Continental Airlines and United Airlines Agree to Merge

Unfortunately, there are too many threads in both the United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass forums to list here regarding the announced merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines as first reported here at The Gate — and that does not even include discussion in the other FlyerTalk airline forums such as the Delta SkyMiles and American AAdvantage forums.

The bottom line is as follows:

  • The US$3 billion merger will create the world’s largest airline, dethroning Delta Air Lines from its short reign
  • The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2010
  • The airline will retain the name United Airlines and its current headquarters in Chicago, but it will use the livery and colors of Continental Airlines
  • The new slogan for the combined airline will be Let‘s Fly Together
  • Based on 2009 results, the combined airline would have annual revenue of US$29 billion, and hold an unrestricted cash balance of about US$7.4 billion
  • The ten hub cities currently served by the combined airline will remain hub cities as of now
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US Airways Abandons Merger Talks with United Airlines; Continental Airlines to Merge with United Instead?

A lot has transpired since The Gate first reported that US Airways in talks to buy United Airlines.

First, the acquisition talks morphed into merger talks.

Then came the Headline: WSJ: US Airways Bd Decided To Discontinue Merger Talks With United.

Meanwhile, news about Continental interested in merger with United Airlines spread amongst frequent fliers, prompting the question Just how dead *is* the Continental merger…?

This story is far from over. Stay tuned as speculation reigns throughout FlyerTalk and the frequent flier community…

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Breaking News: US Airways in Talks to Buy United Airlines?

The New York Times reports that US Airways and United Airlines are currently in talks regarding the acquisition of — or merger with — United Airlines by US Airways. Could this dethrone Delta Air Lines during its nascent tenure as the largest commercial airline in the world?

The talk of this potential merger of two Star Alliance partners in the United States has already swept through FlyerTalk:

Yes, you read the title of that last link correctly: American Airlines merging with Continental Airlines? That would be hilarious, if only because Continental Airlines started off in the now-defunct Wings alliance, then joined the SkyTeam alliance, then moved on to Star Alliance, and then would complete the airline alliance tour with the oneworld alliance.

Anyway, speculation abounds wildly throughout FlyerTalk, and it will not stop anytime soon…

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Who Says There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?!?

Continental Airlines says there is no such thing as a free lunch, that’s who, as the airline released an announcement stating that there will no longer be a free lunch — or breakfast or dinner, in the economy class cabin whose flight duration is fewer than 6 hours — starting later this year.

Instead of free meals in the economy class cabin, Continental Airlines announced that there will be Food for Purchase – Coming Fall 2010.

While Continental Airlines served fare such as hot or cold sandwiches or salads, it was also the remaining lone domestic airline in the United States to offer complimentary regular meal service in the economy class cabin.

FlyerTalk members are mixed on this new development. Some will miss the free meals, while others believe that the Food for Purchase program, which replaces the free meals, will offer healthier, tastier and significantly higher-quality food — at an additional cost to the passenger.

However this news may be perceived, there is some relatively good news: certain snacks and beverages will still be complimentary on all flights that serve them.

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Earn 200 Bonus Airline Miles Every Night You Stay with Priority Club

The following text is taken verbatim from an e-mail message received just moments ago:

Earn bonus miles every night you stay, and get rewarded faster!

Get an additional 200 miles for every qualifying night you stay from February 1 to April 30, 2010 – up to 4,000 miles with any hotel in the Priority Club® Rewards family of brands, InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® or Candlewood Suites® hotels worldwide. With over 4,300 hotels worldwide, it’s never been easier to earn bonus miles.

Details such as qualifying airlines and FlyerTalk member commentary can be found in the following threads:

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CEO: No Pay Until the Airline Posts a Profit

Jeffery A. Smisek, the new chief executive officer of Continental Airlines, pledges that he will accept no salary or annual bonus until Continental Airlines reports a profit for an entire year.

While some FlyerTalk members applaud his setting an example for his employees — as well as for the airline industry and for corporate America in general — others wonder if this is merely a public relations stunt.

See what you think after reading the Smisek – No pay until CO is profitable thread.

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Here is an Otter-ly Ridiculous But True Story…

ottersAn Escape Attempt from CO plane delays flight at the international airport in Houston, and the escapees were otters. The flight was Continental Airlines flight 1294, whose final destination was Columbus, Ohio. Apparently, the otters escaped from caged quarters and overtook the cargo hold, with at least one otter who decided to discover the tarmac.

Passengers on that flight reportedly discovered evidence of the escaped otters after retrieving their luggage.

Why would otters attempt to avoid going to Columbus?

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New: Systemwide Upgrades and Presidential Platinum Announced by Continental Airlines

FlyerTalk members respond favorably to the news from Continental Airlines regarding System-wide Upgrades and Presidential Platinum, coming mid-2010, especially those who earn greater than 100,000 Elite Qualification Miles per year who will be eligible for systemwide upgrades and those who spend greater than US$30,000 per year who will be eligible for Presidential Platinum status by invitation only.

Furthermore, if you are already a Four Million Miler, you will be automatically upgraded to lifetime Presidential Platinum status — but not if you are a legacy Infinite Elite OnePass member.

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Reciprocal Upgrades to be Offered on Continental Airlines and United Airlines

Now that Continental Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, announcements regarding seamless integration of services and benefits with its partners are being released.

One of the more significant announcements is that UA elites to enjoy EUA/”premium” seating on CO, CO elites to get UDU, E+ on UA. This topic is also being discussed in the New Reciprocal Upgrade Benefits with United, Eff. Mid-2010 [threads merged] thread.

Generally, elite status members of the Continental Airlines OnePass and United Airlines Mileage Plus frequent flier loyalty programs will receive unlimited complimentary domestic upgrades on flights operated by both airlines when space is available, as well as have complimentary access to premium seating in the economy class cabin on either airline.

This partnership arrangement is scheduled to begin sometime in 2010.

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