In what I believe is the last story at the Chicago Tribune for Julie Johnsson, one of the really good aviation reporters (she’s changing industries and headed to Bloomberg), she covers the United-Continental rebranding and changing boarding procedures: United has moved to Continental’s boarding by row (back to front) rather than by zone (where window gets zone 2, middle 3, aisle 4). It’s the little things that frequent flyers notice and that mess with their routines.
Though I argue that most of the non-aesthetic changes happening as part of the merger have been quite positive, in contrast to how I felt about Delta-Northwest.
“It’s pretty jarring to see the globe on the tail. I do think there would have been a massive mutiny if they got rid of ‘ Rhapsody in Blue.’ For me, (the theme music) is United,” said Gary Leff, co-founder of MilePoint.com, a website aimed at frequent fliers. “But most of the changes have been good. … Really, they haven’t made people unhappy, which doesn’t mean they won’t.”
Although the rule of thumb in predicting how the carriers will integrate? Get familiar with Continental’s practices.
“Any time you merge two carriers, you’re going to change to one or the other,” Leff said. “And in almost every instance, the change has been to Continental. People who are very, very frequent fliers will notice.”
Still to come, the future of international first class and benefits accruing at million-miler status.
What’s the big change or open question for the United-Continental merger that’s most important to you?