Northwest to disappear this year

Remember Eastern? Pan Am? Well, the next one to join the list of airline has-beens will be Northwest.

Northwest Airlines may have made it to the beginning of 2010, but won’t see another New Year’s Eve. The carrier, which was acquired by Delta in October 2008, has received permission from the FAA to ditch the Northwest name and operate the whole deal as Delta. The cutover process for “legacy Northwest” is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter.

There are, of course, some kinks to be worked out. The entire Northwest operation needs to be folded into that of Delta, and everything from routes to labor to the codes on boarding passes need to be sorted out. Though some groups within Northwest have sorted out contracts and seniority lists, flight attendants, gate and reservation agents and ramp workers still have some work in front of them. Prior to the merger, Northwest was, according to The Associated Press, “heavily unionized,” and Delta wasn’t.

Fortunately, a lot of heavy lifting has been done already. More than 80 percent of the planes once labeled Northwest have been repainted for Delta, the two frequent flier programs have been consolidated and crews are standardized on one set of uniforms.