Continental United merger update

Continental and United’s merger is progressing along. Till they get the license to operate as one airline, they will continue to operate as two separate airlines. They have started taking steps to merge. Here are some:

Livery update:UA CO 777.gif

Both Continental (more so) and United have started painting their planes with the new United livery. Attached is a picture I took of a United 777 painted with the new livery, parked at a gate at Washington Dulled (IAD) airport.

Code sharing:

The airlines now have 100% code sharing of all flights. As Star Alliance partners, they had many flights code shared, but not all.

Elite handling:

They are applying upgrades to Elites of either airline at parity. The upgrade for each airline are still applied at the operating airlines rules. So, United follows United MileagePlus elite structure and upgrade protocol (their UDU) and Continental is following OnePass’s.


Lounge membership is now available to members of either lounge, at parity. (This was pretty much true before too).

Free Food:

Continental has done away with its complimentary snacks and meals in economy on domestic routes. This one should have gone the other way with United duplicating Continental…

What’s not done (or unknown)

Lifetime miles:

Flying one airlines metal is not contributing towards ‘lifetime’ membership on the others mileage program. Only Redeemable and Elite Status miles are crediting.

Economy Plus:

United has it. Continental does not.

Reusing tickets:

Still cannot use unused tickets (or vouchers) issued by one airline on the other.

Upgrade instruments:

Still cannot use upgrade instruments (such as SWU’s, CR1’s) from one airline on the other.

I am sure there will be many more changes as the merger progresses. I am looking forward to them addressing the ones I have listed as not done yet.

Share your experience with merger. What are your thoughts? Good or bad for consumers? Leave a comment below.

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  1. […] I am certainly seeing a spike in air fares, even on leisure routes like Washington DC to Orlando (IAD-MCO). Here is a comparison of what I paid for trips I took last year as opposed to what they are costing this year. This is in no way a scientific comparison as days ahead of the trip I purchased the ticket was not the same. I have tried to keep flight timings as close as possible. The flights from last year are actual trips I flew and the ones for this year are what is available on the websites. While not statistically significant, it is a good sampling. Washington, DC – San Diego, CA (IAD – SAN) on United: […]


  1. I was pretty happy on January 31st when I was scheduled for a later flight on continental out of RDU to EWR and they let me on the united flight that was earlier. On the way there I sat in the airport all day and asked many times if I could get on the united flight (which did get out and none of the continental ones did due to the snow) and they would not let me.

  2. Not exactly “all flights” are codeshared between the two. For example, CO910 (HKG-GUM) does not bear the UA code.

  3. Samuel, I stand corrected. I see that none of the flights thru GUM are code shared. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I just returned to DTW from Brazil (via IAD) on United. Business class space was available both ways on the long legs. I have Star Alliance Silver Elite status and about 100k OnePass miles, but only Mileage Plus miles could be used.

    United cancelled my original DTW-IAD flight, without explanation, booking me on the same flight the next day. It was definitely not a weather issue.

    For the return leg from GRU to IAD, I had my preferred seat selected in Economy Plus. The seat was printed on the itinerary and I confirmed the selection online before leaving for the airport. When I got to the airport I learned that I no longer had a seat selection. Apparently they just gave it away and I had to re-select at check-in to a much less favorable seat.

    In my experience, service on United Airlines is far inferior to that of Continental.

  5. Michael, sorry to hear of your experience. You should ask United for compensation for the cancelled flight. They will pay you with a voucher if it was truly not weather or FAA related delay. I hope you have better experience with United in the future. My experience has been a mixed bad, more good than bad. I am a United Premier Executive, so that does help…

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