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Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:57 am

Continental Airlines and UA

Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:02 am

Now that UA and CO have been merged for quite a while, do you feel that the combined entity is better than the two separate ones were several years ago? How do you think the airline industry would have been today if these two had been separate entities to this day?

Sometimes it seems as if CO had a strong influence on the current UA experience such as website and inflight service, etc...
 
Max Q
Posts: 7708
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Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:56 am

Continental was a better Airline in every sense, particularly customer service


Having said that, strategically it was the smartest merger ever and it’s paying off more and more now with
a strong management team and dedicated employees
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 940
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:56 am

Having retained the UA brand doesn't mean CO's culture is not a factor in the current UA.

From a customer standpoint If they would've not merged we'd have more competition within the legacies (US4) and who knows whtether UA would've been able to stay in the right financial shape on that environment.
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
M83, M87, M88,310,319,320,321,332,
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CR7, CR9,CRK, E175,E190,ATR42,
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UALFAson
Posts: 1024
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:35 pm

Since this is your first post, I am assuming you are (relatively) new to this site.

You have opened up a HUGE can of worms as this topic has been discussed to death. The reality is both airlines had their strengths and weaknesses at the time of the merger. Like every other topic involving airlines, people are very passionate and defensive about their carrier of choice. Max Q has his own opinion above. I completely disagree. I had Premier status on pre-merger UA for many years while living in L.A. and not only had no complaints about the airline, I quite enjoyed their product and customer service.

What is interesting in hindsight is the timing of the merger. United had just launched a refreshed livery and branding and was starting to make improvements to customer service. Continental was starting to cut back on service, particularly free hot meals in coach, and was the airline running 50-seat ERJs on 2-3 hour flights. I often wonder if people would have had the same perspectives if the integration had started, say, a year later and the separate carriers continued on their existing trajectories.

What doesn't have to be wondered about is that almost no one was pleased with the resulting product during and immediately after the merger. As you pointed out, other than the United and Mileage Plus names, almost everything else--from the livery to bag tags to the gate display screens to inflight procedures and terminology--pretty much came from CO. UA fans and others derogatorily referred to the new airline as "Continental dba United Airlines."

I personally wish the airlines had remained separate, both from a competitive standpoint and to "keep my United my United" but it's a moot point now. The combined airline is certainly in a much better place now than immediately after the merger and people need to look forward and accept that there's no going back now.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:48 pm

The combined airline is better now than either were immediately pre-merger.

As UALFAson said, Continental was on a downward trajectory. Larry Kellner was a nice bloke but out of his debth, and then Smisek came along. In the late 2000s the Continental management were slowly destroying the airline that Gordon Bethune had created.

United were improving in 2008-2009, that is true, but that was coming off a very low base. United had been dead last for DOT stats for years and years. Late, cancelled, mishandled bags; you name it, United were bad at it. That's not to mention paint peeling planes with old interiors and drab and dreary clubs and gate areas. United always had a very loyal following among a cadre of frequent flyers, based on the exceptionally generous MileagePlus program, and those people have a nasty habit of wearing the highest perscription rose tinted glasses when looking back on the old airline. United did look after their frequent flyers well, I will give them credit for that, but among the general population United's brand was poor.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:04 am

I saw Continental in many facets as a customer, son of employees, vendor, and nonrev; and yes it's true that they were on the decline just before the merger. Not a big decline (probably would've been an average carrier if the merger didn't happen), but a decline nonetheless. I didn't know too much about pmUA, just they had a bad reputation, were big in Asia, and flew 747s. But the consensus here is that UA started an upward trend, but that trend was still from rock bottom. I can speak for the citizens of Houston in that they felt disenfranchised when the merger happened because I had a Continental license plate frame on my car in college and classmates would remember having great vacations flying on a CO plane and that UA had trashed CO. And these weren't fellow dependants of employees or Global Service members, just punk ass college kids noticing what was happened!

But UA today is leaps and bounds better and bigger than the UA in October of 2010. Statistics are proving that and UA is even in the top 50 of indeed.com's 50 best places to work.
UALFAson wrote:
Since this is your first post, I am assuming you are (relatively) new to this site.

You have opened up a HUGE can of worms as this topic has been discussed to death

I hope the OP's next thread is globe vs. tulip. Those are so much fun! :hyper:
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
DFW17L
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:53 am

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:27 am

Wasn’t it David Letterman that referred to Continental as Screaming Baby Airlines?
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 4088
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:41 pm

UALFAson wrote:
Since this is your first post, I am assuming you are (relatively) new to this site.

You have opened up a HUGE can of worms as this topic has been discussed to death. The reality is both airlines had their strengths and weaknesses at the time of the merger. Like every other topic involving airlines, people are very passionate and defensive about their carrier of choice. Max Q has his own opinion above. I completely disagree. I had Premier status on pre-merger UA for many years while living in L.A. and not only had no complaints about the airline, I quite enjoyed their product and customer service.

What is interesting in hindsight is the timing of the merger. United had just launched a refreshed livery and branding and was starting to make improvements to customer service. Continental was starting to cut back on service, particularly free hot meals in coach, and was the airline running 50-seat ERJs on 2-3 hour flights. I often wonder if people would have had the same perspectives if the integration had started, say, a year later and the separate carriers continued on their existing trajectories.

What doesn't have to be wondered about is that almost no one was pleased with the resulting product during and immediately after the merger. As you pointed out, other than the United and Mileage Plus names, almost everything else--from the livery to bag tags to the gate display screens to inflight procedures and terminology--pretty much came from CO. UA fans and others derogatorily referred to the new airline as "Continental dba United Airlines."

I personally wish the airlines had remained separate, both from a competitive standpoint and to "keep my United my United" but it's a moot point now. The combined airline is certainly in a much better place now than immediately after the merger and people need to look forward and accept that there's no going back now.


The post above could very well be the most well thought out and worded I've read on this topic, period. Nicely done without tossing up any flames. :thumbsup:

As another resident of the Houston area for well over 35 years CO was as mentioned on the decline somewhat from what they were back in the early 2000's. As a million miler on CO we loved just about everything about them. Also, as an ATC'r at IAH I saw the technology from the flight deck personally as I was fortunate to get involved with their Flight Tech Department and the use of RNAV/RNP/GLS which was a huge improvement over round dial airlines from that perspective. It was an eye opener for many controllers once pmUA s started to bring their B752's into IAH and they were DME/DME/IRU birds that could not fly RNAV approaches and in some cases not fly direct to a waypoint on a SID if some NAVAID was out. So yes, some of that professionally as well as personally while getting on pmUA planes that were pretty old put a less than pleasant taste in my mouth for the merger let alone all the talk heard about the pmUA flight attendants, which turned out to be very wrong IMHO as we always had excellent service on the pmUA flights.

Having said all that, the current state of UA is much better. I actually enjoy getting on an Airbus almost more than a Seven Thirty Seven.....almost! :)
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
UALFAson
Posts: 1024
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:47 pm

IAHFLYR wrote:
The post above could very well be the most well thought out and worded I've read on this topic, period. Nicely done without tossing up any flames. :thumbsup:


Thanks for the compliment, IAHFLYR! Trying to restore civility and rationality to this site one non-fanboy post at a time!

TWA772LR wrote:
I hope the OP's next thread is globe vs. tulip. Those are so much fun! :hyper:


Hahaha! Don't give anyone any ideas, lol!
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
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readytotaxi
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:09 am

Re: Continental Airlines and UA

Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:25 am

British Airways today could certainly learn from the CO customer service experience, but they don't care. :(
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
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