United Airlines flights booked as Continental codeshares

I have an upcoming trip on United Airlines that I booked and ticketed as Continental Airlines codeshare flights (i.e., flights sold as Continental flights, but operated by United). The pricing and routing at the time I booked it made it advantageous to do it that way directly on Continental’s website, and now I’m noticing just a couple of minor differences in the way things appear on both the United and Continental side.

First, as soon as I purchased the reservation on Continental, an identical record was made for me in United’s system and visible under my reservations. The unlimited domestic upgrade requests were automatically entered given my elite status, and now that I’m within the 100-hour window to flight time, all but one of my segments has cleared as a 1K. As most frequent United flyers know, when an upgrade doesn’t clear at the window, a duplicate segment then appears in the reservation noting the upgrade as waitlisted. After that non-upgraded segment’s window came and went, the upgrade notification just completely dropped off, and no waitlist notification appeared. I called United and was assured that there is a waitlisted segment, but it just isn’t visible to me online. As for the upgrade, I’m pretty certain I’ll clear. I’ve noticed that United doesn’t make as many advance NF- or NC-bucket upgrade seats available until departure day for those domestic flights assigned with 800- or 900-series flight numbers. Those are usually the domestic portion of an international feeder or continuation flight, and often have higher-yield and full-fare business & first class traffic. My flight in question is of the 900-series & still has at least 9 first class seats available for sale, so I maintain my confidence in getting the upgrade.

Another issue that presented itself was once the upgrades cleared, I could not view and select seats online. When clicking into the seatmap, it would just show the economy cabin, even though the upgrade had confirmed. As each of the segments cleared, I had to call to get my preferred seats, and the agent acknowledged this was also due to the fact they were booked as Continental codeshares.

The last minor thing I noticed on the Continental side was the posted mileage they are showing for Chicago to Denver. United currently grants 888 miles for the segment, whereas Continental is showing 901 miles. Since I’m actually flying on United metal, I’m sure only the 888 will post. The higher number did ring a bell, though, so I looked back at my lifetime mileage printout I received from United earlier this year and noticed the amount credited by United used to be 901. Sometime in the late-90s or early 2000s, United made the adjustment since the 901 figure was more applicable to Stapleton Airport which closed in 1995.

Stay tuned to FrequentlyFlyin on twitter, and I’ll reveal there if and when my upgrade clears for that last remaining segment in coach.



  1. Right after booking did the united site show “upgrade: pending?” I have a couple of UA metal CO codeshares at the end of the month. On united.com they are missing the “upgrade: pending” that is shown for all my UA booked flights. From reading flyertalk, there seems to be some confusion or inconsistency in whether codeshares get the upgrade message.

    If you got the message, then I will call and make sure I get on the upgrade list.


    • @Tarpie: Yes, the “Upgrade: Pending” showed up automatically within minutes on my United itineraries, so I’d call if I were you. Thanks for reading my blog!

  2. Thanks for the response. Just called and have the nice “upgrade: pending” message on all of the legs now.

    I have a continental flight this evening. As a newly minted 2P, it’s entertaining to watch my name get farther and farther from an upgrade (pretty sure I am the lowest status elite on the flight). Was 4/4 last night, now 14/14 🙂 It will be nice when UA flights get pda.continental.com functionality.

    You won’t hear from me too much in the comments…I have always been a lurker on forums and blogs. Rest assured, I do enjoy your blog. It’s horrifying to see how large the smoking sections used to be, and how there was no separation from the non-smoking areas on your vintage seatmaps.

    • @Tarpie: No prob & enjoy your Premier status. Yeah, upgrades will be hard for you, but you’ll get a few I hope. Happy flying!

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