Monday, February 27, 2012

Fasten Your Seatbelts: United/Continental Countdown

On March 3, 2012 at 12:01, which happens to be Saturday, United Airlines will formalize its final merger with Continental as both carriers will become "United" and move their operations to a single platform. As would be expected in such a large scale situation, many passengers may encounter issues when traveling, especially during this upcoming weekend. Because United will be switching to Continental's "Shares" system, they anticipate that the migration will cause an approximate 4-hour shutdown of all access to their reservation system. If all goes well, the system will be up and running for flights departing Saturday morning. As this is a huge undertaking, with a massive database being migrated to a different platform, passengers should expect the unexpected. Premiere Travel has notified all its potentially affected passengers of these changes and offered options for what we know. It will be difficult to predict how long this transition will take and if complications may develop, but this is yet another reason why travel management companies continue to thrive. Changes that will impact travelers include the termination of all Continental codes, flight numbers, as well as possible changes to departure and arrival times, frequent flyer merger, changing aircraft that may impact assigned seating etc... While the initial phase this weekend will be challenging, we expect good results going forward as the combined carrier will offer new improved services and will adopt best practices and innovations that will serve passengers well in the future.