left my wife and daughter stranded in Detroit when she was 2 months old, staying overnight due to delays…….joyous NWA memories.

    One funny memory with Northwest involved flying PVD-MSP for a photo shoot. My checked bag full of my lights never arrived at MSP. After an hour of looking it was determined the bag stayed on the aircraft and was headed for Las Vegas. Since I had no purpose in being in MSP without my bag, NWA stuck me on the next flight home and off I went. Upon arriving home at PVD I spotted my bag,which is hard to miss (it has my name in bright yellow paint marker on it).

    I went to the baggage office to claim it ,it turns out it was never loaded onto my flight.

    NWA did refund the entire $1200+ fare with some arguing.

    No idea why this story is funny to me, but it is.

    I always loved flying into NRT and seeing a see of NWA tails, same with AMS. It just makes me smile.

    ……….so long NWA


  10. Flew on NWA once either HKG-NRT-JFK or just NRT-HKG back in December ’88 when my family moved to the states. I remember how we had the bulkhead seat as my sister was just 2 years old at the time (wait… maybe not the bassinet but definitely the bulkhead in the middle column). They had Johnny 5 (or whatever that pre-Wall-E robot was) on the screen in the center .. accidentally spilled Sprite on the guy sitting next to my mom (oops) .. was a pleasant flight for my 11 year old self. The flight attendants were nice (in my memory) and by the time we landed in JFK we had about 5 deck of cards between myself and my brother.

    I think there was a weather issue in JFK so we were actually diverted to PHL for an hour or so and I remember the plane just sitting there and we weren’t allowed to deplane. Then later on we flew back to JFK and .. well, let’s just say a few delayed 747s arriving together at the same time didn’t make for a pretty scene at immigration. :D

    Since I started flying, however, have never even thought of flying with them.

  11. Before my morning coffee wakes me up I have another NWA memory. Years ago I had a friend whose father was an airline mechanic at the MSP base. Somehow he set up a tour of all their operations, including their flight training center a few miles away from the airport.

    That was like Christmas, New Years and my Birthday all rolled into one for an airline junkie. Most memorable was looking into the cargo hold of a 747 freighter. The volume is just immense. At that time I don’t think they were doing major overhauls at MSP but did get to see some 757’s in various stages of repair.

    The flight training center was interesting. Of course they wouldn’t let me jump into a flight simulator and take it for a spin. Got to look inside the 747-400 simulator. Yeah, little bit nicer than Microsoft Flight Simulator. They had several simulators there. I imagine ones for the whole NWA fleet. They made it sound like not all airlines have simulators and many leased time on NWA’s simulators for their own training. Seems like a good business to be in since they mentioned what it cost per hour and all I remember is thinking it was a lot, i.e. thousands.

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