Today, Continental Airlines ceased to exist. That CO flight code designator, familiar to many of us has disappeared permanently to be replaced by UA. Despite a long merger process with the much bigger United Airlines it’s hard to believe that such a successful and innovate airline is no more.
Throughout the Noughties there were two groups of flyers with very polarized views of Continental. Those who had last flown the carrier before President and CEO Gordon Bethune worked his magic and those that actually flew it in the present day. The former would never dare to fly it and the latter would never fly anything else. Thankfully I was in the latter group along with a small band of friends – Robert, Maria, David, Martin – we knew what we were doing. We all mourn it’s passing. It had the youngest fleet, the best point-to-point route from New York both domestically and internationally and, without doubt, the best hand-made ice cream sundaes on transcontinental flights !
But all is not really lost (hopefully) and the recent controversial cover from Bloomberg Businessweek gives a clue.
Continental may have been the junior partner (by size) in the merger but, in many respects it is the dominant partner when it comes to DNA. In my view it’s ironic that the name ‘United’ has been retained with the rest of the merged airline livery being based on the old Continental look because if all goes well it will be United in name only. Hopefully Continental values and standards will prevail.
On a personal level my Continental Silver Elite Status ‘for Life’ has been converted to Premier Gold ‘for like’ and with it a better level of Star Alliance access which will count for something.
I flew over 1 million actual miles under the Continental slogan “Work Hard. Fly Right” hopefully this merger will work just as hard and just as right.