Over the weekend, I took number one son to a lovely bar mitzvah in Minneapolis. It’d been years since I’d flown into Minneapolis, but I still noticed something different about the airport.
Northwest Airlines is gone.
Living close to one of the busiest international airports in the US, I often forget that Minneapolis has been a major international hub since the beginning of cross Pacific flights. For decades, Northwest (sometimes called Northwest Orient) flew direct from MSP to Asia.
As seen in this 1947 ad, one could fly non-stop from Minneapolis to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, or Manila. Cue the old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other.”
For just two years later, in May of 1949, Northwest suspended flights to Shanghai. China was in the throes of civil war and after October 1, 1949, Shanghai would go into semi-hibernation for decades.
I remember flying Northwest to Tokyo, then boarding a quick (well, five hour) flight to Hong Kong. In fact, my first flight to Hong Kong in 1990 was on Northwest.
Now that Northwest has been absorbed into Delta, reminders of the golden years of travel have all but disappeared at Minneapolis-St. Paul.