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Dear Continental Airlines…

Dear Continental Airlines,

It wasn’t me, it was you.  Upon reading today that your merger with United has closed it finally hit me that you will be gone.  I harbor no ill feelings toward United (and my knees harbor only good feelings toward Economy Plus), but we’ve had so many memories together, Continental, and now I realize that you are gone.  All gone.

Remember when I was 14 and I took my first real flight that didn’t involve going to see my grandparents in Florida?  Yes, Continental 747 recently painted from PeopleExpress colors, that was me.  Oh how I had heard about your macadamia pie on Hawaii flights from my father.  Sure, I’m allergic to nuts and couldn’t eat it, but the image of watching my father enjoy it on the 11 hours out to Honolulu is still burned in my head, Continental.

From those earliest days to the weekly 6am flights from Cleveland to White Plains during my darkest most miserable consulting days, you’ve always been there.  Well mostly – not when you canceled my flight to London a couple of months ago.  But that was the volcano’s fault, not yours.  Even though you were the only airline canceling flights that day.  I couldn’t possibly stay mad at you.

You upgraded me so many times back in the day when you could actually get upgrades as a lowly Silver Elite.  Oh, the look on my boss’ face walking by me as my tush was planted in 2E — that was priceless.

You were there to bump me on some flight from Detroit back home, and give me a bump ticket that allowed me a free flight to Alaska, a flight I took as a graduation present to me after college.  That was awfully kind of you.

You were kind enough not only to hold that connection when I  flew to Las Veags, but actually upgrade me on that connection because, the gate agent told me, they do (did?) those kinds of things for their customers.

You offered upgrades on flights to Central America and the Caribbean, allowing me to sit in style on vacation trips, something my wife & I thank you for.   Other airlines don’t do that.

You probably talked a bit too much about how you offered food, but I really did appreciate that little turkey sandwich and chocolate bar.  I didn’t really need them, but it was nice to know that you cared.

It was lovely when you flew me to London.  And Dublin.  And Tokyo.  And Rio.  And Glasgow.  And Lisbon.  And Panama.  And San Pedro Sula.  And Anchorage.  And Rome.

And it was kind when you let me use those miles from flights to Atlanta on Emirates so my wife and I could fly in business class to South Asia.  That was awfully nice of you, too.

You were helpful when I needed to change plans and helpful when my plans were just fine.

And although so many travelers complain about how we’re treated, in the end I think all of us who flew Continental knew in our hearts that the decisions you made almost always had our best interests in mind.  I’m not sure you’ll find a more loyal group of frequent flyers than those of us who fly Continental.

Big hugs to everyone in Houston.

Sincerely,
Jared

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  1. Somewhere, Frank Lorenzo is smiling.

  2. Generally, when an airlines goes out, I don’t give it a lot of thought (well except for Pan Am), but I just can’t imagine there no longer being a Continental.

    In 20 years they turned themselves from an industry joke, to a world class airline, and it’s just sad to see that name disappear into the sunset.

    Of course it could have something to do with spending my young adult years there (F/A from age 20 to 32).

    I will miss seeing their name.

  3. I hope some of the good things about Continental will be incorporated into United. If they were to disappear, then IMHO the merger would truly be a failure for consumers.

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