Topic of the Week: Milestones for Continental and America West

America West, Continental

There were a couple of somewhat minor milestones in the eyes of travelers this week, but I thought it was worth sharing.

First, Continental and United started operating on a single operating certificate. Even though they’re using the old Continental certificate, the United call sign is surviving. If you’re listening to air traffic control, you will no longer hear “Continental” being used. For travelers, this means nothing since the passenger cutover isn’t until March. But it’s still one more step in the integration.

Also this week, US Airways operated the last flight with former America West 737s. Flight 48 arrived in Phoenix from Vegas early on November 29 at 144p. This also marked what I consider the official death of the already dramatically reduced Vegas hub with the end of flights to LA and other places.

If you want to get all misty-eyed and reminisce, go for it in the comments.

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14 comments on “Topic of the Week: Milestones for Continental and America West

  1. About 2 years ago, I ended up on a US 737-300 flying the PIT – PHL route, the one that was purportedly full of Southwest non-revers commuting to work. There was a solid crosswind on landing at PHL, and the pilots put the plane down pretty hard, as I’m sure they were intending to.

    I was in 3F and when we hit the runway, the interior window and about half of the internal panel next to me came down, landing in my lap. While that stuff isn’t structural to the aircraft, there was a brisk wind blowing through where the window came off. On deplaning, I walked up to the captain who was standing at the cockpit door, handed him the window and pointed out “You might want this back for the next leg you’re flying.” The look on his face was priceless.

    1. Well, those 737-300s are still around for a bit longer! It’s just the ex-America West ones that are out. The ex-US Airways ones still have a little bit longer. Also, the 737-400s will be around for awhile longer too.

      (That’s a great story, by the way.)

  2. My only flying on America West was in it’s younger days. It was a roundtrip ONT-PHX and I said I would never fly them again and I never did.

    I only fly USAir after they took over PSA and fly the old PSA routes. While PSA was great, after it became USAir and they stopped flying the PSA routes, I had no reason to fly them ever again and have never really liked USAir anyway.

    Continental I’ve only flown 3x so other then the loss of another airline from the ‘goldden years’ of flying, I really have to feeling for them good or bad.

    1. I feel the same way about Continental. Despite it being based in LA until the 1980s, I feel no love for the airline and have only rarely flown them since it was almost never convenient for west coast travelers.

  3. While I haven’t logged many miles on CO, it was the first airline that I earned frequent flyer credit on back in, oh, 1993. (it wasn’t the first airline I flew on, though).

  4. Positive and expected news about the CO and UA certificate. I would think that some of US’s 737’s would have older and more ready for retirement, but I suppose they replaced those with the big A319/20/21 purchase a decade or more ago. It’s nice to be on newer planes, but I’m sure there are a few sad former HP folks out there somewhere.

  5. Gee I am not sorry to see the name Continental go away. I have been screwed twice by them from bankruptcies and our good friend Frank Lorenzo. They just always left a bad taste in my mouth. No ththat United ever was any better.

  6. The following was posted on Facebook by Continental’s former leader, Gordon Bethune on November 30th, “Today is the first day since 1937 that there are no Continental Airline airplanes operating anywhere in the world. Thousands of ex-cons are saddened by the loss of a great brand that brought pride to so many of us. Unlike other airlines who disappeared, CO was the only one who went out “On Top”. Most admired global airline, more JD Power awards than any airline ever…you name it, CO won it……every customer satisfaction award, 100 best places to work in America for six straight years. It’s like a college diploma, it’s our accomplishment and it’s in the record books. We can all go do other things but we will always be tied by our joint accomplishment….making CO the best airline there ever was. My thanks to all of you who went the extra mile to put us on the map. No one could have done it better than you.” This is yet another example of why ‘airline guys’ should run airlines, not bean-counters.

    1. Hrm, I never heard Continental folks referred to as “ex-cons” perhaps Bethune should choose another term?

      Also, Bethune was running a group at Boeing before he jumped to Continental. He wasn’t exactly an airline guy when he turned the place around..

      1. We (ex-Continental employees) do in fact embrace the ex-con moniker, and have t-shirts and key chains to prove it. Before Boeing, Bethune built Piedmont into the powerhouse it was prior to being merged into USAir.

  7. Oh yes, this is very sad to me. I loved HP and had just as much fun working there as I did for VS! Guess I must be getting old, as these changes are getting to me.

  8. sad to see cont go away as united has not been my most fav airline ever ever… i miss the amex points tie in with continental… too bad United can’t get it together to keep it…i have to use delta and then conect with united lots and they seem to never ever get my luggage on board when i fell brave and check a bag……

  9. Ah yes, I forgot about UA’s great reputation for baggage handling. My bag was lost from IAD to JFK for 2 days! Let’s hope that will improve with some CO input.

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