So United and Continental got an unconditional green light from the European Union to merge their operations. This was hardly a surprise — the antitrust review by the U.S. government is far more relevant, given the greater domestic competition between the currently-separate carriers.
It’s not clear if it’s coincidence or providence, but United is “celebrating” by offering a free alcoholic beverage to each passenger in Economy Plus from August 6 to 16.
But don’t let the free drinks distract you. The real issue is the merger going forward, and what that means for customers. And while there are no concrete changes being announced, there are telegraphed changes through the shifts in the management lineup.
While the Continental CEO will be at the helm of the combined firm, the frequent flier program will be managed by a United executive. United execs also take the COO and CIO position. (I just hope that the CIO adopts more of continental.com than united.com…)
So, in all likelihood, the mileage program will look more like MileagePlus than OnePass. Gary Leff has speculated some on the direction that the program will take under the merged airline, and I agree fully with his assessments. Most importantly, during a transition period immediately following merger, the two programs will likely feature the best of both worlds.
Check out Gary’s comments for a glimpse into what will likely happen on the mileage front.