Heard in Washington National today from a harried Northwest gate agent: “Folks, I hate to tell you that we’re still not going to Minneapolis. A window in the cockpit is broken and maintenance personnel are looking at it now. We just haven’t been able to do anything right with flight 477.”

A refreshing bit of honesty.

Unfortunately, I was then subjected (as often happens) to listening to Northwest flight attendants and gate agents loudly complaining about passengers before take-off. Don’t they know other passengers are listening? Is Northwest management completely oblivious to this behavior? I spent one recent flight in first class with the lone flight attendant complaining to me that management never listens to front line employees and that management is ruining the airline.

Message to Northwest: Get some secret shoppers on those planes and listen to what they tell you!