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Continental to team with United in Star Alliance

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If they do merge, I figure some jobs will get lost/shipped to Chicago. And then what becomes of the Continental tower?

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They arent merging... WTF people... its an alliance.

You don't suppose there's some plans they're not talking about yet?

The question to me is not if, but when a merger happens. Airlines are bleeding red right now with fuel prices.

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Mergers don't work. It has been proven time and time again. Alliances, however, can work and work very well.

The idea behind the alliances is that carriers maximize revenue and loyalty, and that each carrier gains efficiencies in locations where they are not strong. I seriously doubt there will be a merger as they had the chance very recently and CO decided against it. Why marry that messy UA when you can just fool around with her?

Now this isn't to say that some foreign carrier (LH!) won't invest in CAL, but that is the topic for another time.

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You don't suppose there's some plans they're not talking about yet?

The question to me is not if, but when a merger happens. Airlines are bleeding red right now with fuel prices.

No I dont. They have already publically admitted to seeking a merger, but have decided against it at this time. Many people speculated that Continental would not stay in their current alliance.

The writing has been on the wall for weeks, and it aint saying "merger"

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Exciting times for IAH.

With feed from both ends I could see LH doing IAH-FRA year round with a 747, probably even upgrade to an A380 during the summer months.

Loads on SQ IAH-DME-SIN should improve drastically.

In the not too distant future I would like to see CA offer PVG-IAH service.

As for the current SkyTeam carriers at terminal D. I

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You don't suppose there's some plans they're not talking about yet?

The question to me is not if, but when a merger happens. Airlines are bleeding red right now with fuel prices.

Nope.

They already put down the merger not too long ago. Continental decided to stay independent.

They are not merging.

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Air France and KLM (SkyTeam carriers) have been serving Houston for decades. They won't be leaving anytime soon. However, I bet they do cut down on their frequency. AF is up to 12 times a week now on a combination of 777s and 330s. I bet the 330 service 5 times a week gets cut. The rumor is it is already being cut this winter. KLM has daily service on a 74M (passenger/cargo combo) that will never leave. Way too much $ in the belly. Now, the Privateair 737 BBJ service that comes in 6 times a week will probably get cut.

Lufthansa used to service IAH via DFW. Then it went to a daily 340 service. Then it was upgraded to a 346. This summer, it's a 744. Don't be surprised to see it go double daily. Frankfurt is a wonderful connector hub. Also, look for Continental to add daily service as soon as the widebody becomes available. Also, I wouldn't rule out a daily flight to Lufthansa's second hub, Munich.

Also, this might save the Singapore flight. Apparently, the times for the flight have been changed coming this August. Instead of leaving IAH near midnight, it will leave with many of the other Euro departures in the mid-afternoon. The better time combined with a Continental connection, will almost guarantee this flight will stick around.

Other possibilities I could see emerging from this alliance include;

1) Air Canada or Continental opening back up Edmonton service. With CO on one end and AC on the other, this oil market would seem like a no-brianer. Also, maybe a flight to Montreal could open up.

2) ANA's Tokyo hub. Continental already does well with the daily flight to Tokyo. Maybe there'd be room for double daily or for ANA to start complimentary service since CO is short on widebody planes? Narita is a great onward hub to Asia and All Nippon is an excellent carrier.

3) Asiana! Forget Korean, landing Asiana would be HUGE for IAH. Asiana is a 5 star airline and Seoul is a beautiful hub airport.

4) EgyptAir is expected to join the alliance later this year. It's been rumored for years that EgyptAir would open up IAH-Cairo service. A partnership with CO would make this much more likely.

5) Air India is also expected to join Star Alliance. This almost guarantees that IAH will see either Mumbia or Delhi service in the near future or maybe even both.

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I'm quite excited by this announcement, and think it's a much better choice than an alliance with American and joining OneWorld. It's going to take 12-18 months for the transition to happen, if not longer, but in the end, I think it's a much better alliance for Continental.

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Industry experts claim that this is a much better match up for Continental than it's former alliance with Northwest & Delta.

This arrangement allows Continental to capitalize on many of the benefits of one of the world's largest network carriers and its strong international relationships without the pain and distractions of an actual merger. Even better, since the two remain separate - most jobs should not be transferred from one to the other.

As a side note, I too hope that I can combine my miles between the two!

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I don't think Continental fans have anything to fear from United now. United has the same deal with U.S. Airways and both are operated very independently.

On a related note -- I flew U.S. Airways this week for the first time since the 80's. Wow. What a crap airline. Even first class was crap. I didn't think there could be a mainstream airline worse than United, but I stand corrected.

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I flew U.S. Airways this week for the first time since the 80's. Wow. What a crap airline. Even first class was crap. I didn't think there could be a mainstream airline worse than United, but I stand corrected.

Yeah US Airways is worse than crap. I think a lot of the industry's woes would be solved if they'd just hurry up and close down. Until last year they were my employer's "preferred" airline, but I've managed to not have to fly them. They now no longer have that status with us, which is a good thing, since our travel agent doesn't pressure us to fly them whenever possible.

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and USAirways does? ;-)

Unfortunately, yes. And almost always at a better price.

For example, the ORD-CHS (via CLT) route I did this week and last had a base fare of $203 RT. ORD-CHS (via CLE) on Continental is $456 + tax. I paid an extra $39 at the airport to upgrade to first class and it was still half the price of Continental.

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But of course US Airways first class equals the economy on Continental. ;)

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But of course US Airways first class equals the economy on Continental. ;)

Damned straight.

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US Airways has been running some very low fares to cities in the Carolinas with connections via the CLT hub for about a year now. I was traveling to RDU some at the end of 2007 and very early part of this year and had to do some creative booking on our corporate travel agent's website to avoid having to fly with US, since they were often the cheapest by far. I managed to get on Northwest for one trip by waiting until the last minute to buy it, Delta the next by forcing the booking system to only look at departures from Hobby (which US Airways doesn't serve), and United the next by plugging in exact flights I wanted as a multi-stop itinerary. Of course, if you're paying out of pocket, price is a much bigger factor, than if you're charging it work, and the non-US Airways flights are only $75-100 more.

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Unfortunately, yes. And almost always at a better price.

For example, the ORD-CHS (via CLT) route I did this week and last had a base fare of $203 RT. ORD-CHS (via CLE) on Continental is $456 + tax. I paid an extra $39 at the airport to upgrade to first class and it was still half the price of Continental.

You get what you pay for... ;-)

And I can't help but note that "going" for a higher price is not the same as "not going" where you want to go... I doubt there are many places at all served by USAirways that are not also served by Continental.

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You get what you pay for... ;-)

No kidding. I learned that lesson.

And I can't help but note that "going" for a higher price is not the same as "not going" where you want to go... I doubt there are many places at all served by USAirways that are not also served by Continental.

I think a lot of that has to do with your definition of "service." For example, after my United fiasco I now mostly fly JAL or AA to Asia. Sure, I could take Continental, but that involves adding an extra stop and an extra 7-10 hours to the trip. So even though Continental goes to Tokyo for example, and has gates at O'Hare, it doesn't serve that city for me because routing through IAH is impractical.

If you include enough connections and codeshares, almost every airline serves almost every airport.

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No kidding. I learned that lesson.

I think a lot of that has to do with your definition of "service." For example, after my United fiasco I now mostly fly JAL or AA to Asia. Sure, I could take Continental, but that involves adding an extra stop and an extra 7-10 hours to the trip. So even though Continental goes to Tokyo for example, and has gates at O'Hare, it doesn't serve that city for me because routing through IAH is impractical.

If you include enough connections and codeshares, almost every airline serves almost every airport.

Yes, but the comparison was to USAirways. I am curious where you can go on USAirways (with reasonable connections) that you cannot get to on Continental with similarly reasonable connections.

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Yes, but the comparison was to USAirways. I am curious where you can go on USAirways (with reasonable connections) that you cannot get to on Continental with similarly reasonable connections.

See above. Just as an additional 7 hours on a journey to Japan makes Continental a non-starter, doubling the rate of the other airlines' ticket prices (not just US Airways) also eliminates Continental as a competitor for my custom.

Don't get me wrong -- on some routes Continental is the bomb. But the large airlines buy into this self-generated hype about each one being the best way to get you everywhere, and it's just silly. No airline can be the best choice, or even a satisfactory choice, for every route.

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That is true. Living in a hub city for an airline like Continental (especially when its HQ is there) makes flights cheaper.

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From my email today...sucks. I get much more use out of the Delta linkage than I will out of United.

In June 2008, Continental announced plans for extensive commercial cooperation with United Airlines and Star Alliance, linking our networks and services worldwide to deliver new benefits to our customers. We pledged to keep you informed of developments and would like to provide you an update.

Regarding SkyTeam, Continental intends to end its participation in the SkyTeam Alliance after the last scheduled flight on Oct. 24, 2009.

We continue to work through the details of our planned exit from SkyTeam and entry into Star Alliance, but anticipate our participation in Star Alliance will begin promptly after we leave SkyTeam. We are committed to providing our OnePass members with opportunities to earn and redeem miles over an extensive network.

We will be working hard with our good partners at SkyTeam, and our future good partners at Star, to make the transition from SkyTeam to Star Alliance as smooth as possible.

You can expect to receive updates from us as we continue to develop our participation in Star Alliance. Remember the most current updates may be found at continental.com.

As always, many thanks for flying Continental. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Mark Bergsrud

Sr. Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution

Edited by 20thStDad

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I love the possibilities with Star Alliance.

It's a much larger alliance than Skyteam and Continental stands to gain quite a bit because it will be the BEST United States carrier of the bunch. I bet Singapore, Lufthansa, ANA, and the like can't wait to not have to use United or US Airways.

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I love the possibilities with Star Alliance.

It's a much larger alliance than Skyteam and Continental stands to gain quite a bit because it will be the BEST United States carrier of the bunch. I bet Singapore, Lufthansa, ANA, and the like can't wait to not have to use United or US Airways.

exactly. We really dont lose one single thing from exiting SkyTEAM.

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Exciting times for IAH.

With feed from both ends I could see LH doing IAH-FRA year round with a 747, probably even upgrade to an A380 during the summer months.

Loads on SQ IAH-DME-SIN should improve drastically.

In the not too distant future I would like to see CA offer PVG-IAH service.

As for the current SkyTeam carriers at terminal D. I

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Hartmann's point is correct.

Studies have shown that flights originating from a hub airport to a particular destination are often more expensive than flights connecting through that hub to the same destination.

Many hub airports have a dominant airline that hinders competition and limits competitive pricing. This creates a kind of monopoly that allows them to keep local prices higher.

One big advantage to living in a hub city is the variety and frequency of direct flights to many destinations. However, unless a discount carrier flies the same route, you should generally not expect the flights to be discounted.

A hub with several discounters provides the best prices.

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