Continental Airlines Final Days and What It Means For You
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The Continental/United merger is quickly barreling towards finality – in a short time Continental will cease to exist as an airline, but many facets of the airline will live on with the new United. According to FlyerTalk’s UA Insider thread, news has come down that the last official flight of Continental Airlines will be #1267 departing from Phoenix at 11:59pm on March 2, arriving Cleveland, 5:46 am March 3. A red-eyed last hurrah!
Frequent Flyer Accounts
Come March 3, customers of both airlines are likely to experience some delays and headaches as the two companies’ systems are finally merged once and for all. That also means Continental OnePass accounts and MileagePlus accounts will be merged, so if you haven’t linked them, be sure to do so by then so the transition is as smooth as possible for you. It also looks like Continental miles won’t start expiring until September 30, 2013, so that might buy you some more time to use them (though keeping your miles from expiring is pretty simple).
Turns out the new airline has decided to go with Continental’s OnePass numeration system with letters and numerals, so if you have a Continental OnePass number, your new frequent flyer account number should be that, while if you were strictly a United loyalist before, you’ll get a new FF account number generated for you.
Elite status you earned back in 2010 will expire on March 2, 2012, so if you didn’t requalify, you have till then to enjoy the perks.
On the customer experience side, Continental.com is scheduled to automatically forward to United.com, though the site should pretty much look like Continental’s site used to…which is great, because as I’ve pointed out, Continental’s customer interface is a lot better than United’s, especially when it comes to booking award tickets.
Those of you thinking about getting the Continental OnePass Plus Card should also do so immediately since it the latest update is that the card will be going away sometime soon as well, possibly as early as March 3. You can find details on the card here (you can also try to get a 60,000 point offer via the process in this post). The Onepass card also gives you perks like a free checked bag, priority boarding, complimentary lounge passes, and double miles earned on dollars spent on airline tickets on United and Continental.
The End of Days
While I’m a little bit nostalgic about the end of Continental, which has been around since 1934, I’m interested to see what the new airline finally ends up looking like. Though I’m sure there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road in the coming months, in the end, I’m excited to see what the new merged airline looks like and that some of the uncertainty of the past months will be coming to an end.
While I’m mostly focused on flying Delta and American these days, we’ll have some new contributors talking about the new MileagePlus program soon, and what that will mean for United flyers, so keep an eye out for that coverage.