Irregularities when flying United Airlines under Continental codeshare flights

I just finished another mileage run flying United Airlines, and this one was booked as Continental Airlines codeshare flights as I blogged about previously. A couple of differences occurred that are worth mentioning.

a man using a machine

Image Courtesy United Airlines

First, although I do usually check-in online and/or via my mobile, I always reprint my boarding passes at the EasyCheck-in kiosks at the airport. Why? Well, I just like the gold cardstock most stations still print, and have saved the boarding stubs for years. Not very green of me, I know, but until the check-in process goes exclusively electronic, I am going to keep my collection going. Anyway, I always use my Mileage Plus 1K card at the machines to locate my reservation, and this time it couldn’t find it. Ok, so the next option for me was to manually enter my Mileage Plus number. Still no luck. Third try was the charm, and I used the United confirmation number (aka record locator) from my itinerary. If the card reader only pulls your name and searches for your reservation on that day’s United flights, I can sort of understand it not finding me since I was on “Continental†flights (not really, but hopefully you get my point). When it couldn’t find my flights by my Mileage Plus number, that really surprised me since I know full well it was in the reservation.

Another difference I noticed was more behind the scenes in my reservation. When I got to the airport and was sitting in the Red Carpet Club, I pulled up my itinerary and noticed a duplicate segment for the flight I was about to take. It was out of sequence, appearing as the last segment of the trip, and even showed up as full-fare First Class. I looked more closely at my itinerary, and the separate check-in area, and everything else looked normal, so I just let it sit there without asking an agent about it. When the mileage posted for that flight, it came in as full ‘Y’ (the highest coach bucket). Oh how I miss having native access to Apollo and the reservation history… I’d really like to know how that happened. I’m definitely not complaining about this, though, since it earned me an extra 873 elite qualifying miles (EQMs) by being credited in ‘Y’.

Finally, there are also reports on Flyertalk about other out-of-synch occurrences, and problems with online check-in when reservations include both United- and Continental-operated flights. I have one of those coming up, and will be sure to blog about any issues I have. I think the programmers should really look into these issues given the volume of people who are likely experiencing the same phenomenon. I hope this isn’t a sign of a lack-of-seamless integration of two carriers as the merger progresses. Inexperienced flyers might find it too irritating to deal with and bail on the “new” United.


  1. No kidding. As I sit here on my second 15 minute hold with Continental, trying to check in online, I am ready to ditch BOTH airlines. There is no confirmation number on my ticket (Orbitz) for Continental; I waited 15 minutes online with Con. to get one; then, when I tried it, it didn’t work. Back on the phone,another 15 minutes, only to be told that “there’s this glitch, it comes and goes, it’s like a ghost, they’ve assured us that it will be fixed by the 15th” and THERE IS NO WAY TO CHECK IN ONLINE!! Not only that, but the employee comforted me by saying, “It’s a nice little airport, it shouldn’t be too bad.” Right. On a day when NO ONE can check in online?! She must be living in another world. So I am not happy, not happy, not happy, and you know what? No one cares. My flight is at 6 a.m. I’ll have to be there by 4 to get through lines now.

  2. @Deborah: Sorry to hear you had troubles over the weekend checking in online. Hope you got it squared away at the airport at o-dark-hundred hours! I, too, can’t wait until these issues are resolved. Wishing you better luck in the future.

  3. I have a UA booking with the 2nd leg being from LAS to SFO. As it was originally a CO flight I was supplied with a UA confimation number and a Continental confirmation number, which were in sync. The original CO flight has since been cancelled & on the UA confirmation been replaced with a UA flight at 8am. However, on the CO confirmation it has been replaced with a CO flight. In other words, I have a duplicate booking with the two airlines on the same day. I have been in contact with both airlines to have it remedied, but to no avail. I am now concerned that when I don’t show up for one of the flights, because it’s physically impossible for me to take both, that the system will cancel the 3rd leg of my reservation. Neither airline has been able to give me an answer. Frustrating

    • Hi Alan,

      Strange they can’t get it rectified. Is the new CO flight from LAS to SFO also at 8:00am, or is it a totally different time? I had a similar issue of being double booked, and United was able to correct the problem to synch up both reservations. I’d keep pressing on them to ensure it gets fixed before you fly because as you say, if a coupon (flight segment) goes unused, it definitely could cancel the rest of the reservation once the clock strikes midnight. Good luck!

  4. Hi Darren,
    The CO flight is for a different time 19.35. I will keep pressing as you suggest. Thanks for your advice.

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