Amidst the crossfire, an amusing pearl from a Northwest spokesperson:
"Beginning Friday morning, we noticed a spike in certain narrow body absenteeism"
"Narrow body", in this context, is Northwest speak for pilots.
Not to pick on Northwest in particular, but using such impersonal terms to address otherwise real people seems a sign of of modern times. Maybe technical definitions eliminate ambiguity, or maybe they preclude pain-inducing human bonds during times of economical duress for the company.
No matter the explanation, there is something terribly wrong with the distance, for I am a strong believer that there should be mutual loyalty between employees and employers. Treating each other as a collection of parts is never a good start.