Well, here comes the Continental/United merger…

Mentally, for me, the Continental/United merger just went from being an abstract thought to a reality. Check out this picture of the first Continental 737 being repainted in, well, Continental colors (with the United name stamped on it).

And rumor has it that starting October 1, Jeff Smisek will be appearing in the United safety videos as “United’s CEO.”

I love Continental and I love United. But darnit, I don’t like to be Conned!

Now I’m dying to know what will happen to the elite levels of the new airline (four tiers? will there be a 125,000 mile tier?) as well as the million miler program (Premier Executive for life as a million miler, or Silver status for member and a companion?)…

Filed Under: Continental, United
  1. It is going to be many, many moths before answers will come out for things like the FF program integration. Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Blaaaaaaaah.

    I’ll miss the Tulip. Guess it’s indicative of things changing. I’m hoping for the better, as for me it can only be a lose proposition for United as I am loyal to them now.

  3. This plane will probably be at Fleet Week (or one painted like it). Maybe I will be lucky and get to be on one of these planes on my way out to fleet week

  4. Lucky, would love to know where the “I love CO” sentiment comes from – don’t ever remember you mentioning that before! Honestly, I’m curious – sure the food is better than UA, and you can watch TV for free if in F on so-equipped planes…but what else is there? I’m really not getting it.

  5. @ Alex — Excellent Cliff Notes summary. šŸ˜‰

    @ Seth — Certainly going to be a while, though I wouldn’t say “many, many months.” I’m thinking we’ll have some information by early next year.

    @ SAN Greg — I’ll miss the tulip too. I realize I’m a bit biased, but it always cracked me up when former Northwest flyers lamented the end of the red tail. I can certainly appreciate that Northwest flyers were losing their airline (which was in many ways better than Delta), though I think us United flyers are losing more on the branding end of things.

    @ mowogo — That’s my understanding. Let’s try not to egg it. šŸ˜‰

    @ UA-NYC — Excellent point, I should clarify. I don’t personally “love” Continental, but I do think they’re a solid airline. Part of the reason I love United is because of their irrational policies. As someone that usually flies cheap fares, I almost always get the upgrade. United also takes GREAT care of elites. Simply put, at United, you either get a LOT more than you paid for or a LOT less than you paid for (I feel bad for someone that books full fare business class on United and gets stuck in a recliner seat).

    At the same time, Continental provides a fair value to all. I couldn’t care less about food, but they have reasonable “instant upgrade” fares, and generally their premium cabins are more reasonably priced.

    So as a consumer flying on my own dime I prefer United, but if I were running the airline, I’d prefer the Continental way of doing things. One major thing Continental needs to improve on, though, is taking care of elites, which is an area United is EXCELLENT in. Up until a couple of years ago Continental didn’t even prioritize the standby list by status, which seems to be indicative of how they generally treat elites. Though they’re getting better.

  6. I hope the United’s current 2 mm and 3 mm perks stay (using BIS as basis of calculation)…otherwise I have little incentive to fly the new United. I am loyal to the Tulip not the Globe. The new United and I need to establish new relationship.

    Long Live The Tulip!

  7. I doubt there will be a 125K tier, it would be a huge dilution of 1K, meaning 1K’s would be 3rd in line, hardly something worth chasing, many would just stick with 1P. And what benefits would this bring to the airline, do customers who fly 25K more bring in that much more revenue, the planes are full these days anyway. Above a certain threshold it makes sense to make it revenue based.

  8. @ UA_Flyer — Completely agree. I’m almost on the cusp of million miler, and it would sting bad if they changed the benefits there now.

    @ Nick — But you’re assuming they’ll be going with the United elite levels and not Continental elite levels. I can just as much see them going with Silver (25K), Gold (50K), Platinum (75K), and a 125K tier. If you’re going to have four, published elite tiers, I think it makes sense to make a bit of a jump from the 75K level.

  9. I am a loyal UA 1K and love United, but I am also a CO Plat and I Love CO. The problem is that everything I love about one kinda sucks on the other. This merger will either be terrible for me, or a dream come true. If they did what I want, here are the things I’d choose from each in order of importance to me:

    NO STARNET BLOCKING (Booked SFO-AKL in C for 2 on the first choice dates I wanted in about ten minutes on the first call with a friendly agent at CO) – CO
    VERY generous routing rules on award tickets without having to argue with the agent and call back several times just to find an agent that follows the airline’s actual policy – CO
    Excellent special treatment of elites, esp top tier – UA
    Very decent and sometimes actually delicious food in domestic F – CO
    Having DirecTV onboard – CO
    Having many extremely dedicated employees that really go above and beyond for the customer – UA
    *Almost* never having any (i’ve never noticed any as a plat in 2 years) surly rude lazy employees who clearly hate their job and show it – CO
    Seeing the upgrade list, standby list, and aircraft info/amenities on my phone – CO
    generous compensation when something goes wrong – UA
    Letting me standby even with checked bags and my bag makes it on the new Flight – CO
    Website that is well designed and actually WORKS – CO
    The HNL call center – UA
    Having generally good service 99.99% of the time even without status
    Confirmed same day change for top tier elites 24 hours in advance instead of 3 and on the web if i want (website sometimes even suggests alternate routings) and still get the upgrade – CO
    Boarding that doesnt include 2/3 of the passengers boarding the aircraft in one huge “elite” group – UA
    Clean club louges with working toilets (no trashbags) – CO
    Well maintaned furniture/carpet/sanitary handling of food in lounge – CO
    Lounge agents that more often than not smile, greet me by name, and thank me for my business – CO (and one UA guy at IAD)
    Channel 9 – CO
    NO paper tray liners EVER, NO paper salt/pepper packs in C/F, yogurt served in real china bowl, not disposable plastic cup it came in – CO
    Having a VERY young fleet of planes where everything wcrks 99.999% of the time – CO
    110 volt power on most aircraft and sometimes even in Y – CO
    NO outsourced International call centers – CO
    Economy Plus (but i never have a problem getting reserved bulkhead/exit row seats free as a platinum on CO) – UA

    Unfortunately it is possible to end up with the polar opposite of that list. My guess is it will be somewhere in between.

  10. Oh give it a f…ing rest with the “what’s going to happen to me” whining. It will be what it will be. Get over it.

  11. @Erndog – both airlines feature the perk of waived mileage redeposit fees for top tier elites, however CO is not as strict as United about changes on award tickets after travel begins.

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