Today, United Airlines added a merger integration update as one of the six main featured articles appearing in the center of the main landing page. While this isn’t quite “Customer Day 1” of a fully merged carrier, it summarizes the progress United and Continental Airlines have made to date. Full details can be found here, with a summary appearing below:
- Website & check-in improvements: The ability to shop for flights, select seats and check flight status on either carrier’s website is now operational. Also being introduced at “key airports,” you can now apparently check in at either carrier’s self-service check-in kiosks. I’m looking forward to testing this out on my next trip.
- Premier Access priority services: This is basically now the official rebranding of Continental’s EliteAccess and United’s Premier Line & other priority services bundled together as an option to purchase for general travelers, or for regular use by current elite members.
- Mileage Plus & OnePass: Nothing really new to report on this front, as they rolled a reciprocal policy out back in March. Here, you can now link accounts, transfer miles freely between programs, have your status matched at both United and Continental, and access the elite lines when calling into reservations.
- Airport experience: Many check-in areas are next to each other now at airports around the country, including here at LAX. Boarding processes have aligned with Continental’s method winning out: uniformed military, followed by first class, business class, elites, families with children under the age of four, and finally by row numbers back to front. Also, lounges offer the same free Wi-Fi and complimentary beverage choices.
- Onboard snacks, meals & beverages: The same Choice Menu now appears on Continental and United, and it sounds like in late summer United might be dumping Starbucks with a statement reading, “both airlines will begin serving a new custom coffee.” Pure speculation on my part, so fear not yet Starbucks lovers.
- Policy & fee alignment: Consistent policies and fees for same-day flight changes, standby & unaccompanied children have been streamlined.
- Signage & branding: Starting at Chicago O’Hare, new signage will be appearing reflecting the official rebrand. Farewell to the tulip.
- Social Media: Today, United and Continental now have a common Twitter account as @united. Why they didn’t just keep the @UnitedAirlines is unusual, but perhaps to maintain consistency with “United” only appearing on the planes without “Airlines.” Also, they’ve decided to keep the existing Facebook account of UnitedAirlines.
Nothing earth shattering and unexpected, except perhaps the change in Twitter accounts, but it’s nice they’re continuing to show progress and posting it for everyone to see. I’m most interested to check-in for my next flight with the different carrier just to see how that function works (probably a toggle between existing systems of Continental & United). Sadly, I don’t have another United flight until July, and will be flying American virtually every week until then.