The next time you search for airfares, there will be one less airline to choose from, as an airline we have all grown up with is about to disappear. At 11:59pm tonight Continental Airlines flight 1267 will depart from Phoenix and land a few hours later in Cleveland as United flight 1267. While that flight is airborne, Continental will be be officially absorbed by United, essentially completing the merger that was first announced in 2010.
As of March 3rd, the “Continental” name will cease to exist and the two airlines will fly as one, with one name (United), one frequent flyer program (Mileage Plus), and one web site (which will look like the old Continental site).
The name “Continental” will still be painted on some of the planes for a while but the airport signs are all being changed.
The United-Continental merger continues a consolidation trend among U.S. airlines. Over the last several years, Delta has absorbed Northwest and Southwest has acquired AirTran, although those two are still operating as separate carriers for the time being. The new United will be the world’s largest airline, leap-frogging Delta who temporarily held that honor since they combined with Northwest a few years ago.
If you are holding a Continental ticket, there is no need to worry. United will honor the ticket as is. In most cases, schedules are not changing, so your flight time and flight number will stay the same, just with a different airline name. To be sure, though, please check the “My Trips” section of our web site or contact our support team.