Back from Outer Mongolia.

Also known as Detroit.

Well, technically I wasn’t ever actually in Detroit itself, but close enough.

Somebody please remind me NOT TO EVER FLY ON A NORTHWEST FLIGHT AGAIN UNTIL THE MERGER WITH DELTA IS COMPLETE. Seriously. Why, when we had checked in online and had our boarding passes in hand, did we have to wait in FOUR LINES just to drop off our one checked bag? (Kiosk line TWICE, skycap once, and then full-service agent line.) Fortunately, a very nice airport employee took pity on me after seeing flames shoot out of my head, and took care of it without us having to wait in the ridiculously long 4th line to speak to an agent.

And the Detroit airport? We had a 3 1/2 hour wait after our plane landed before my brother-in-law’s plane landed – then we were going to get a rental car and head out to Farmington Hills. Having had nothing to eat since 4 am except a tiny pack of peanuts (pretty much all they had for sale on the plane was junk food – chips, cookies, crackers), we’d planned on having lunch at the airport while we were waiting. But since the DTW airport hasn’t joined the rest of the world, once we reclaimed our luggage, there was no place to get anything to eat – other than a small gift shop that had some bags of chips and crackers. I’d been concerned about that, but the husband insisted that SURELY that size of airport would have some food available outside of the secured areas, and he didn’t want to leave the luggage circling around on the belt while we got something to eat. And sure enough, the airport maps showed a coffee shop and a cafe in the two luggage areas. But what the maps didn’t tell you was that they had both been closed down. We asked several different airport employees who all said there was no food to be had unless you could get back into the secured areas. Yeah, right.

We finally decided to go get the rental car, find some place to grab a quick lunch, and then come back to the airport to pick up the rest of the family – when the Pontiff spotted an airport directional sign that listed “hotel” as one of the destinations. If there was a hotel at the airport, wouldn’t they have a restaurant? We followed the signs and found a lovely Westin hotel just off the ticketing area. And yes, they had a restaurant (obviously the airport employees are clueless about that). We dragged our bags through the hotel and to the restaurant, where the greeter was clearly used to seating travelers with their luggage. The hotel lobby/courtyard/restaurant were calm and serene, with a Japanese-inspired decor. A forest of huge bamboo trees (not real, but attractive and impressive), reflecting pools lined with river stones, and even a little glass of sand with a tiny river stone on each table to play with. The cocktails we ordered certainly helped a bit too. In fact, we felt so much better by the time we’d finished our delicious meals, that we didn’t even flinch when the $50 lunch bill arrived. And we even had time to spend about a half hour in the nice sitting area utilizing the free wi-fi before heading back over to the luggage claim area to meet the rest of our group.

I love going on trips. But I sure hate the travel part.

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16 Responses to Back from Outer Mongolia.

  1. Amy says:

    Yup. The travel part sucks. Especially during a merger. I still remember when NW and Republic merged. {shiver}

  2. margene says:

    You did a good job of taking care of yourselves. It must feel good to be home.

  3. Norma says:

    Yes indeed. And especially to be without food and exhausted, there almost seems to be no recovery from that! Sorry there was that crappy part to deal with. Glad you’re back safely.

  4. thea says:

    Even after Delta, you want to stay away from that airport. I used to travel there for business fairly regularly and it always always always sucked. Between the delays, the layout of the airport, the bitter employees and the sucky airport food, it was a joke between my co workers and I that the Detroit Apt. really was the 7th Circle of Hell.. Much better when I got to fly to Miami!!

  5. Chris says:

    Ugh. You’ve just reminded me why I hate to fly – all the hassles.

  6. Nora says:

    Ew. I used to compare the Northwest terminal at DTW to Calcutta – and then feel bad that I had insulted Calcutta. It’s awful. I’m glad you survived!

  7. Anne says:

    Detroit is a pit. NW has sucked the big one for years, even BEFORE the Delta merger. I would rather have each fingernail pulled out slowwwly than deal with either A) Detroit or B) Northwest.

  8. joan says:

    Lovely, my 16 year old son flies from Buffalo to Detroit and then on to Frankfort in a few weeks – via Northwest. I must plan some brainless knitting for 48 solid hours of worry.

    Next time you’re in Detroit, I’ll try to arrange a weekend at my sister’s place which is half way between the airport and Farmington Hills.

  9. Carrie says:

    Wow. I thought Delta sucked ass. The fact that there’s an airline out there that’s worse frightens me deeply.

  10. susan says:

    I have never had a good experience on Northwest. Ever.

  11. Stacey says:

    Welcome back from hell


  12. Cookie says:

    Thank goodness you survived and have returned home safely!

  13. Robby says:

    Oh yes, the joys of modern travel. We flew about a week ago for the first time on Southwest. Um, three hour delay = arrival at 2:15am. Whoopee! Not sure I’ll be flying them again soon. Although the staff was terribly apologetic about it.

  14. Elizabeth in Apex, NC says:

    Yeah, Northwest completely stinks, and they are jerks about it. They left our luggage in Raleigh when the plane had a malfunctioning light. We all got to our destination, but our luggage took THREE days because no one would go out to the dang plane – which was sitting there still not working – to get it out. (Even after we told them what happened, and a spouse went to yell at them about it.)

    As for Detroit, I know nothing except its reputation, which ain’t so good. No reflection on the people who live there intended; I’ve met many who are very nice.

  15. Carrie K says:

    Sounds horrifying. At least they haven’t hiked their fares much. I hope.

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