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Merger Update – May 2011 (Includes boarding & check-in changes)

Merger Update – May 2011 (Includes boarding & check-in changes)

Old May 18, 11, 5:03 am
  #1  
Company Representative, United Airlines
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Merger Update – May 2011 (Includes boarding & check-in changes)

Hi Everyone,

As most of you have noticed we've been up to a lot of changes lately as we work to merge our two airlines. There’s still a lot to do, and a long road ahead before we’re able to operate as a single airline, but in the mean time we've been focused on offering a more consistent experience no matter which airline you fly.

Below, I'll do my best to recap some of the changes we've made over the past few weeks, including some that are going live today.

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That about sums it up for now. As always, we look forward to your feedback, conspiracy theories and tough love.

Scott O’Leary
Managing Director, Customer Solutions
United Airlines
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Old May 18, 11, 5:12 am
  #2  
 
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Thanks for the update, Scott!

Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
[*]Reciprocal Elite Phone Line Access. Elite members who enter their account number in our automated phone system will now be recognized and prioritized ahead of all other callers when contacting either airline.

[*]Aligned Policies and Fees. Keeping with our goal to have consistent policies and fees across both airlines, we’ve made a few new adjustments. The two most notable changes are below:
[indent][list][*]Same-Day Flight Changes. Our definition of what constitutes a “same-day change” will remain separate and unchanged across both airlines, but we will be aligning our fees and exemptions. The fee will be $75, and will apply to both confirmed and standby changes. We’ve also aligned and expanded who is exempt from these fees: OnePass Gold/Platinum/Presidential Platinum and Mileage Plus Premier Executive/1K/Global Services members when traveling on either airline.
When deciding on a new phone system, I love the UA elite line where it knows who I am based on my phone number. I don't have to enter my MP#, just confirm the name on the account. I've always had problems with the CO voice recognition system and have to enter my OP# on the keypad, and then verify the zipcode. Very frustrating, especially when driving.

Re Same day change, can you give us a timetable when the definition of a SDC might be aligned? It's frustrating to have the restrictions UA does, CO seems to be much more flexible.

Thanks again for keeping us updated on all the changes!
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Old May 18, 11, 5:19 am
  #3  
 
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Waived same-day change for 1P? Sweet, finally a change that sounds like I might like it.

If you're looking to sell any on-board food (at least to me), sell oven baked cookies, not boxes full of crackers and OLoves.
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Old May 18, 11, 5:38 am
  #4  
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Leaving for ORD now. Interesting to see the "re-branding".

And I wouldn't "thank us for our patience" just yet. For the prices UA is now charging, you really don't have any right to even ask us for patience. And of course the question that still hangs out there; WHY no prior warning of this change?
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Old May 18, 11, 5:42 am
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It's Day One

Just stepped off a flight from GRU - IAH, tried to shift my connection from CO to a UA mainline flight....

The people here are smiling and sighing at the same time.

I hope that all of us happy pax are patient as everyone learns the brave new world.
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Old May 18, 11, 5:42 am
  #6  
 
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[*]Premier Access. This is the new name for our priority airport services, which includes priority check-in, priority security checkpoint access (where available), access to priority boarding lanes and priority baggage handling. These are services already offered by both airlines, but what's new is who has access to them: customers booked in First and Business Class, Mileage Plus and OnePass elite members. The Premier Access name will be rolling out as airports get re-branded, but entitlements for these individual services are effective immediately. For more information, see united.com/premieraccess.

This is a change i'm going to like - looking forward to seeing it all come together tomorrow at ORD.

[*]New Link for Linking Accounts. The ability to transfer miles between United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass accounts should be nothing new to you, but we have a new link – united.com/linkmyaccounts. This enables those of you who have accounts in both programs to link your accounts in order to combine your miles and earn awards faster.

Just gave this a try - looks even if you've transfered miles at some point the past you still might need to log in an link you account. It's really easy though.
Just keep in mind that your names and info do need to match before this will work.
[*]Onboard Product and Lounge. We’ve aligned our Choice menu food-for-purchase program in Economy Class, taking the best-sellers from both airlines. This includes some hot items, which will be offered on aircraft equipped with ovens. As for our front cabin products, the alignment is targeted for later in the year. We’re also in the process of aligning our on-board beverage programs, including soft drinks, beers, spirits and coffee. By late summer, we will begin serving a new custom coffee at both airlines, and the beer selection on domestic flights will include Heineken, Budweiser and Miller Lite. On the lounge front, we are still working on aligning our food and beverage offerings, included an expanded complimentary beer selection coming soon.

Free beer really is the best kind of beer! Thank you!^
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Old May 18, 11, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
[*]Premier Access. This is the new name for our priority airport services, which includes priority check-in, priority security checkpoint access (where available), access to priority boarding lanes and priority baggage handling. These are services already offered by both airlines, but what's new is who has access to them: customers booked in First and Business Class, Mileage Plus and OnePass elite members. The Premier Access name will be rolling out as airports get re-branded, but entitlements for these individual services are effective immediately. For more information, see united.com/premieraccess.
Given the new boarding process, how is priority boarding implemented for general members who purchase Premier Access? Will they board via the red carpet?

Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
[*]New Boarding Process. There are about a zillion comments about this already, so I’ll spare you the gloss. If you’re accustomed to traveling on Continental subsidiary, the major change is allowing our top tier Elite members (Global Services, Presidential Platinum, 1K, and Platinum) to board along with First Class. If you’re accustomed to traveling on United, the major change is allowing Mileage Plus Premier and all Continental OnePass Elite members to have access to the carpeted bypass lane, plus the introduction of rear-to-front boarding for the general process. These were difficult decisions, but we ultimately went with an approach we could support consistently across both airlines. Thanks for your patience while we roll this out.
As you note there have been a lot of comments on the new boarding process. Can you clarify how you arrived at this decision, without the gloss? I think it would help the elite travelers on this forum tremendously to have a little better understanding.

BTW United Club... Seriously?

Thanks
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Old May 18, 11, 6:31 am
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Originally Posted by anc-ord772 View Post
As you note there have been a lot of comments on the new boarding process. Can you clarify how you arrived at this decision, without the gloss? I think it would help the elite travelers on this forum tremendously to have a little better understanding.
As stated by UA Insider:

These were difficult decisions, but we ultimately went with an approach we could support consistently across both airlines.
In other words, new UA picked the one they liked better. I think we would all like to know the rationale for reverting to back-to-front boarding.

A few positives, a few business decisions that some won't like, an odd selection of boarding procedure, and a general lack of creativity in all things UA brand.
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Old May 18, 11, 6:37 am
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Nice new benefit for the CO credit card re baggage.

Odd that Pres Plus benefit is still CO only.

Will miss Corona. On the way to ORD; noticed the temp legacy United signs covering the globes last night.

And let me throw out guess for elite nomenclature...

Premier Silver
Premier Gold
Premier Plat
1K

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; May 18, 11 at 8:16 am Reason: consecutive posts merged
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Old May 18, 11, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
Nice new benefit for the CO credit card re baggage.

Odd that Pres Plus benefit is still CO only.
Probably has something to do with specific agreements Chase had with Continental. Chase might have had to pay for the benefit, and are restricting it to CO only to control their costs.
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Old May 18, 11, 6:59 am
  #11  
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Thanks Scott, appreciate the news.
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Old May 18, 11, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
Well, from ORD, it appears the transformation to all Continental all the time is underway. Outside security the big changes are gold and blue everywhere, and all separation of 1k or first class from the rest of ALL elites has disappeared. Just one big Premier Access area where 1k used to be. It is hard to identify anything UA.

The security line was much slower than before, as all elites now use the former 1k/GS lane. At the gate everything is Continental blue, with only United remaining as the name. Can't wait for more "improvements".
I meant to post this here. Still learning the iPad.
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Old May 18, 11, 7:25 am
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No mas Corona. A change you'll like. ^

Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
I meant to post this here. Still learning the iPad.
It's sad you'll have to mingle with the "lesser" folks when checking in.

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 18, 11 at 8:26 am Reason: merge
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Old May 18, 11, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
It's sad you'll have to mingle with the "lesser" folks when checking in.
It really is, isn't it?
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Old May 18, 11, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
[*]Continental Chase Bag Fee Exemptions. The bag fee waiver benefit for Continental Chase Cardmembers has been expanded to include flights operated by United. This will be applied automatically at check-in as it has been done at Continental.[/list][/indent]
Appreciate the info and recap. Just to clarify on the above, are you referring only to flights operated by UA, but with a CO flight number? Or does the bag fee waiver apply to purely UA numbered and operated flights?
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