This article is a reprint from United's intranet as of 9/27/2010.
After the two carriers legally merge, which we currently expect to occur by Oct. 1, 2010, United and Continental employees, retirees and their eligibles will enjoy an interim, mutual and enhanced pass travel program that will enable us to list and travel on each other’s flights. Under the interim program, United’s travel companion passes will not apply to Continental routes, but will remain in effect for United flights. A harmonized travel privilege program for the new United is under development.
“We recognize that travel privileges are important to our employees and retirees, and we have received several inquiries about how they will be impacted once the merger closes,” said Doug Rose, VP-Total Rewards. “The combined carrier’s interim travel program will provide improved access to what will be the world’s leading network as soon as the two companies merge. Meanwhile, we are working hard on identifying systems issues and implementing a plan to harmonize the current United and Continental pass travel programs.”
Until the merger legally closes, United and Continental employees will continue to follow the pass travel rules currently in effect at their respective carrier.
Enhanced Boarding Priority
After the merger closes, the enhanced boarding priority will allow United employees, retirees and their travel eligibles to stand by for Continental flights after Continental employees and their travel eligibles, but at a higher boarding priority than employees from other airlines. The same privileges will be extended to Continental employees, retirees and their eligible pass riders on United flights.
Details will be provided in future communications on how United employees, retirees and eligibles will list, obtain reduced ZED fares, and receive their enhanced boarding priority on Continental flights, as well as how Continental employees will list, obtain reduced ZED fares, and receive their enhanced boarding priority on United flights.
Reduced ZED Fares
United and Continental will reduce the current Zonal Employee Discount (ZED) fees by 33 percent for United employees and their eligibles to travel on Continental and vice versa, after close.
Aligned Pass Travel Dress Code
As of the merger close, we will have a consistent pass travel dress code across both airlines. Relative to United’s current dress code, the new guidelines will allow for a broader range of comfortable, casual attire, including in our premium cabins. However, the overall expectation will continue to be that we present a professional, neat, well-groomed appearance to our customers as we enjoy this valuable privilege.
Long-term Travel Program
The merger integration team continues to work to create a long-term travel privilege program for the new United. United and Continental will also give employees the opportunity to participate in a survey about pass travel in the fourth quarter of 2010. We expect to announce the combined program in the first quarter of 2011.
Interim Travel Program Q and A
When does the interim pass travel program begin?
The interim program will begin after the merger legally closes, which we currently expect to occur on Oct. 1, 2010. Until then, all employees, retirees and their eligibles will continue to follow the NRSA travel procedures currently in effect at their respective carrier.
Who is eligible to participate in the interim pass travel program for the combined airline?
The interim travel program will apply to United and Continental employees, retirees and travel eligibles, but will exclude companion travel. Under this temporary program, United’s travel companion passes will not apply to Continental routes but will still be in effect for United flights.
What is the process for listing myself or my travel eligibles to travel on Continental while the interim travel program is in effect?
We will provide details will follow in future communications on how United employees will list, obtain reduced ZED fares, and receive their enhanced boarding priority for Continental flights, as well as how Continental employees will list, obtain reduced ZED fares and receive enhanced boarding priority on United flights.
What happens to the companion travel program?
The companion travel program will continue unchanged while the interim pass travel program is in effect. Companions will be able to continue to travel on United and United Express at their current pass travel classification but will not have pass travel privileges on Continental after the two airlines merge. We will communicate decisions about the future of the companion travel program will be communicated to employees when the long-term, harmonized program is announced.
Can we take advantage of Continental’s Interline ZED agreements?
No. United’s current ZED agreements will remain unchanged during the interim pass travel program. Employees will continue to enjoy travel using the current United ZED agreements, as they do today.
My enrolled friend is not eligible for other airline ZED passes. Will my enrolled friend be eligible for travel on Continental under the interim pass travel program?
Yes. All travel eligibles, including United enrolled friends, will qualify for pass travel on Continental flights under the interim pass travel program. However, enrolled friends remain ineligible for other airline ZED agreements.
What terms and conditions apply to travel on Continental flights while the interim pass travel program is in effect?
Employees should continue to follow Continental’s terms and conditions when flying on Continental while the interim travel program is in effect, just as employees do while traveling on a ZED ticket today. When the airlines announce the harmonized pass travel program, employees will be informed about any new or changed terms and conditions.
What is the dress code for the interim travel privilege program?
Effective with the legal close of the merger, United and Continental employees will be expected to adhere to the following pass travel dress code on both United and Continental flights:
- Employees', retirees' and their eligibles’ overall appearance should be well-groomed, clean and in good taste.
- Employees, retirees and their eligibles may wear denim attire (such as jeans), shorts that are no more than three inches above the knee and athletic shoes.
- Unacceptable attire on all flights includes, but is not limited to, miniskirts, form-fitting Lycra/spandex clothing, beach-type rubber flip-flops, clothing that reveals a midriff or undergarments or attire that is designated as sleepwear, underwear or swim attire. Attire that has holes or tears, offensive and/or derogatory terminology or graphics, or attire that is inappropriately revealing is also prohibited.
- The full dress code will be available when the interim travel program takes effect.