The Wall Street Journal is reporting that United Airlines will announce on Monday that it is merging with the remaining pieces of struggling carriers Texas International, PEOPLExpress, Frontier, New York Air and Eastern to form an international behemoth that could emerge as America’s strongest airline.
Continental Airlines will also be included in the sale.
No word yet on whether Ionosphere Club members will have access to Red Carpet Clubs. Sadly, it looks like New York Air’s Flying Nosh snacks will be a casualty of the deal.
If you hadn’t read, should the merger go through, the combined entity will be called United, which, as you’ve by now deduced, means that Continental, which dates back to 1934, will disappears from the air. Not since Pan Am have I felt such a tinge of sadness about an airline’s name vanishing.
We have been a Continental/Eastern family since I was a child going back and forth to Florida from Newark. My first trips to California and Hawaii were on Continental 747s – trips that caused by slightly disturbed quasi-obsession with airplanes and airlines. Continental was a hated carrier for a long time, primarily because of its association with Frank Lorenzo. However, the Gordon Bethune years turned many of us into true believers. Airlines yammer on about their loyalty programs, but they really only generate loyalty by how they treat their customers. I know that most people who fly Continental frequently know that they were treated as well as anyone, if not better, whether they were in the front of the plane or in 34G. Those who fly them often, despite Continental’s management taking over the combined carrier, know that it won’t really be the same after that.
After my beloved Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina, I basically gave up on the NHL. I’m not going to stop flying, but it’s depressing to see a great piece of American aviation history evaporate into thin air.