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Continental Airlines is history

Published: March 3, 2012 | 8:35 am
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Metro Detroiters who lived through the merger of Delta and Northwest airlines will not be surprised to learn that yet another airline brand has vanished.

Continental Airlines is no more.

Friday night, reservations systems of United and Continental were due to be merged into one, United.com. The airline code CO (Continental) disappeared.

As of today, the airline is called simply United.

United and Continental joined forces in 2010 and have been working toward the one airline model since then.

United becomes Detroit Metro Airport’s fifth-largest carrier, carrying about 3% of traffic. It serves nonstop markets from Detroit to Chicago, Houston, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Washington Dulles (and is code-share partners with Air Canada to Toronto and US Airways to Charlotte, N.C., and Phoenix.)

If you are traveling, here are a few things to know:

• Holders of Continental tickets are safe. Their Continental ticket should be in the United reservations system with the same flight number and information. Just check in for the flight at United.com.

• Travelers flying nationwide on the combined airline should reconfirm which terminal they should use. At Metro Airport, it’s not a problem since United and Continental already both operated out of the North Terminal. But at some airports such as New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan, passengers should double-check to confirm which terminal is correct for their particular flight.

• There was to be a blackout period from 1-4 a.m. this morning on both airlines’ websites, and the phone system was also due to be unavailable. That allowed the massive reservations systems to be combined.

• Continental One Pass frequent-flier members will lose no miles — the new United Mileage Plus program combines both Continental and United miles. Some United customers may see their frequent-flier number change; check your account to confirm rules, number and total miles.

• Continental gates and ticket counters already were using signs in both airline names, and United kiosks were already appearing at Continental ticket counters at Metro Airport last week. The Continental name will be removed from all signs at airports nationwide quickly.

• Most jets have already been painted with United’s name — but the merged airline has adopted the catchy globe logo of the Continental brand on the tail of its fleet.

The combined airline is run by United Continental Holdings.

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