United Continental slowly becoming more alike

May 18, 2011 3:24:03 PM PDT
United Airlines rolled out its new look and operating procedures Wednesday as its merger with Continental moves closer.

Ticket counters, gate areas, flight boards and many jets have been updated with a new logo, and there is a change in how the United passengers will board flights.

The morning bank of flights attracted the typical hustle and bustle at O'Hare. But if you look a bit closer in Terminal 1 you may notice something atypical, especially passengers on Continental and United: A dominant United sign with the Continental logo.

The two airlines began merging in the fall. Wednesday marked the first day of integrated check-in for passengers.

"We've made it a priority that if you do show up in the wrong place that is doesn't matter. These kisoks really just invite customers of either airline," said United's Scott O'Leary.

"It was about the same a usual. Maybe a little slower," said passenger Addie Falconer.

Nick Davis flew Continental Wednesday. He showed ABC7 his check-in process.

"You have your tracking number, just go into it type it in. It finds who you are...go through a few upgrades, find more legroom, and you get a boarding pass. So, same as usual," said Davis.

But ABC7 found some Continental passengers confused by the logo changes.

"The overhead indicates Continental, but the wall indicates United," said passenger Sandy Ladewig.

"We were looking for the Continental sign and we had to read the small print," said passenger Brian Ladewig. "We were used to Continental and now everything is United."

One thing that may be easier for travelers with the merger: Merging frequent flyer miles.

"We're creating the capability for you to transfer your miles from one to the other," said O'Leary, "so this a great option for customers who may not have enough for a reward on just one program. You'll be able to combine your miles and earn rewards faster."

Passengers can continue to book flights with either United or Continental, but next year executives expect the merger to be finalized so that all transactions will be under the United name.

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