Continental Airlines will officially be a thing of the past in two weeks. Although the Continental Airlines-United Airlines merger was approved in 2010, the airlines will officially begin life as United Airlines, as reported by USA Today. The airline industry heavyweights will form the largest air carrier in the world. As the Houston Chronicle reports, the change will happen during the first week of March, but no exact date was provided.
What does the change mean to flights?
For the most part, passengers will not notice any significant changes because the airlines have been viewed as one carrier since late 2011 by the Federal Aviation Administration, as USA Today indicates. The biggest change is the end of the Continental name, which has been around since the 1930s, as passengers will only purchase tickets to fly on United Airlines, the Houston Chronicle reports.
What will the change mean to frequent flier programs?
While the Continental website indicates the clubs operated by the airlines in airports across the country were combined into the United Club in October, separate websites and log-in information were maintained for United's MileagePlus and Continental's OnePass program, USA Today mentions. The Chronicle reports only MileagePlus will survive the transition, and customer data will be migrated into a single rewards program.
What took so long to complete the process?One of the biggest obstacles was the change in computer systems and technology infrastructure that had to occur, the Chicago Tribune reports. The report highlights widespread glitches and delays in 2007 when US Airways merged with America West and weeks of glitches last year when Virgin America upgraded its reservation system. However, the Chicago Tribune points out in a different report of small changes that impacted the merger such as sizes of coffee pots and food service menus. It also attributes the massive undertaking of repainting a fleet of airplanes to bear a single company logo, which will not be completed before the March switch.
How many flights will the new United Airlines fly?While a cut in routes is possible, a news release from Orbitz Worldwide indicated United, Continental and regional affiliates of those airlines operate nearly 6,000 flights with service to 376 cities every day.
Jason Gallagher is a former travel professional with a decade of experience in the industry. He remains an avid traveler and hotel fan with exposure to technology and trends in properties across the United States.
- Continental Airlines
- United Airlines