United Airlines And Continental Partner Operations

Circling the winged wagons, United Airlines and Continental announced they’re partnering up into something just shy of a full merger. Continental will try to join the Star Alliance Network and the airlines will begin code-sharing on some routes. Travelers will be able to spend frequent flyer miles earned with one on the other. Might want to avoid flying them for a while until we see how well they two manage to integrate their systems, because, if there’s one thing airlines are good at, it’s screwing up.

United, Continental Form Broad Marketing Alliance [WSJ]
Continental Airlines and United Airlines Announce Comprehensive Plan for Global Cooperation; Continental Plans to Join Star Alliance [Press Release]

(Photo: So Cal Metro)


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  1. PeteyNice says:

    That sucks. I have lots of Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) miles and loved that I could use them on CO. I suppose it was inevitable though.

  2. FMulder says:

    does this mean we get food?

  3. psychos says:

    With Delta and Northwest merging, this will leave SkyTeam with a single domestic carrier. Star Alliance will be up to 3, with United and US Airways already members. Though oneworld gets by with just American within the US, this seems like a pretty consumer-negative thing just from an alliance point of view.

  4. Wormfather says:

    “…if there’s one thing airlines are good at, it’s screwing up.”

    The airlines take offense to this, if only they figure out the proper channels to express that feeling.

  5. TechnoDestructo says:

    No, United can cooperate with anyone but Continental. Continental with anyone but United. I do not want one of the best airlines infected by the worst airline.

  6. metoometoo says:

    No! This is the worst news ever! Continental is by far the best airline, and United is the worst! Also, does this mean that Continental will also start charging checked bag fees for the first bag? Because I really didn’t think they would.

    Incidentally, I am flying from California to New York tonight on United, and I am not excited about it at all.

  7. LJKelley says:

    Isn’t this kinda rude to their customers they may have wanted to use miles on codeshare flights with Northwest or Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive.

    I guess this will also hurt them in regard to established relationships with KLM (and thus Air France). I know some people use KLM or AirFrance and then Continental (though mostly Northwest) especially once you get domestic here in the US. They will loose that revenue and have to start all over again with Lufthansa etc.. (which may or may not favourably fly to their hubs).

    I’m afraid to say that the only successful mergers this decade will have been AirFrance and KLM. Nothing in America will do anywhere as well since they weren’t that good to start with. KLM still serves sandwiches and drinks for free even on small 1 hour flights.

  8. ElizabethD says:

    Scary photo mash-up there.

  9. beatofhawaii.com says:

    We reported this earlier today, with a perspective on Hawaiian Airlines and how this deal is very likely to portend huge changes coming for them.

    Aloha, [beatofhawaii.com]

  10. humphrmi says:

    This is nothing more than a watered down merger to appease investors. They couldn’t work out a doomed-for-failure deal like Northwest, so they did the next best thing, agreed to collude on prices and routes.


  11. Major-General says:

    Two trips this year by plane: one on United, the other Continental. Great.

  12. kepler11 says:

    “Might want to avoid flying them for a while until we see how well they two manage to integrate their systems… “

    Consumerist, you’ve got to be kidding. This sort of uninformed advice is ridiculous to give people.

  13. Meathamper says:

    Good thing too, UA sucks my balls.

  14. Aresef says:

    I like flying UA, but the recent bag-check rule has made me move SWA up on my list (that, and Baltimore is a hub for SWA, so yay). If I can fly Continental and build/use my United miles, hell yes I say.

  15. Scary, scary, scary.

    I am afraid that my local airport is going to loose service (with or without CA and UA semi-merging). Rising fuel and operating costs are killing the profit margins of many companies, especially transportation companies (airlines and freight movers).

    This semi-merger of CA and UA is not going to be enough to prevent my local airport from loosing flights. Shitsky.

  16. ekasbury says:

    I wonder what this means for the Continental / Delta partnership.

  17. TwoScoopsRice says:

    Hmmm. Frequent travelers of both carriers better be well taken care of in this, with no loss of status or of miles. I’m still stinging from the loss of a bunch of Aloha miles I’d stockpiled for our family vacation. I wonder what will happen with the limited codeshare deal United signed with Hawaiian recently that is scheduled to take effect later this summer.

    Too early to guess what will happen to routes and frequencies, but since flights transiting my home airport are still running full, I’m hoping there’s no shrinkage in lift.

  18. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Can two horrible airlines combined to make one super-horrible airline? I’m sure of it. Either that, or it’s the seventh-sign signaling the end of the world. Or maybe both.

    I wonder what’s first on the agenda…maybe a $50 “merger surcharge?”

  19. TwoScoopsRice says:

    Well, here’s part of UA’s message to its elite members:

    First and foremost, this partnership will include new frequent flier reciprocity that will enable you to earn miles when flying on either airline and redeem awards on both carriers. Travel on either carrier will count toward earning elite status. Similarly, members of either airline’s airport lounge program will have access to both Continental’s Presidents Club network and United’s Red Carpet Club® lounges. …

    In short, once regulatory approval is obtained, this new partnership between United and Continental will expand your choice of flights and destinations, and improve your ability to earn both miles and elite status in Mileage Plus. Together we will offer you more value whenever you fly. We expect to bring you the benefits of our cooperation starting some time in 2009, and until then, we will keep you informed about our progress.

    We appreciate you and your business, and we look forward to seeing you on your next flight.

  20. opal says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Exactly!

    Will have to rethink my mileage strategy of Northwest to Asia and Continental around the U.S…