Merger Update – May 2011

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, May 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi Everyone,

    As most of you have noticed we've been up to a lot of changes lately as we work to merge our two airlines. There’s still a lot to do, and a long road ahead before we’re able to operate as a single airline, but in the mean time we've been focused on offering a more consistent experience no matter which airline you fly.

    Below, I'll do my best to recap some of the changes we've made over the past few weeks, including some that are going live today.

    1. New branded look at our airports. Debuting today at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) is our new branded look for our airports. This will include a new look for our ticket lobby and gate areas. Re-branding our airports will take a while, and we're starting with our hubs. More airports are coming soon - Washington Dulles and San Francisco are next on deck. We’re excited about our new look and hope you will be too.

    2. Premier Access. This is the new name for our priority airport services, which includes priority check-in, priority security checkpoint access (where available), access to priority boarding lanes and priority baggage handling. These are services already offered by both airlines, but what's new is who has access to them: customers booked in First and Business Class, Mileage Plus and OnePass elite members. The Premier Access name will be rolling out as airports get re-branded, but entitlements for these individual services are effective immediately. For more information, see united.com/premieraccess.

    Worth noting: Continental Presidential Plus Card members are entitled to these services on Continental only, and Premier Travel purchasers are entitled to these services on United only. This will be the case until Continental and United operate on a single system in 2012.

    3. New Boarding Process. There are about a zillion comments about this already, so I’ll spare you the gloss. If you’re accustomed to traveling on Continental subsidiary, the major change is allowing our top tier Elite members (Global Services, Presidential Platinum, 1K, and Platinum) to board along with First Class. If you’re accustomed to traveling on United, the major change is allowing Mileage Plus Premier and all Continental OnePass Elite members to have access to the carpeted bypass lane, plus the introduction of rear-to-front boarding for the general process. These were difficult decisions, but we ultimately went with an approach we could support consistently across both airlines. Thanks for your patience while we roll this out.

    4. Reciprocal Elite Phone Line Access. Elite members who enter their account number in our automated phone system will now be recognized and prioritized ahead of all other callers when contacting either airline.

    5. Aligned Policies and Fees. Keeping with our goal to have consistent policies and fees across both airlines, we’ve made a few new adjustments. The two most notable changes are below:

    a. Same-Day Flight Changes. Our definition of what constitutes a “same-day change” will remain separate and unchanged across both airlines, but we will be aligning our fees and exemptions. The fee will be $75, and will apply to both confirmed and standby changes. We’ve also aligned and expanded who is exempt from these fees: OnePass Gold/Platinum/Presidential Platinum and Mileage Plus Premier Executive/1K/Global Services members when traveling on either airline.

    b. Continental Chase Bag Fee Exemptions. The bag fee waiver benefit for Continental Chase Cardmembers has been expanded to include flights operated by United. This will be applied automatically at check-in as it has been done at Continental.

    6. Improved Self-Service Options. As many of you noticed, we’ve made some self-service improvements designed to make the process more seamless. Some examples include actually being able to get seat assignments on one another’s websites, showing both airlines’ confirmation numbers when applicable, and automatic re-directs for check-in and reservation look-up. In addition, we’ve rolled out a new common kiosk launch screen at over 80 airports, which will automatically look up your reservation regardless of which airline you’re flying.

    7. Aligned Check-in Requirements. Starting on Jun. 15th, we will have aligned check-in requirements for both airlines. For domestic flights, this means a consistent 45-minute baggage check-in cut-off for our hubs and exception airports (30 minutes if you don’t have bags to check), and 30 minutes for all other airports. For international flights, the check-in cut-off time will be 60 minutes regardless of whether you’re checking bags (except for LIM which is 75 minutes and KSA/KWA/MAJ/NAN/PNI/ROR/TKK which are 90 minutes).

    Worth noting: The international check-in cut-off for United will increase by 15 minutes (was 45 minutes). The domestic baggage check-in cut-off will increase by 15 minutes in Continental’s domestic hubs (EWR, IAH, and CLE). There are also 10 airports that will no longer require a 45-minute check-in cut-off (CLT, IND, JFK, ONT, PDX, PHL, RNO, SJU, SMF and SNA). All cut-off time changes will take effect Jun. 15th. For more information see united.com and continental.com.

    8. New Link for Linking Accounts. The ability to transfer miles between United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass accounts should be nothing new to you, but we have a new link – united.com/linkmyaccounts. This enables those of you who have accounts in both programs to link your accounts in order to combine your miles and earn awards faster.

    9. Onboard Product and Lounge. We’ve aligned our Choice menu food-for-purchase program in Economy Class, taking the best-sellers from both airlines. This includes some hot items, which will be offered on aircraft equipped with ovens. As for our front cabin products, the alignment is targeted for later in the year. We’re also in the process of aligning our on-board beverage programs, including soft drinks, beers, spirits and coffee. By late summer, we will begin serving a new custom coffee at both airlines, and the beer selection on domestic flights will include Heineken, Budweiser and Miller Lite. On the lounge front, we are still working on aligning our food and beverage offerings, included an expanded complimentary beer selection coming soon.

    10. Twitter Channel Change. If you follow us on Twitter (or want to start), we’re changing our channel this morning. You’ll be able to follow both United and Continental at @united.

    That about sums it up for now. As always, we look forward to your feedback, conspiracy theories and tough love.

    Scott O’Leary
    Managing Director, Customer Solutions


    United Airlines
     
    adam_nyc, SQ LPP, jmrich1432 and 5 others like this.
  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Thank you Scott for the update!
     
  3. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    "and the beer selection on domestic flights will include Heineken, Budweiser and Miller Lite"

    Now that's a race to the bottom! The three blandest beer offerings on the planet...had hoped the new UA would follow the AS lead and offer us regional microbrews instead of national swills.
     
  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    :)The Budweiser must go!!
     
  5. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update, Scott. As always, you provide us with a lot of great detail. It's going to take some time to get used to Premier Access :) Doesn't quite sound right yet. Thanks again!
     
  6. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Not back in the airport (ORD) until Sunday, so wondering how the new look is. I'm sure we'll see pictures soon enough!

    As a 1P, hooray!

    The first part makes me sad. I would've preferred Bud Light and Miller Genuine Draft (MGD > Bud, imo). The second part makes me happy. The complimentary beer selection in the RCC's is about as weak as you can get.
     
  7. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Even though I linked accounts way back when, today, when I clicked the link to transfer miles, it made me "link" the accounts again? That's odd.

    However, got two new confirmation emails one from UA 1k and one from CO plat.
     
  8. sunseeker
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    sunseeker Silver Member

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    New custom coffee? :mad:
     
  9. Nelumbo
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    Nelumbo Silver Member

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    I miss the Tulips and "Rhapsody in Blue" style arts.
    Unfortunately there is not delicateness in the complicated Globe
     
  10. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    Scott, as always appreciate that you come to us directly with these. I can see from your words you know the boarding procedure has few fans. I'm hopeful that decision will continue to be re-evaluated. I don't mind that Premiers may use the carpet; what doesn't make sense is having 1P and 2P board together - it's too many people on the carpet vs. general. 1K/GS/F/C doesn't add up to many, nor is 1P too bad, but add in 2P and you have created a new class at the gate: Elite Lice.

    Good luck today with CD1.
     
  11. avflyer
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    Thanks for the update:

    I hope you will change your mind regarding the boarding process.

    As to point #1, Does "New Look" mean actually cleaning the PCs and RCCs?.
     
  12. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    Scott,

    As grateful as I will be to board with the big guns, I would highly suggest that UA/CO trains their gate agents to use discretion when boarding flights which are top-heavy with top-tier elites. CO 40 on Fridays springs to mind. I am often well into the double digits on the upgrade standby list. I can see F pax getting incensed that a lowly platinum on an el cheapo fare such as myself gets the same boarding priority as those whose companies pay top dollar so they can sit up front. :D

    In all seriousness......I think in these instances where there are more 1K's and PE's sitting in the back than the number of F seats, it's probably advisable to board F first, followed by 1K/PE, then 1P/GE/*G.
     
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    What's next, generic "custom" beer? Not that I'd spend even a buck on the three "beers" they now plan to offer.
     
  14. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    Thumbs up to the stand by policy change. Still seems a little over the top to make a 2P pay $75 to wait it out at the gate though...
     
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  15. Ygor
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    Ygor Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update!

    Question:

    CO has a policy where you can stand by for free (for all travelers) in the middle of an itinerary if there is an earlier connecting flight. What is the new common policy for this?
     
  16. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    I think I will start boarding with the rift raft as there will be alot less of them going forward and the RC line will now be 100 miles long

    and to Think the Genius who came up with this idea of making EVERYONE (almost) able to use the RC got paid good $$$ to come up with this idea

    If I wanted to fly SouthWest I would have been purchasing tkts on them, Great way to let GSs,1Ks,PPs,Plat that they are worth the same to UACO as a Silver is
     
  17. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update but I do have one issue/concern/complaint......

    Can someone re-visit the no special meals ordering option for those traveling in domestic first on certain routes (i.e. MIA-DEN and vv) I do prefer a special meal as it is generally better food but now with my latest cholesterol report :eek:, I need to change my diet and with that, I cannot order a special meal and frankly, I think it stinks as if one is in domestic first or business, and regardless of it being an award, upgrade or paid (and regardless of the amount paid), it is still domestic first or business and if a meal is offered, one should be able to order a special meal (and at no charge by nature of being in domestic first or business.
     
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  18. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    I hope this is sarcastic since a Silver has always been able to use the blue carpet.
     
  19. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    Not with UA anyone under a 1K had to use the reg line unless they were tkted in FC or Biz, once you open up the Premium line to almost Everyone why even have it?
     
  20. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    I awaiting the same info, I flew LAX-JFK yesterday on UA ps(Biz) and got my Special Meal had I flown on CO to EWR I would have gotten nothing. And since I flew out from another city to LAX there was no way to bring my own
     
  21. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    Thanks for the update, Scott.

    My only request is that the "special blend" coffee is stronger than what CO or UA either one now serve.
     
  22. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    Hopefully it's what UA is serving. I usually hate airplane coffee, but UA's ain't bad.
     
  23. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    It's especially not bad with a mini of Bailey's or Kahlua mixed in ;)
     
  24. benolaa
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    benolaa Gold Member

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    So will the new Premier Access have a special security/checkin line for Super Elite (Plat and up) / intl F?
     
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  25. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Heck, as a vegetarian, I'd even pay for a special if I could count on it being there every time and being of half-decent quality. Would beat having to try buy airport food (which isn't often veggie-friendly and/or of very good quaility at most US airports anyway) and carry the bag on the plane.
     

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