The new United is just Continental if you scratch the surface

There have been lots of posts around the internet about United’s problems last weekend when they merged their reservations systems with Continental to create the ‘New’ United.

My personal experience was pretty painless, the accounts merged OK and all my miles were in my account OK, as were my reservations (1 from the old United) with upgrades and seats intact.

You might recall I was worried about what was going on back in October.

So a couple of experiences make me no less concerned:

  • The web site is just Continental rebadged to the new logo. I booked a ticket yesterday and was not able to book the upgrade without call the USA. The agent at the other end – having called the 1K line – asked me for my OnePass PIN before she could process the upgrade using my Premier Regional Upgrade (or whatever) they are called.
  • It takes longer to find upgrade space if using a confirmed instrument – you have to check flight by flight for availability in R or RN (elite upgrades) class

a screenshot of a computer

  • Having called  ContientalUnited the agent took 5-10 minutes to sort out the upgrades and then it took about 30 minutes before the web site reflected the new class of service and allowed me to pick seats
  • There are reports that new Contiental United has abandoned it’s elite based meal choice, which was also able to take on board full-fare passengers. Aparently it’s GS with first choice and then front to back for everyone else
  • I’ve received no sticker for my old card, nor new card so effectively excluding me from Star Alliance lounges until Contiental United decides I can have one – thank goodness I used the bmi status match recently
  • The web site has taken away the option to print your own card

a close-up of a card

  •  ContientalUnited won’t let me have a UK address (or indeed anywhere apart from the US) and request an upgrade on the web site:
a screenshot of a computer screen
  • In addition there are reports that Global Services members are not being made top of the upgrade list
  • The new upgrade lists pay much more attention to fare basis and a lot less to status that before – hence a silver on a Y fare, beats out a 1K on a B fare for that last seat
  • Upgrades are being sold very cheaply to non-elites (and indeed to some elites) when elite members languish on the upgrade list

Whilst I realise that the change must be a huge IT project, my experience is that the delivery has been pretty poor from a customers stand point.



  1. Hi, you can print out your card from the website. My hard copy arrived today along with rest of annaul pack. Overseas might take s little longer. Upgrades were turned off over the weekend, causing the confusion. Back on now. Let’s see how it works out.

  2. For a platinum (0P?) like myself these last few days have been insanely frustrating because without a dedicated phone line, the wait times are ridiculous (+1 hour the ~3 times I’ve called).

    Also, the miles from my continental flights from January show up only as award miles but not as premier miles (eqm’s), but the segments are counting (!). Hopefully the system will work this out. … I’m seriously considering logging my 75k and then doing the AA challenge for gold or whatever they have. Do you know if anyone else is missing eqm’s?

    On a plus side, I’ve got a pretty high upgrade ratio for this year despite being on low fare classes.

  3. I just flew up from MEL to JFK on UA… Meals on Classic united flights (up to LAX) still served according to status, but domestic was just front to back. I have to say, even as a 1K, I am ready to walk.

  4. This had to happen with a Continental CEO in place.. anyways I have no issues with the rebadged Continental website being used…

  5. @Levi Flight – they have turned off the web site printing option. Some UK people say they have their but not me!

Comments are closed.