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Conferences - GLGDW 2006

The scoop on the 2006 Great Lakes Great Database Workshop.

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GLGDW 2006


Let's face it. Airlines suck. It's unbelievable how an entire industry can get away with treating their customers so badly, and then bitch and moan about their financial problems. Duh. Well, fortunately, there's one choice that doesn't suck quite as badly as the others. I'm talking about Midwest Airlines.


If you live in or near a city served by Midwest Airlines (used to be "Midwest Express"), try them out. Better than first class service at coach prices - you will not be disappointed. Originally the captive airlines of Kimberly-Clark, a large paper manufacturer in central Wisconsin, they separated and went public about fifteen years ago. But they still run the airline as if every passenger is a CEO or member of the Board.


Up until a couple of years ago, every Midwest Express jet had just two seats on each side of the aisle - and these are the big, first-class size, leather seats, not those rinky-dinky seats on the cattle-car airlines. Arm rests, plenty of leg room - these are the best seats in the air. I've had my notebook computer open on my tray table at the same time I was eating lunch. OK, it was a little cramped, but, yes, there's that much room.

Nowadays, they've separated their service into two categories - Signature and Saver. Signature (typically, routes in the Midwest and the East) are still the two/two seating. Saver (typically, Florida and the West coast) has reverted to a more typical three/two or three/three seating - but there is still more room than the cattle car eco-class of other airlines.


Before the recent industry cutbacks, meals used to be incredible. I've flown hundreds of thousands of miles on ME over the years, and have yet to have anything less than delicious. I've even eaten the seafood dishes! Real silverware, real china, salt and pepper in little crystal shakers, complimentary champagne, but it looks like that's gone the way of the do-do bird. Now the meals are sort of ordinary, not much different than what you'd find on any other airline. However, on selected flights, the dessert is a pair of warm chocolate chip cookies - made on the flight! So it's still better than flying one of the majors.


Prices are quite reasonable. I've flown (from Milwaukee) to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Boston - each for under $250. Of course, if you book at the last minute, you'll probably pay premium rates - a flight booked a week before to Atlanta ran about $900 - but that's far from the norm.

Where do they fly?

Well, I've provided a link to their website for more details. But here's a quick rundown of most of the cities...
West: San Francisco (April-December), Las Vegas, LA, Phoenix
Mountain: Denver, San Antonio, Dallas, Omaha, Kansas City
Midwest: Grand Rapids, Cleveland, Toronto, Columbus
South: Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Ft Myers, Ft Lauderdale (last 3 are seasonal)
East: Boston, Hartford, La Guardia, Newark, Philly, D.C. Dulles, D.C. National
They keep adding routes, so you you should check out their way-cool route information. It's an interactive Java applet that is pretty darn interesting.

Note: They have match-ups with Skyway Airlines and American Eagle - these are NOT the same as the original Midwest Express flights.


Finally - this airline is so nice - even the counter people in New York are nice! Yes, that's how good this airline is! Check out the Midwest Express website

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