United Airlines Officially Drops the Name Continental

The stock symbol ‘UAL’ represents “United Continental Holdings Inc” which is the parent company of United Airlines as well as businesses like Air Micronesia, Century Casualty Company, and Covia LLC which is itself the parent of Mileage Plus Holdings, Mileage Plus Marketing, and Mileage Plus.

United Airlines, United Technologies and Boeing were all once the same company, broken apart by the federal government in the mid-1930s.

United itself dates to Walter Varney’s Varney Flying Service. Continental Airlines dates to Varney Speed Lines. When United and Continental merged, bringing the original Varney carriers back together in what became at the time the world’s largest airline, the holing company was renamed with both the United and Continental names.

Continental executives were in charge. That was clear even by the way the combined carrier re-painted its planes, adopting the Continental globe for the tail even as they took the larger and more storied carrier’s name.

United Airlines is repainting its planes again and adding back some previous United elements.

In another symbolic step to move past the merger, and eliminate the division that comes from employees seeing themselves still as part of two separate airlines, United is formally dropping Continental from its name, per a notice filed with the SEC.

Effective June 27, 2019, United Continental Holdings, Inc. amended its Certificate of Incorporation to change its name to “United Airlines Holdings, Inc.” (the “Company”). Stockholder approval of the name change was not required pursuant to Section 242(b) of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware. The Bylaws of the Company have similarly been amended to reflect the name change, also effective on June 27, 2019. The Company’s common stock will continue to trade on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC under the symbol “UAL” and its CUSIP number will not change.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Long overdue!

    Now if they just drop the bingo cage (and can Kirby of course) all will be good.

  2. Can they drop some of those old Continental FAs and pursers on long-haul SFO-Asia routes that consolidate (rush) onboard service to minimize their workload and customer contact.

  3. I wondered for years why United kept the big Continental globe on its planes. The last time I flew Continental was in 2004.


  4. It was all a scam !!
    It was called a merger ,because United said it was bankrupt a year before , when the Union contract was up. So they could cry that they didn’t have anymore money for its workers !!!
    When the contract negotiations were up ,
    This so called merger happened. And now the logo of Continental is taken off the tails!! Conspiracy theory or truth ?? United bought Continental but screwed its workers by claiming bankruptcy

  5. “Now if they just drop the bingo cage (and can Kirby of course) all will be good.”

    Kirby is doing well at United. He (and Andrew Nocella) have pulled UA’s operations out of the trash can and operational performance is much better, as is their profitability. Since Kirby joined UA their profitability is up and AA’s is in the doldrums.

    I’m glad they’ve dropped Continental. CO did bring a lot to UA – the EWR hub, the Europe and Asia flights ex-EWR and the India flights. But the name was a symbol of the incompetent management led by Smisek. UA is now in a much better place and the name change makes sense.

    The globe can stay. It’s not the best logo but it does no harm, and as Gary says the new “evolutionary” logo takes a few solid steps away from CO.

  6. @Christian: it was the CEO (Jeff Smisek) of that “better airline” who is responsible for the problems United faced after the merger with Continental.

  7. @Austin787 – You’re correct. That doesn’t change the fact that even Smisek couldn’t destroy the airline that Bethune built up before becoming CEO of the new entity. Continental was the better airline.

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