Continental Airlines
Overview
 
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. (the parent company of United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

) announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

, Inc. During the integration period, both airlines are, for a time, running separate operations under direction of a combined leadership team of the new parent company based in Chicago.
Encyclopedia
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. (the parent company of United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

) announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

, Inc. During the integration period, both airlines are, for a time, running separate operations under direction of a combined leadership team of the new parent company based in Chicago. The merger transaction is estimated to be worth (USD)$3.2 billion. On November 30, 2011, United Airlines was issued a single operating certificate at 7:00am Eastern Standard Time. From a technical regulatory standpoint, Continental Airlines now ceases to exist as a separate air carrier. United and Continental are now considered one airline by the FAA, and Continental pilots have started using the "United" call sign in air traffic control. Temporarily, ground operations and reservation systems will remain somewhat separate until early in 2012.

At the time of the merger with United to form United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

, Inc., Continental was the fourth-largest airline in the US based on passenger-kilometers flown and the fifth largest in total passengers carried. Continental operates flights to destinations throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Principal operations are from its four hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

, George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 (Houston), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

 and Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport , also known as Guam International Airport, is an airport located in Tamuning and Barrigada, three miles east of the capital city of Hagåtña in the U.S. territory of Guam. It is named for Antonio Borja Won Pat, the first delegate from Guam to the United...

 in Guam. The only Continental hubs to be rebranded are Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

 and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

. The Newark hub began the rebranding process on October 19, 2011 with all United-operated ticket counters and gates to be rebranded in Phase One; Phase Two of rebranding at Newark will begin in 2012 with Continental ticket counters and gates to be rebranding.

The origin of Continental Airlines dates to the 1934 formation of Varney Speed Lines which operated airmail
Airmail
Airmail is mail that is transported by aircraft. It typically arrives more quickly than surface mail, and usually costs more to send...

 and passenger services in the American Southwest. The carrier was renamed Continental Air Lines in 1937 and expanded its domestic U.S. network in the 1960s with jet aircraft. International flights to Southeast Asia and South Pacific destinations began in 1978 following industry deregulation
Airline Deregulation Act
The Airline Deregulation Act is a United States federal law signed into law on October 24, 1978. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry from commercial aviation...

. Continental was embroiled in ownership struggles in the 1980s and entered bankruptcy in 1983 and 1990. The carrier exhibited a financial and operational turnaround after 1996, and embarked on international route expansion in the 2000s.

Continental has ownership interests and brand partnerships with several carriers. Continental is a minority owner of ExpressJet Airlines
ExpressJet Airlines
ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. is an American regional airline based in the A-Tech Center in College Park, Georgia. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Southeast Airlines which is in turn a subsidiary of the airline holding company SkyWest, Inc., parent company of the air carrier SkyWest...

, which operates under the 'Continental Express
Continental Express
Continental Express is the operating brand name used by a number of independently owned regional airlines providing regional jet feeder service under agreement with Continental Airlines...

' trade name but is a separately managed and public company. Chautauqua Airlines
Chautauqua Airlines
Chautauqua Airlines, Inc. is a regional airline and a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings based in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Based on 2009 published flight schedules, it operates scheduled passenger services on more than 700 flights daily to 98 airports in 31 states, Washington, D.C...

 also flies under the Continental Express identity, and Cape Air
Cape Air
Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States. It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, Florida, the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic States, Midwest, and Micronesia...

, Colgan Air
Colgan Air
Colgan Air, Inc. is an American certificated regional airline subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. The headquarters of Colgan Air are located in Memphis, Tennessee....

, CommutAir
CommutAir
Champlain Enterprises, Inc., operating name CommutAir, is an American regional airline with its headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont and its operations center in North Olmsted, Ohio. It operates under the name Continental Connection for United Continental Holdings, with its main bases at...

, and Gulfstream International Airlines
Gulfstream International Airlines
Gulfstream International Group, Inc., operating as Gulfstream International Airlines , is a United States airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It operates scheduled and charter services to Florida and Bahamas and the Caribbean. It operates as a United Express carrier for United Airlines...

 feed Continental's flights under the Continental Connection
Continental Connection
Continental Connection is a brand name under which several commuter airline carriers and their holding companies operate services marketed exclusively by Continental Airlines...

 identity. Continental does not have any ownership interests in these companies.

Continental Airlines left the SkyTeam
SkyTeam
SkyTeam, branded as SKYTEAM, is an airline alliance with its centralised management team, SkyTeam Central, based at the World Trade Center Schiphol Airport on the grounds of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands...

 alliance on October 24, 2009, and joined Star Alliance
Star Alliance
Star Alliance is the world's first and largest airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany . The alliance was founded in 1997 by five of the world's leading airlines: Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines...

 on October 27, 2009. Together with its subsidiaries, Continental has more than 2,423 daily departures, serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations and has 42,210 employees as of December 2009. Since 1998, Continental's marketing slogan has been "Work Hard, Fly Right."

On Sunday, May 2, 2010, the Boards of Directors at Continental and United Airlines approved a stock-swap deal that would combine them into the world's largest airline in revenue passenger miles. The new airline will take on the United Airlines name, Continental's logo and be based in United's hometown of Chicago. The new United will be run by Continental's CEO, Jeffery Smisek, along with United Airline's CEO, Glenn Tilton, serving as non-executive Chairman of the board. The deal received approval from U.S. and European regulators in the summer of 2010. The shareholders of both airlines approved the deal on September 17, 2010.

Early history (1931–1958)

Continental Airlines began service in 1934 as Varney Speed Lines (named after one of its initial owners, Walter T. Varney, who was also a founder of United Airlines) operating out of El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 and extending through Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

, Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of . Santa Fe had a population of 67,947 in the 2010 census...

, and Las Vegas, NM to Pueblo
Pueblo, Colorado
Pueblo is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 246th most populous city in the United States....

, CO. The airline commenced operations with the Lockheed Vega
Lockheed Vega
|-See also:-References:NotesCitationsBibliography* Allen, Richard Sanders. Revolution in the Sky: Those Fabulous Lockheeds, The Pilots Who Flew Them. Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1964....

, a single-engine plane that carried four passengers. The airline later flew other Lockheed planes, including the Lockheed Model 9 Orion, the Lockheed Electra Junior, and the Lockheed Lodestar
Lockheed Lodestar
The Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar was a passenger transport aircraft of the World War II era.-Design and development:The prototype of the Lockheed Model 18, which first flew in 1939, was constructed from one of a batch of Lockheed Model 14 Super Electras which had been returned to the manufacturer by...

.

Following cancellation of all domestic airmail contracts by the Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 administration in 1934, Robert Six
Robert Six
Robert Forman Six was the CEO of Continental Airlines from 1936 to 1981. Six's career began in the earliest days of U.S. commercial aviation. His determined, scrappy, risk-taking nature paid off for Continental Airlines, the company that would for forty-five years be forged in his image...

 learned of an opportunity to buy into the Southwest Division of Varney Speed Lines which needed money to handle its newly won Pueblo-El Paso route. Six was introduced to Louis Mueller (who would serve as Chairman of the Board of Continental until February 28, 1966). Mueller had helped found the Southwest Division of Varney in 1934 with Walter T. Varney. As an upshot of all this, Six bought into the airline with US$90,000 and became general manager on July 5, 1936. Varney was awarded a 17-cent-rate airmail contract between Pueblo and El Paso; it carried passengers as a sideline. The carrier was renamed Continental Air Lines on July 8, 1937. ("Air Lines" was later changed to "Airlines".) Six relocated the airline's headquarters to Denver Union (later Stapleton) Airport in Denver in October 1937. Six changed the name to "Continental" because he wanted the airline name to reflect his desire to have the airline fly all directions throughout the United States.

Robert F. Six
Robert Six
Robert Forman Six was the CEO of Continental Airlines from 1936 to 1981. Six's career began in the earliest days of U.S. commercial aviation. His determined, scrappy, risk-taking nature paid off for Continental Airlines, the company that would for forty-five years be forged in his image...

 was one of the colorful group of innovators, pioneers, and visionaries (including Juan Trippe
Juan Trippe
Juan Terry Trippe was an American airline entrepreneur and pioneer, and the founder of Pan American World Airways, one of the world's most prominent airlines of the twentieth century.-Early years:...

, William A. Patterson
William A. Patterson
William A. "Pat" Patterson was the President of United Airlines from 1934 until 1966.Patterson was born on a sugar plantation in Waipahu on Oahu, Hawaii. When Patterson was 13, his widowed mother moved to San Francisco, California, while he remained at Honolulu Military Academy. Not liking the...

, Jack Frye
Jack Frye
William John "Jack" Frye was an aviation pioneer, who with Paul E. Richter and Walter A. Hamilton, built TWA into a world class airline during his tenure as chairman from 1934-1947....

, C.R. Smith, and Eddie Rickenbacker
Eddie Rickenbacker
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.-Early...

) who established and built the U.S. airline industry. Throughout his life, Six had a reputation as a combative and risk-taking executive who presided forcefully over the airline that was largely forged in his image for more than 40 years.

During World War II, Continental's Denver maintenance facilities became a conversion center where the airline converted B-17s, B-29s and P-51s
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

 for the United States Army Air Force. Profits from military transportation and aircraft conversion enabled Continental to contemplate expansion and acquisition of new aircraft types which became available following the war. Among those types were the DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

, the Convair 240
Convair 240
The Convair CV-240 was an American airliner produced by Convair from 1947 to 1954, initially as a possible replacement of the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. While featuring a more modern design, the 240 series was able to make some inroads as a commercial airliner and also had a long development cycle...

 and the Convair 340. Some of the DC-3s were acquired as surplus military aircraft following World War II. The Convairs were the first aircraft operated by Continental that were pressurized
Cabin pressurization
Cabin pressurization is the pumping of compressed air into an aircraft cabin to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for crew and passengers when flying at altitude.-Need for cabin pressurization:...

.

The airline's early route network was limited to the original El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

 to Denver route with routes being added during the Second World War from Denver and Albuquerque across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. By 1946, Continental had expanded new routes from Denver to Kansas City, Tulsa, and to Oklahoma City, and from El Paso and Albuquerque to San Antonio. Each of these routes included intermediate stops in several of 22 smaller cities. In 1953, Continental achieved its first major expansion by merging with Pioneer Airlines, gaining access to 16 additional cities in Texas and New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. These Pioneer destinations integrated well with Continental's post-World War II routes, and provided impetus for the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the industry regulator, to subsequently streamline CAL's routes from Denver to the principal traffic points in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma. However, Continental was, like most U.S. carriers of the day, essentially a limited regional operation. Bob Six was highly dissatisfied with this situation. He vigorously petitioned the CAB for longer-haul routes to larger cities, a part of his plan to transform the regional into a trunkline like United
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

, TWA
Twa
The Twa are any of several hunting peoples of Africa who live interdependently with agricultural Bantu populations, and generally hold a socially subordinate position: They provide the farming population with game in exchange for agricultural products....

, and American
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

. Simultaneously, he was quietly discussing with Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 for Continental to become one of the first among the world's airlines to operate the soon-to-be-launched 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

 jet aircraft. The timing was crucial, since the new routes would justify the 707s, and vice versa.

The "Airline that needed to grow" (1959–1969)

By the end of the 1950s, Six's strategy had succeeded. Continental Airlines had seen a broad expansion of its routes, thanks to a responsive CAB and persistent efforts by Six, who frequently referred to his company as, "the Airline that needs to grow." In 1957, it flew for the first time from Chicago to Los Angeles (both nonstop, and via Denver); and nonstop from Denver and Los Angeles to Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. Continental Airlines introduced turboprop service with the Vickers Viscount
Vickers Viscount
The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

 on the new medium haul routes. The CAB permitted Continental to drop service at many of the smaller cities on the system, enabling the carrier's new aircraft to operate more economically between points with longer lengths-of-haul. Prior to the introduction of its Boeing 707 jets, Continental acquired the popular DC-7s
Douglas DC-7
The Douglas DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston engine powered transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.-Design and...

 to operate its nonstop route from Los Angeles to Chicago, as well as Denver-Los Angeles and Chicago-Kansas City (see photos). In 1960 Continental had more than triple the passenger-miles it had had in 1956.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Six clearly established himself as the airline industry's leading lower-fare advocate. He correctly predicted that increased traffic, not higher fares, was the answer to the airline industry's problems. Six stunned the industry when he introduced the economy fare on the Chicago-Los Angeles route in 1962. He later pioneered a number of other low or discount fares which brought air travel to many who otherwise could not have afforded it. One of Continental's early innovations was a system-wide economy excursion fare which cut the standard coach fares by more than 25%.

As Six had planned, Continental was one of the earliest operators of the Boeing 707, taking delivery of its first of five 707-124s in spring 1959 and starting Chicago-Los Angeles nonstop on June 8. Having so few jets, Continental needed radical innovations to the 707 maintenance program. It developed an industry first: the innovative "progressive maintenance" program enabled Continental to fly its 707 fleet seven days a week, 16 hours a day, achieving greater aircraft utilization than any other jet aircraft operator in the airline industry. (The March 1961 OAG shows CO's five 707s flying seven round trips a day between Los Angeles and Chicago (not all nonstop); the only other jet service was a Continental/American interchange 707 Houston-El Paso-Los Angeles and back.)

Six, not being satisfied with 707 service alone, introduced exclusive innovations and luxe cuisine with Continental's 707 operations which were described as, "... nothing short of luxurious" by the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

, and, "... clearly, the finest in the airline industry" by the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Continental added routes from Los Angeles to Houston, both nonstop and with 1- and 2-stop services to Houston via Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Midland-Odessa, Austin, and San Antonio. New service was also inaugurated from Denver to Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, and Houston (to Houston: both nonstop, and with 1- and 2-stop services via Wichita/Tulsa/Oklahoma City). In 1963, the company's headquarters were moved from Denver to Los Angeles. Total passenger-miles in 1967 were more than five times greater than in 1960, but 61% of the 1967 total was on unscheduled flights (mostly transpacific charters).

During the late 1960s, the company disposed of the last of its turboprop and piston-powered aircraft—one of the first U.S. airlines to do so. Continental replaced the Viscount fleet with DC-9s
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

 from Douglas Aircraft and began an aggressive acquisition of Boeing 727
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

 aircraft. These two types (DC-9 and B-727) were to become the workhorses of the Continental fleet from the late 1960s, and for the next twenty years. The DC-9s were phased out and by the mid to late seventies, Continental used the 727 for its narrow body fleet. In 1968, a new systemwide Continental Airlines livery
Livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

 was launched, the orange and gold cheatlines adorned with a black "jetstream" logo (by Six's friend, the noted graphic designer Saul Bass
Saul Bass
Saul Bass was a Jewish-American graphic designer and filmmaker, best known for his design of motion picture title sequences....

) on the jets' tails (logo was later altered to red; see photo of 747). The marketing slogans adopted in 1968 and employed for about a decade were, "The Airline That Pride Built" and, "The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail.". Continental had been awarded routes to New Zealand and Australia, in the Transpacific Case, but were cancelled by the Nixon Administration.
Throughout the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, Continental provided extensive cargo and troop transportation for United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 forces to Asian and the Pacific bases. Continental's 707-324Cs were the most common non-military aircraft transiting Saigon Tan Son Nhat airport. As a result of Continental's experience in Pacific operations, the carrier formed subsidiary Air Micronesia in May 1968, inaugurating island hopping
Island hopping
Island hopping is a term that refers to the means of crossing an ocean by a series of shorter journeys between islands, as opposed to a single journey directly across the ocean to the destination.- Forms :...

 routes between Yap
Yap
Yap, also known as Wa'ab by locals, is an island in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean. It is a state of the Federated States of Micronesia. Yap's indigenous cultures and traditions are still strong compared to other neighboring islands. The island of Yap actually consists of four...

/Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

/Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, Majuro
Majuro
Majuro , is a large coral atoll of 64 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district of the Ratak Chain of the Marshall Islands. The atoll itself has a land area of and encloses a lagoon of...

, Rota, Truk, Ponape (Pohnpei
Pohnpei
Not to be confused with Pompeii, the ancient city destroyed by Vesuvius in AD 79.Pohnpei "upon a stone altar " is the name of one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia , situated among the Senyavin Islands which are part of the larger Caroline Islands group...

) and Honolulu. "Air Mike", as it was known, initially operated with Boeing 727–100
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

 aircraft specially outfitted with open-ocean survival gear, doppler radar, and a large complement of spare parts (including tires). A senior mechanic flew aboard every Air Mike flight until the late 1970s. Air Micronesia operated as subsidiary Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It operated daily flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as international services to Asia, Micronesia and Australia from its base of operations at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam, a U.S. territory in...

 until 2010.

September 1969 saw the realization of a long-cherished goal: introduction of Continental service from Los Angeles to Honolulu/Hilo; and in 1970, Continental was awarded routes from Seattle and Portland to San Jose, Hollywood-Burbank Airport, and Ontario, California—all rapidly growing airline markets. Nonstop San Francisco to Albuquerque and Dallas services were added in the same year.

First African-American pilot

In 1963, Continental was forced to hire the first African-American pilot to work for any major carrier in the United States, Marlon D. Green
Marlon Green
Marlon D. Green was the first African American pilot hired by a major passenger airline in the United States. He was born in El Dorado, Arkansas...

. Although Continental Airlines first denied him a position as a pilot, after a United States Supreme Court decision allowed a Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 anti-discrimination law to be applied to his case against Continental. Green flew with Continental Airlines for 13 years, between 1965 until his retirement in 1978. Continental's hiring of Marlon Green paved the way for the hiring of minority pilots by all U.S. carriers, an industry milestone which was finally realized in 1977 after Southern Airways
Southern Airways
Southern Airways was a regional airline operating in the United States from its founding by Frank Hulse in 1949 until 1979 when it merged with North Central Airlines to become Republic Airlines, which on October 1, 1986, became part of Northwest Airlines, which in 2008 became a part of Delta Air...

 and Piedmont
Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989)
Piedmont Airlines was a major airline in the United States which operated from 1948 until its operations were merged into USAir in 1989. Its headquarters were located at One Piedmont Plaza in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a building which is now part of Wake Forest University.As of April 1989,...

 hired their first minority pilots.

The widebody era (1970–1976)

At Six's insistence, Continental (with Pan Am
Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991...

 and Trans World Airlines
Trans World Airlines
Trans World Airlines was an American airline that existed from 1925 until it was bought out by and merged with American Airlines in 2001. It was a major domestic airline in the United States and the main U.S.-based competitor of Pan American World Airways on intercontinental routes from 1946...

) was a launch airline for the Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 aircraft. On June 26, 1970, Continental became the second carrier (after TWA) to put the 747 into U.S. domestic service. Its upper-deck first class lounge and main deck "Polynesian Pub" won awards worldwide for the most refined cabin interior among all airlines, as did meal services developed by Continental's Cordon Bleu-trained executive chef, Lucien DeKeyser. Continental's 747 services from Chicago and Denver to Los Angeles and Honolulu set the standard for service in the western U.S. When asked by one Denver customer service agent in 1974 why he flew Continental wherever he could, Hollywood legend Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

 remarked, "This operation is class; strictly class!"

On June 1, 1972, Continental's widebody DC-10
McDonnell Douglas DC-10
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

 service began. Six had insisted that Continental place a large order for DC-10s with manufacturer McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

. This decision again proved prescient, since the publicity associated with Continental's splashy 747 service in the Chicago-Denver-Los Angeles-Honolulu backbone corridor had stimulated not only increased market share, but increased traffic for all carriers in the markets. Additionally Denver, Houston and Seattle were experiencing very rapid growth. The DC-10s quickly assumed most of the duties of flying between Denver and Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle (and between Houston-Los Angeles).

During the 1970s, Denver continued to be the central hub of the Continental system. The 747s were focused on the Chicago-Los Angeles-Honolulu routes, with a single daily round trip through Denver. The DC-10 aircraft operated in large inter-city markets (usually from Los Angeles to Chicago, Denver, Houston and Honolulu; and from Denver to Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Houston). DC-9 and B-727 types predominated over the rest of the system, as well as supplementing frequencies in the DC-10 markets. Next to Braniff, Continental operated fewer aircraft types (four: the B-747, DC-10, B-727-200, and DC9-10
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

) during this period than any U.S. trunkline, affording substantial savings in parts, maintenance, and crew training logistics and costs.

The DC-10 enabled the airline to capitalize on the burgeoning traffic growth in western U.S. markets. Continental saw market share grow annually in each DC-10 market through the 1970s, until relative market parity was achieved with United, the principal competitor on most of the DC-10 routes. The same service innovations introduced to the 747 fleet were initially implemented on the DC-10s, including the "Polynesian Pub"; although after the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

-induced fuel price increases, higher seating capacity was needed to achieve profitable economics, and the DC-10 pubs would be removed. Continental phased out its 747s in favor of the DC-10s. From the mid seventies until it was merged with Texas International, the airline operated just two types of aircraft, the DC-10 and the 727.

According to Six biographer Robert Serling, quality was the watchword in every detail of Continental's operations in the 1960s and 1970s. In one anecdotal indication of Six's passion for premium customer service, every page of the airline's Customer Service Manual was inscribed with these words: "Nothing in this manual supersedes common sense." Bob Six relentlessly prowled the Continental system, as well as competitors' flights, to assure tight quality standards and to search for ideas that could be adopted to Continental's network. The airline credits Six with instituting a culture promoting customer service.

From 1961 to 1982, Continental was headquartered at the western end of the Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

 property. The facility included the general offices, flight control, central maintenance facility, flight kitchen, and Los Angeles crew bases.

Deregulation and expansion (1977–1980)

In 1974, after years of delays and legal proceedings, Continental inaugurated service between Houston and Miami, and on May 21, 1976, Continental was authorized to operate between San Diego and Denver—both routes had been long-sought, and signaled a new era of rapid growth for Continental. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 and Civil Aeronautics Board chairman Alfred Kahn
Alfred E. Kahn
Alfred Edward Kahn was an American professor, an expert in regulation and deregulation, and an important influence in the deregulation of the airline and energy industries...

 had been promoting deregulation of the airline industry (see Airline Deregulation Act
Airline Deregulation Act
The Airline Deregulation Act is a United States federal law signed into law on October 24, 1978. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry from commercial aviation...

), which would dissolve the CAB and for the first time in industry history allow U.S. carriers to determine without government supervision where they would fly, and how much they could charge for their services. In this context, 1977 was an historic year for Continental and the industry at large, as the CAB began to loosen its regulatory grip. Continental began service from Denver to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa/St. Petersburg in Florida. In that same year, President Carter authorized Continental to begin daily round trips between Air Micronesia destination Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 and Japan, and approved a route for Continental from Los Angeles to Australia via Honolulu, American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. The South Pacific service began May 1, 1979.

After the 1978 passage of the Airline Deregulation Act
Airline Deregulation Act
The Airline Deregulation Act is a United States federal law signed into law on October 24, 1978. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry from commercial aviation...

, Continental embarked on an aggressive program of route expansion. October 1978 saw Continental begin flights from the New York area airports to Houston and Denver, and from Denver to Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

. That same month, Continental inaugurated DC-10 service between Los Angeles and Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

, via Honolulu and Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

. Service between Houston and Washington, D.C., began in January 1979. In June 1979, Continental linked Denver with Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, San Francisco and San Jose and also began Houston-Tampa service. The airline suffered in 1979 when the DC-10 was grounded nationwide. Given that Continental Airlines only operated the DC-10 and the 727 at the time, flights to Hawaii were cancelled during the grounding. By the time of the Texas Air Corp. acquisition in 1981, Continental's post-deregulation growth had allowed it to penetrate every major U.S. airline market (and all of the regional markets) from the hubs in Denver and Houston, and the rapid expansion in the air was answered with large-scale facilities expansions at each of these airports. In Denver, Continental's very rapid growth provided the final impetus for the construction of the new Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

, which would be completed almost fifteen years later.
While deregulation allowed Continental to expand into new profitable areas, it hurt the company's existing business as consumers were for the first time able to choose lower fares over Continental's better service. During 1978, Continental explored the possibility of a merger with Western Airlines
Western Airlines
Western Airlines was a large airline based in California, with operations throughout the Western United States, and hubs at Los Angeles International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, and the former Stapleton International Airport in Denver...

. Western was also headquartered at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and operated a fleet consisting predominantly of the same 727 and DC-10 aircraft types as Continental. The route systems would have been complementary, with little overlap; because, although they both served the Western states, Continental had strength in Hawaii, southern-tier and the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 states; Western's strengths were in the California intrastate market, Alaska, Mexico, and the Intermountain West
Intermountain West
The Intermountain West is a region of North America lying between the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Cascades and Sierra Nevada to the west. It is also called the Intermountain Region.- Topography :...

. Both airlines served the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 and Rocky Mountain states, but along different routes from Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix. This merger was not consummated, however, and industry changes were to take Continental down a very different path.

Unlike some airlines (notably Braniff whose expansion was so rapid and unsustainable that the additional costs made investment recovery impossible, and the carrier was forced into bankruptcy and liquidation), Continental's rate of expansion following passage of the Airline Deregulation Act
Airline Deregulation Act
The Airline Deregulation Act is a United States federal law signed into law on October 24, 1978. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry from commercial aviation...

 seems, in retrospect, to have been appropriate. The markets that were added were almost all profitable, absorbing some of the hits to its existing markets and helping it in its difficult times between 1982 and 1994.

Acquisition by Texas Air Corporation (1981–1982)

In 1981 Texas Air Corporation, an airline holding company controlled by U.S. aviation entrepreneur Frank Lorenzo
Frank Lorenzo
Francisco Anthony "Frank" Lorenzo is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is most famous for his leadership of Texas International Airlines and its successor holding company Texas Air Corporation between 1972 and 1990, through which he formed or acquired a number of major U.S...

, acquired Continental after a contentious battle with Continental's management who were determined to resist Lorenzo. Continental's labor unions also fiercely resisted, fearing what they termed as, "Lorenzo's deregulation tactics," which meant that he wanted to make Continental a non-union airline. Lorenzo viewed the company as stuck in the pre-deregulation era and in need of serious changes to stay competitive. The airline was experiencing financial challenges both before and after Lorenzo's takeover, and he demanded immediate wage cuts and lay offs to keep the company afloat. During this struggle, Continental Airlines President, A. L. Feldman, committed suicide, on August 9, 1981, in his office.

In the end, Texas Air Corp. prevailed. Frank Lorenzo became Continental's new Chairman and CEO. On October 31, 1982 Continental merged with Texas International (the merged carrier retained the Continental name, brand, and identity; the TI brand and identity disappeared), offering service to four continents (North and South America, Asia and Australia) with a fleet of 112 aircraft. The "new Continental" relocated its headquarters to Texas Air's base in Houston, Texas. The merger resulted in a large expansion of Continental's hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 and extensive new routes to Mexico and the south central U.S.

Airline unions fought Lorenzo and Continental at every step. In the Federal courts, they unsuccessfully sued to stop the company's reorganization. They were successful in working to persuade Congress to pass a new bankruptcy law preventing bankrupt companies from terminating contracts as Continental had successfully done. The law was too late to affect Continental and the cost cutting and changes that had rescued it from liquidation.

First bankruptcy & labor relations (1983–1984)

Frank Lorenzo took Continental into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 23, 1983, after unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a lower pay rate with labor unions. This saved the company from liquidation, but required substantial reorganization, which began immediately. Following bankruptcy, Continental was freed of its contractual obligations and imposed a series of new labor agreements on its union workers, sharply reducing the airline's labor costs at the cost of employee morale. This move made Continental vastly more competitive with the new airline startups then emerging and thriving in the southwestern U.S., but had notable negative impact on employee attitudes and loyalty. The airline's decision to take bankruptcy worked—by the end of 1984, Continental recorded a $50 million profit. On June 30, 1986, Continental emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Pilots went on strike in 1983, but were unsuccessful due to Continental pilots and new hires who crossed the picket line.

Consolidation causes rapid growth (1985–1989)

On April 28, 1985, Continental began its rebound, as signaled by the inauguration of its first ever scheduled service to Europe with flights from Newark and Houston to London. Soon thereafter, services to Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Munich were added. However, the airline was still facing significant challenges with consistently low reliability rankings and a high level of customer complaints compared with its competitors.

In October 1985, Texas Air Corp. made an offer for a Denver-based regional carrier, Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines (1950-1986)
Frontier Airlines was formed from a merger of Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines, and Monarch Airlines on June 1, 1950. They established their headquarters at Stapleton Airport in Denver. However, the airline dated itself to November 27, 1946, when Monarch Airlines began service in Colorado,...

, opening a bidding war with People Express, which was headed by Lorenzo's former TI associate Don Burr. People Express paid a substantial premium for Frontier's high-cost operation. The acquisition, funded by debt, did not seem rational to industry observers from either the route integration or the operating philosophy points of view, but was in the opinion of most industry analysts rather an attempt by Burr to best his former boss, Frank Lorenzo.

On August 24, 1986, Frontier filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. With People Express hemorrhaging cash, Texas Air acquired People Express on September 15, 1986, at the same time gaining Frontier, whose strong network in the Great Plains and intermountain West reinforced Continental's already formidable Denver hub. Because it had been the largest airline operating in the New York market, the People Express hub at Newark would permit Continental to expand its East Coast services dramatically for the first time in its history. Continental soon became the third-largest airline in the U.S. and the predominant force in the New York, Denver and Houston airline markets. Continental emerged from bankruptcy in 1986 with improved asset and cash flow positions and a more competitive route structure with routes radiating to every large U.S. city from major hubs at Denver and Houston. Continental also began developing its Midwest hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

 in 1986, just as United Airlines began to transfer its Cleveland hub operations to Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport is a public airport in Dulles, Virginia, 26 miles west of downtown Washington, D.C. The airport serves the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia metropolitan area centered on the District of Columbia. It is named after John Foster Dulles, Secretary of...

 in Fairfax County, Virginia.

On February 1, 1987, People Express, Frontier
Frontier Airlines (1950-1986)
Frontier Airlines was formed from a merger of Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines, and Monarch Airlines on June 1, 1950. They established their headquarters at Stapleton Airport in Denver. However, the airline dated itself to November 27, 1946, when Monarch Airlines began service in Colorado,...

, New York Air
New York Air
New York Air was a 1980s startup airline owned by Texas Air Corporation and based at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, Queens, New York City.-History:...

, and several commuter carriers were merged into Continental Airlines to create the third-largest U.S. airline (and sixth largest airline in the world). In so doing, Continental became an even larger player in the northeastern markets. 1987 saw the creation of Continental's OnePass frequent flier program (jointly with Eastern Airlines); and, in 1988 Continental formed its first strategic partnership (and the first international airline alliance
Airline alliance
An airline alliance is an agreement between two or more airlines to cooperate on a substantial level. The three largest passenger alliances are the Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld. Alliances also form between cargo airlines, such as that of WOW Alliance, SkyTeam Cargo and ANA/UPS Alliance...

 of its kind) with SAS
Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the largest airline in Scandinavia....

.

Second bankruptcy & new management success (1990–1997)

In 1990, Frank Lorenzo retired after 18 years at the helm of Texas International and later Texas Air and Continental Airlines, selling the majority of his Jet Capital Corporation to Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)
Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the largest airline in Scandinavia....

. According to William F. Buckley, in his September 17, 1990 article on National Review
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

, the sale to SAS was conditioned on Lorenzo leaving the company.

On December 3, 1990, Continental filed for its second bankruptcy in a decade. Circumstances behind the second bankruptcy included:
  • Lorenzo had dedicated himself almost full time to Eastern Air Lines
    Eastern Air Lines
    Eastern Air Lines was a major United States airline that existed from 1926 to 1991. Before its dissolution it was headquartered at Miami International Airport in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.-History:...

     acquisition and labor relations issues;
  • the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the resultant Gulf War
    Gulf War
    The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

     had prompted a dramatic increase in the price of jet fuel
  • People Express had been highly leveraged at the time of its merger with Continental, having purchased Frontier Airlines
    Frontier Airlines (1950-1986)
    Frontier Airlines was formed from a merger of Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines, and Monarch Airlines on June 1, 1950. They established their headquarters at Stapleton Airport in Denver. However, the airline dated itself to November 27, 1946, when Monarch Airlines began service in Colorado,...

     just two years before.


In addition to Lorenzo embarking on deals which saddled the airline with other carriers' debts, he also began consolidating the different airlines into one system. That resulted in a fleet comprising numerous aircraft types, evident in the patchwork array of liveries in the Continental fleet that lasted until Gordon Bethune ordered all planes to be painted into the current livery.

In the late 1980s, following a dramatic reduction of service by United Airlines and an unsuccessful attempt by USAir to establish point-to-point service, Continental expanded at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

 and established what would become its third-largest system hub. Continental quickly gained nearly all of the gates in the C concourse (once dominated by United), and later expanded that concourse to 24 gates in addition to eventually constructing a new Concourse D in 1999.

On February 12, 1991, Continental unveiled its new and current blue and gray livery and the "globe" logo. These continue to be the identity for Continental's fleet and facilities identification and will be the foundation of the livery of the post-merger United Airlines.

In 1993 Air Canada
Air Canada
Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

, Air Partners and Texas Pacific Group
Texas Pacific Group
TPG Capital is one of the largest private equity investment firms globally, focused on leveraged buyout, growth capital and leveraged recapitalization investments in distressed companies and turnaround situations. TPG also manages investment funds specializing in growth capital, venture capital,...

, enabled Continental to emerge from bankruptcy by investing $450 million in the airline. Under the leadership of former Boeing executive Gordon Bethune, who became President in October 1994, Continental began a successful transformation project. When Bethune took over in 1994 as COO and President of Continental Airlines the troubled airline had twice faced bankruptcy and was again headed that direction. A search firm hired by Continental's board of directors suggested Bethune, who had recently completed an Advanced Management Course at the Harvard Business School, to salvage the company.

Bethune quickly made his mark on the carrier recognizing that a good airline was defined by customer satisfaction, not just cost per available seat mile. Bethune ascended to the role of CEO and was elected chairman of the board of directors in 1996.

Continental went from being ranked last in every measurable performance category to winning more J.D. Power and Associates awards for Customer Satisfaction than any other airline in the world. BusinessWeek magazine named Bethune one of the top 25 Global Managers in 1996 and 1997. Under his leadership Continental's stock price rose from $2 to over $50 per share. Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

 named Continental among the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for six consecutive years. In his final year piloting the airline Fortune magazine ranked Continental 2004's No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline, a title it earned again in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.[1] Bethune released his book, From Worst to First, in 1999 detailing his success at that carrier.
While at Continental, Mr. Bethune created the Go-Forward plan, to fix problems with the airline, which included employee morale, the quality of the product, and the route structure, among others. He is credited, along with his management team, for saving Continental from extinction. Bethune began by ordering new aircraft in an effort to convert to an all-Boeing fleet. After the opening of Denver airport on February 28, 1995, Continental management decided that the Denver hub – its historic operational base and heart of the system for almost 60 years – would be abruptly reduced to spoke status (with service only to Houston, Newark, and Cleveland). This decision centered on cost-reductions, since DIA charges and landing fees were substantially higher than those at Stapleton
Stapleton International Airport
Stapleton International Airport was Denver, Colorado's primary airport from 1929 to 1995. At different times it served as a hub for TWA, People Express, Frontier Airlines and Western Airlines as well as a hub for Continental Airlines and United Airlines at the time of its closure.In 1995 Stapleton...

, which DIA had replaced.

Between 1993 and 1995, Continental experimented with an 'airline within an airline' by launching CALite, later renamed Continental Lite
Continental Lite
Continental Lite was a short lived "airline within an airline" brand of Continental Airlines established in 1993. The airline folded in 1995 after losing was has been reported in the press as between $140 million or $300 million....

, which provided all-economy, low-fare, no-frills service between primarily leisure destinations. Continental Lite operated with a dedicated fleet of 100 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and Boeing 737–200
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 aircraft, each repainted with the 'Lite' livery and stripped of its first class cabin. (The Continental Lite experiment was rumored to be the result of "extra" aircraft on hand following the closure of Continental's Denver hub.) This service was based primarily at Continental's existing hub in Cleveland
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

 as well as a new hub established in Greensboro, NC
Piedmont Triad International Airport
Piedmont Triad International Airport is an airport just west of Greensboro, serving Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem as well as the entire Piedmont Triad Region in North Carolina. The airport has 3 runways; the third opened January 27, 2010 for traffic. The airport is located just off...

. The experiment, which had been developed and launched by Bethune's predecessor, Robert Ferguson, proved unsuccessful and the brand was dissolved in 1995. Continental's short-lived Greensboro
Piedmont Triad International Airport
Piedmont Triad International Airport is an airport just west of Greensboro, serving Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem as well as the entire Piedmont Triad Region in North Carolina. The airport has 3 runways; the third opened January 27, 2010 for traffic. The airport is located just off...

 hub was dismantled in the process.

On March 26, 1996, Continental launched the first phase of its website. During this time period Continental was the subject of hostile takeover bids submitted by then Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines. The final deal struck, as described by Bethune in his book, with Northwest allowed Continental to keep its corporate identity but all major decisions, mergers and alliances, were controlled by means of a "golden share" owned by Northwest Airlines.

International expansion begins (1997–2007)

Beginning in 1998, Continental again embarked on a program to expand its international operations. In that year it inaugurated services to Ireland and Scotland, and in October 1998 the airline received its first Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

 aircraft, allowing non-stop flight
Non-stop flight
A non-stop flight, especially in the aviation industry, refers to any flight by an aircraft which does not involve any intermediate stops. A "direct flight" is not the same as a "non-stop flight"...

s from Newark and Houston to Tokyo, Japan
Narita International Airport
is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

, and from Newark to Tel Aviv, Israel
Ben Gurion International Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport , also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag , is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, handling 12,160,339 passengers in 2010...

. Continental in the same year launched partnerships with Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...

, Copa Airlines
Copa Airlines
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., operating as Copa Airlines ', is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier...

, Avant Airlines
AVANT Airlines
AVANT Airlines was a Chilean airline, belonging to Turbus. It started flying in 1997 and closed down in 2001.-History:AVANT Airlines made its first flights to La Serena in 1997. In the following months AVANT was flying to different cities of Chile...

, Transbrasil
Transbrasil
TransBrasil is a defunct Brazilian airline which ceased operations in December 2001. During most of its history, Transbrasil was owned by local entrepeneur Omar Fontana. Its aircraft usually featured a colorful livery, remarkably with a rainbow on the tail fin. Transbrasil base was Brasilia...

, and Cape Air
Cape Air
Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States. It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, Florida, the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic States, Midwest, and Micronesia...

, and Continental and America West Airlines
America West Airlines
America West Airlines corporate offices were in Tempe, Arizona and the main hub was at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The airline became part of the US Airways Group after a merger in 2005....

 became the first two US airlines to launch interline electronic ticketing. In 1999, Continental Airlines started service between Newark and Zurich, Switzerland, and from Cleveland to London. The Cleveland to London originally flew from Cleveland Hopkins International to London's Gatwick Airport, but moved in 2009 to London Heathrow. Due to the economic situation, this flight was suspended.

In 1998 Continental expanded its flycontinental.com functionality, including the addition of WebTV and Windows CE
Windows CE
Microsoft Windows CE is an operating system developed by Microsoft for embedded systems. Windows CE is a distinct operating system and kernel, rather than a trimmed-down version of desktop Windows...

 functionality and expanding services to Canadian users.

On March 1, 2001, Continental launched non-stop service from Newark to Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport , being built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.The airport opened for commercial...

, operating over the North circumpolar route. This service was the first non-stop long-haul route for any airline with flying duration exceeding 16 hours. The SARS outbreak in Asia caused service to be suspended until August 1, 2003. The launch in 2001 initiated a brief battle between Continental, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place...

 over rights to non-stop flights between Hong Kong and New York.

In 2003 non-stop daily services were started between Newark and Geneva, Switzerland and between Newark and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. On September 13, 2004 Continental entered SkyTeam alliance along with Northwest/KLM and CSA. Continental introduced new non-stop services to Oslo, Norway and Edinburgh, Scotland in 2004. In 2005, Continental expanded service from Newark to Beijing after being awarded the China route. During the same year, five new European destinations were added: Stockholm in Sweden, Belfast and Bristol in the United Kingdom, and Hamburg and Berlin in Germany. Services were added to Copenhagen, Denmark and Cologne, Germany in 2006, and to Athens, Greece in 2007. Among U.S. airlines, only Delta (with its extensive network of legacy routes dating from Delta's acquisition of Pan American's European network) serves more European destinations than Continental.

In 2005 service to Asia was expanded as Continental introduced daily nonstop service between Newark and New Delhi, India. The success of this Newark-New Delhi route presaged establishment of a second gateway in India with the announcement of daily nonstop service to Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

. With the establishment of Mumbai service, Continental offers the most nonstop flights by any carrier from the United States to India.

By May 2006, the carrier's passenger traffic surpassed that of Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...

, and Continental became the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, the first change in the top-five passenger enplanement rankings since 2001.

The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

 reported on December 12, 2007 that Continental was in merger discussions with United Airlines. Of issue would be Continental's golden share
Golden Share
A Golden Share is a nominal share which is able to outvote all other shares in certain specified circumstances, often held by a government organization, in a government company undergoing the process of privatization and transformation into a stock-company....

 held by Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...

, dating from a stakeholding relationship during the late 1990s, and the divestiture of Continental's Guamanian hub. A deal was not "certain or imminent", with the talks being of a preliminary nature. In April 2008, at the height of oil prices, Northwest announced a merger with Delta Air Lines. This allowed Continental to buy back the golden share from Northwest Airlines, which it did. Continental then renewed merger talks with United Airlines, but Continental ended the merger talks that same month.

Continental scales back (2008)

May 2008 – Continental Airlines sold its remaining 4.38 million share investment in Panamanian flag carrier Copa
Copa Airlines
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., operating as Copa Airlines ', is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier...

 for $35.75 a share, netting proceeds of $149.8 million. Continental had been a principal shareholder in Copa.

June 2008 – Continental said that due to national and international economic conditions, it would cut 3,000 jobs and that the CEO and president would reduce their salaries for the remainder of the year. The airline also said it would reduce capacity and eliminate 67 mainline aircraft from its fleet by the end of 2009, retiring all of Continental's 737-300s and all but 35 of its 737-500s.

Continental announced that it planned to withdraw from the SkyTeam Alliance and would join the Star Alliance in order to cooperate more extensively with United Airlines and other Star Alliance airlines. The new Continental-United relationship has been characterized as a "virtual merger" in some circles. Continental had maintained its SkyTeam affiliation to be business-as-usual until the day of withdrawal. Continental had been in discussions with United Airlines earlier in 2008 which might have resulted in a merger of the two carriers, but Continental withdrew from these discussions stating that it intended to continue to operate as presently constituted.

August 2008 – The USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

 reported that Continental would furlough between 140 to 180 pilots. The article also mentioned that more than 2,500 jobs have already been eliminated, mostly by voluntary early out programs. Continental said in June that it would reduce U.S. capacity by 11% after the end of the peak summer travel season.

September 2008 – Continental announced that it would commence providing seasonal non-stop service between Houston and Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

. The new non-stop flight is timed to provide roundtrip flight connections at Continental's Houston hub to more than 160 cities throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, Europe, and Asia.

Continental renewed its lease for around 450000 square foot in Continental Center I
Continental Center I
Continental Center I is a 51-story, office tower in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States. The building houses offices of Continental Airlines, and it was Continental's headquarters prior to its merger with United Airlines. At one point it also served as the headquarters of ExpressJet Airlines...

.

International expansion and improvements (2009)

January 2009 – Continental was the first commercial carrier to successfully demonstrate the use of sustainable biofuel to power an aircraft in North America. During the demonstration flight, Continental’s test pilots successfully conducted a number of flight maneuvers, and the biofuel met all performance requirements as compared with traditional jet fuel. The biofuel blend included components derived from algae and jatropha plants, both sustainable, second-generation sources that do not impact food crops or water resources or contribute to deforestation.
  • Continental announced that its 4th quarter 2008 net loss widened to $266 million on costs for pilot retirement and reducing the value of its fuel hedges.


March 2009 – Continental became the first U.S. carrier to inaugurate scheduled service between New York and Shanghai, China, with daily non-stop flights from the airline’s hub at Newark Liberty International Airport. The new service links the world’s financial center and top business and tourism destination with China’s center for finance and trade.

June 2009 – Continental Airlines took delivery of another new Boeing 737- 900ER, which was painted with a retro livery to commemorate the airline’s 75th anniversary. The new aircraft’s retro livery, which was originally used on aircraft beginning in 1947 and is called The Blue Skyway, was selected by Continental employees. Continental flew the aircraft to its three hubs for anniversary celebration events for employees and retirees.

July 2009 – Continental now offers DIRECTV
DirecTV
DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

, giving customers the choice of 95 channels of live television programming – more channels than any other carrier – including live sports, news, weather and children’s shows. The channel lineup includes CBS, NBC, Fox, USA Network, Discovery Channel, A&E, CNN, ESPN, Animal Planet, The History Channel and many other popular channels. The fee for economy-class customers is $6 per flight.
  • Continental announced that Jeff Smisek, Continental’s president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors, will become chairman and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Smisek will succeed Larry Kellner
    Larry Kellner
    Lawrence W. "Larry" Kellner is the former CEO of Continental Airlines, having succeeded Gordon Bethune as CEO in December 2004. Prior to his arrival at Continental, he served as the chief financial officer of American Savings Bank. Kellner retired as the airline's chief executive at the end of...

    .
  • Continental launched Virtual Expert technology, a new feature at continental.com, offering customers 24-hour support on the Web for all their travel needs. “Alex,” the airline’s Virtual Expert, interacts with customers to easily and effectively interpret requests and provide accurate answers to travel needs. Continental is the first network carrier to offer human emulation technology.


October 2009 – Continental Airlines joined Star Alliance on Oct. 27, 2009, initiated with a closer partnership with United Airlines. Continental’s transition to Star Alliance is a strategic change that will enhance travel options and competition. Continental’s network will have a distinct fit in Star Alliance, with Continental’s New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport playing a particularly important role for Star Alliance travelers.

November 2009 – Continental Airlines begins new non-stop service from its Houston hub to Edmonton International Airport beginning Nov. 1, 2009, subject to government approval. The daily flight is the 11th Canadian destination to be served by Continental and the fourth Canadian destination from the airlines’ Houston hub.
  • Continental also started new daily non-stop service from its hubs at Houston and Cleveland to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). From Nov. 1, 2009, Continental will offer three daily flights from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Dulles and two daily flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) to Dulles.
  • Continental Airlines launches daily nonstop service between its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport and Frankfurt effective Nov. 1, 2009 (eastbound), subject to government approval. The service will be operated by Boeing 767–200 aircraft, seating 25 passengers in BusinessFirst and 149 passengers in economy. Frankfurt joins London, Paris and Amsterdam as the fourth European city served by Continental from Houston. The airline currently operates daily flights to Frankfurt from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport.


December 2009 – Continental begins new service from its Guam hub and Honolulu to Nadi, Fiji, beginning Dec. 18, 2009. The flights will also offer convenient connections from the U.S. mainland, Japan and Continental’s Micronesian network to Nadi. The service will be operated by Continental Micronesia using two-cabin Boeing 737–800 aircraft with 155 seats.

The big announcement (2010)

January 2010 – As of January 1, 2010, Jeff Smisek, former president and COO, became the CEO of Continental Airlines.
Continental plans to start seasonal nonstop service between Portland International Airport (PDX) and Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC), putting Continental in direct competition with former partner Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is an airline based in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, Washington in the United States. The airline originated in 1932 as McGee Airways. After many mergers with and acquisitions of other airlines, including Star Air Service, it became known as Alaska Airlines in 1944...

. The flight from Portland International Airport (PDX) will depart at 6:10 pm and arrive at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage at 8:55 pm The return flight will depart Anchorage at 1:25 am and arrive in Portland at 6:15 am Continental will operate the flight with a Boeing 737–800 with 160 seats. To start June 10, 2010.

February 2010 – On February 16, 2010, Continental, along with its wholly owned subsidiary Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It operated daily flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as international services to Asia, Micronesia and Australia from its base of operations at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam, a U.S. territory in...

, announced that it will apply for nonstop flights to Tokyo-Haneda as part of the US-Japan OpenSkies agreement. Continental plans to begin services to Tokyo-Haneda from its New York/Newark hub sometime in late-October 2010 with Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

 aircraft; Continental Micronesia plans to begins services to Haneda Airport from its Guam hub with Boeing 767-400ER
Boeing 767
The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

 aircraft. However, Haneda slots were awarded to American, Delta, and Hawaiian Airlines instead.

Continental Airlines became the first airline to launch a mobile boarding pass service to London’s Heathrow. The service allows customers to receive boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or PDAs. The carrier will be the first to offer the service on nonstop flights from the UK to the US.

April 2010 – On April 16, 2010, Continental resumed merger talks with United Airlines after deciding not to merge in 2008.

May 2010 – On May 2, 2010, the board of directors of both Continental and UAL Corporation
UAL Corporation
UAL Corporation is the former name of United Continental Holdings an airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. UAL held a 100 percent controlling interest in United Air Lines, Inc., one of the world's largest air carriers, and is a founding member of...

's United Airlines reached an agreement to combine operations to create the world's largest airline. The combined carrier will take the United Airlines name but will use Continental's logo and livery. The carrier will be based in Chicago and Continental CEO Jeff Smisek will be CEO of the combined airline. The merger is contingent upon shareholder and regulatory approval.

June 2010 – Continental announced that it will begin offering nonstop flights from its hub in Houston to Auckland
Auckland
The Auckland metropolitan area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with residents, percent of the country's population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world...

, New Zealand beginning November 16, 2011, subject to government approval. Flights from Houston to Auckland will be flown using Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft once they are delivered in August 2011. However, due to an additional delay of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, Continental decided to postpone the service until 2012.

-On June 14, 2010, Continental announced that it will launch nonstop flights from its hub in Houston to Lagos
Lagos
Lagos is a port and the most populous conurbation in Nigeria. With a population of 7,937,932, it is currently the third most populous city in Africa after Cairo and Kinshasa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa...

, Nigeria beginning November 10, 2011 subject to government approval. Flights were to be originally be flown on Boeing 787 Dreamliner dreamliner aircraft. Due to an additional delay in delivery of the 787, Continental plans to launch Houston-Lagos flights with Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

 aircraft instead.

July 2010 – The Continental-United merger was approved by the European Union.

August 2010 – Continental and United Airlines reveal a new logo that will be used after the Continental-United Merger is complete.

-On August 27, 2010, the US Justice Department approved the Continental-United Merger. This is partially because United and Continental agreed to lease 18 take-off and 18 landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

 to Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried,...

.

September 2010 – On September 17, 2010, Continental shareholders approve the merger deal with United Airlines. Both carriers plans to begin merging operations in 2011 to form the world's biggest carrier and is expected to receive a single operating certificate by 2012. Continental's single operating certificate
Air Operator's Certificate
An air operator's certificate is the approval granted from a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets and system in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public...

 (SOC) (using the "United" name)will be retained, whereas, those of United and Air Mike will be surrendered. On the other hand, United's maintenance certificate will survive and Continental's will be abandoned.

October 2010 – On October 1, 2010, UAL Corporation (the parent company of United Airlines) completed its acquisition of Continental Airlines and changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc.
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

 Although the two airlines remain separate until the operational integration is completed (by mid-2012), as of this day both airlines are corporately controlled by the same leadership.

December 2010 – On December 22, 2010, Continental Airlines merged operating certificates with Continental Micronesia. All flights are now branded and operated by Continental Airlines.

Merger with United (2011)

February 2011- On February 17, 2011, United Continental Holdings, Inc.
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

 announced that Economy Plus will be part of the new United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

.

March 2011- On March 22, 2011, United Continental Holdings, Inc.
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

 announced that they have plans to offer Wi-Fi Service on more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft.

Merger with United Airlines

In February 2008, UAL Corporation
UAL Corporation
UAL Corporation is the former name of United Continental Holdings an airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. UAL held a 100 percent controlling interest in United Air Lines, Inc., one of the world's largest air carriers, and is a founding member of...

 and Continental Airlines began advanced stages of merger negotiations and were expected to announce their decision in the immediate aftermath of a definitive merger agreement between rival Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

 and Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...

. The timing of the events was notable because Northwest's golden shares in Continental (that gave Northwest veto authority against any merger involving Continental) could be redeemed, freeing Continental to pursue a marriage with United. On April 27, 2008, Continental broke off merger negotiations with United and stated it was going to stand alone. Despite ending merger talks, Continental announced that it will join United in the Star Alliance.

United and US Airways
US Airways
US Airways, Inc. is a major airline based in the U.S. city of Tempe, Arizona. The airline is an operating unit of US Airways Group and is the sixth largest airline by traffic and eighth largest by market value in the country....

 were in advanced merger talks in late April 2008, following the announcement that Continental had broken off talks with United. In June 2008, CEOs of both United Airlines and Continental Airlines signed an alliance pact presaging their eventual merger. The alliance is an agreement to link international networks and share technology and passenger perks. This agreement is basically a "virtual merger" that includes many of the benefits of a merger without the actual costs and restructuring involved. The alliance took effect about a year after Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

 and Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...

 completed their merger, as that released Continental from the SkyTeam contract and allowed for the required nine-month notice. Additionally, Continental joined the Star Alliance, as Delta and Northwest merged.
United Airlines was reported to be in serious merger discussion with US Airways in early April 2010. A New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 report indicated that a deal was close. Union consent was cited as a major hurdle for negotiators to clear. On April 22, 2010, United announced that it would not pursue a merger with US Airways
US Airways
US Airways, Inc. is a major airline based in the U.S. city of Tempe, Arizona. The airline is an operating unit of US Airways Group and is the sixth largest airline by traffic and eighth largest by market value in the country....

.

The Board of Directors at Continental and United airlines approved a stock-swap deal that would combine them into the world's largest airline on Sunday, May 2, 2010. The airlines publicly announced the deal the next day. The new airline will take on the United Airlines name and be based in United's hometown of Chicago. It will be run by Continental's CEO, Jeff Smisek
Jeff Smisek
Jeffery A. Smisek is the president and CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc., , the holding company for United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with their regional partners, these airlines operate a total of approximately 5,675 flights a day to 372 airports on six continents. Smisek...

. UAL's CEO, Glenn Tilton
Glenn Tilton
Glenn Fletcher Tilton is Chairman of the Midwest, and a member of the Executive Committee, at JP Morgan Chase , a position he has held since June 6, 2011. Tilton is also non-executive Chairman of United Continental Holdings Inc., , the parent company of United Air Lines, Inc. and Continental...

, will be non-executive chairman. This would re-unite Walter Varney
Walter Varney
Walter Thomas Varney was an American aviation pioneer who founded forerunners of two major U.S. airlines United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Varney was also one of the most prominent airmail contractors of the early 20th Century.Varney served as a pilot in the Aviation Section, U.S...

's airlines, whose offspring includes Continental and United. On August 27, 2010, US regulators approved the planned merger. UAL and Continental shareholders gave their consent to the deal on September 17, 2010. The transaction is expected to close by October 1, 2010. Both carriers plan to begin merging its operations in 2011.
The single operating certificate has been approved by the FAA. Beginning November 30, 2011, all Continental Airline flights will use the "United" callsign during air traffic control
communications. This marks the end of Continental Airlines.
Currently, more than three hundred planes from both United and Continental have been painted in the new United livery.
There has been some public negative reaction to the new United livery among United employees and frequent flyers and fans,
with petitions on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to save the pre-merger United Saul Bass logo and livery. Management may have taken note of this negative reaction when it changed the font of the new livery to the current ALL CAPS
san serif font closer to the latest United Airlines font, from the originally proposed
title caps serifed font similar to the latest Continental font,
though management has never publicly provided a reason for this change.

The company's CEO has stated repainting all aircraft quickly into the new livery, in order to have a "uniform livery" will be a priority now that the merger has been approved. As of late July 2010, United Airlines had suspended all repaints into their then current livery. N794UA, a Boeing 777–200 was the last aircraft to receive United's blue and white livery.

The new United will be the second largest airline in terms of fleet size, while Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

 remains the largest. The combined airline houses a fleet of nearly 700 aircraft, surpassing American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

' 621. There are also 118 aircraft on order, 50 from United, and 68 from Continental. The combined fleet features a mixture of Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

 and Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 aircraft: Airbus A319
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

s, Airbus A320
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

s, Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

s, Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

s, Boeing 757
Boeing 757
The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

s, Boeing 767
Boeing 767
The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

s, and Boeing 777
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

s with orders of Airbus A350
Airbus A350
The Airbus A350 is a family of long-range, wide-body jet airliners under development by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.A consortium originally comprising European aerospace companies from the UK, France, Spain and West Germany, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known...

s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Both airlines have taken losses in the recession and expect the merger to generate savings of more than a year. The combined airline will serve up to 370 destinations, from the 10 hubs listed below. This may subject to change due to future developments and decisions. Continental and United said that Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 will be the largest hub for the new airline, which is a primary gateway to Latin America.

New United Airlines hubs
  • Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
    Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
    Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport , also known as Guam International Airport, is an airport located in Tamuning and Barrigada, three miles east of the capital city of Hagåtña in the U.S. territory of Guam. It is named for Antonio Borja Won Pat, the first delegate from Guam to the United...

     – primary Pacific hub
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
    Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
    Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

     – Midwest hub, smallest hub
  • Denver International Airport
    Denver International Airport
    Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

     – Western hub
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport
    George Bush Intercontinental Airport
    George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

     – largest hub, primary gateway to Latin America and Mexico
  • Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

     – secondary West Coast hub, operating to Hawaii and Australia
  • Narita International Airport
    Narita International Airport
    is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

     – Asian hub
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
    Newark Liberty International Airport
    Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

     – main East Coast hub, New York area base, and primary gateway to Europe and Middle East
  • O'Hare International Airport
    O'Hare International Airport
    Chicago O'Hare International Airport , also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, Chicago Airport, Chicago International Airport, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, northwest of the Chicago Loop...

     – second largest hub, and headquarters of the new airline
  • San Francisco International Airport
    San Francisco International Airport
    San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

     – primary West Coast hub and gateway to Asia
  • Washington Dulles International Airport
    Washington Dulles International Airport
    Washington Dulles International Airport is a public airport in Dulles, Virginia, 26 miles west of downtown Washington, D.C. The airport serves the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia metropolitan area centered on the District of Columbia. It is named after John Foster Dulles, Secretary of...

     – secondary East Coast hub, operating to Europe and Africa

Headquarters

Continental currently has its headquarters in 77 West Wacker in the Chicago Loop
Chicago Loop
The Loop or Chicago Loop is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas located in the City of Chicago, Illinois. It is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago...

 of Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

.

Continental Airlines previously had its headquarters in the Continental Center I
Continental Center I
Continental Center I is a 51-story, office tower in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States. The building houses offices of Continental Airlines, and it was Continental's headquarters prior to its merger with United Airlines. At one point it also served as the headquarters of ExpressJet Airlines...

 building in the Cullen Center
Cullen Center
Cullen Center is a skyscraper complex in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States. The complex is managed by Brookfield Properties. Trizec Properties owns all four office buildings...

 complex in Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston is the largest business district of Houston, Texas, United States. Downtown Houston, the city's central business district, contains the headquarters of many prominent companies. There is an extensive network of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks connecting the buildings of the district...

.

On October 31, 1937, Continental moved its headquarters to Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado. Robert F. Six arranged to have the headquarters moved to Denver from El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 because Six believed that the airline should have its headquarters in a large city with a potential base of customers.
At a 1962 press conference in the office of Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty, Continental Airlines announced that it planned to move its headquarters to Los Angeles in July 1963. In 1963 Continental's headquarters moved to a two story, $2.3 million building on the grounds of Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

 in Westchester
Westchester, Los Angeles, California
Westchester is a suburban neighborhood in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is home to Los Angeles International Airport , Loyola Marymount University , and Otis College of Art and Design.-Geography:...

, Los Angeles, California. The July 2009 Continental Magazine
Continental (magazine)
Continental was the monthly in-flight magazine for Continental Airlines. It was read by approximately 55 million passengers a year. On May 2, 2010, Continental agreed to a merger with United Airlines. Subsequently, Continental flights now issue the Hemispheres magazine....

 issue stated that the move "underlined Continental's western and Pacific orientation."

On July 1, 1983 the airline's headquarters were relocated to the America Tower
American General Center
The American General Center is a complex of several office buildings in Neartown Houston, Texas located along Allen Parkway. It is owned by AIG American General....

 in the Neartown area of Houston, and would remain there until relocation to downtown in 1998. Stephen M. Wolf, the president of Continental said that the company moved its headquarters because Houston became the largest hub for Continental.

In January 1997 Continental occupied 250000 square foot of space at the America Tower
American General Center
The American General Center is a complex of several office buildings in Neartown Houston, Texas located along Allen Parkway. It is owned by AIG American General....

. In addition it had 200000 square foot of office space in a building in proximity to George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 and 75000 square foot in a building located on Fuqua Road in Houston. The airline planned to move into a new headquarters site; originally it wanted a single site for its operations. In September 1997 the airline officially announced that it would consolidate its Houston headquarters in Continental Center I. The airline scheduled to move around 3,200 employees in stages beginning in July 1998 and ending in January 1999. The airline consolidated the headquarters operation at the America Tower and three other local operations into Continental Center I and Continental Center II in the Cullen Center. Bob Lanier, Mayor of Houston, said that he was "tickled to death" by the airline's move to relocate to Downtown Houston.

After the September 11 attacks and by September 2004 Continental laid off 24% of its clerical and management workers. Despite the reduction of the workforce, Continental did not announce any plans to sublease any of its space in Continental Center I and Continental Center II.

In 2008 Continental renewed its lease for around 450000 square foot in Continental Center I. Before the lease renewal, rumors spread stating that the airline would relocate its headquarters to office space around George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 due to high fuel costs affecting the airline industry; the rumors stated that the airline was studying possibilities of less expensive alternatives to Continental Center I. The parties did not reveal the terms of the lease agreement.

In 2010, Continental Airlines and United Airlines announced that they would merge and that the headquarters of the combined company would be in the Chicago Loop
Chicago Loop
The Loop or Chicago Loop is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas located in the City of Chicago, Illinois. It is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago...

 in Chicago. The airline has not stated how much of the 480000 square foot of space that it leases in Continental Center I will be vacated. As of 2010 Continental had around 3,000 clerical and management workers in its Downtown Houston offices. According to Nicole Bradford of the Houston Business Journal, some believe that the airline will vacate and leave thousands of square feet of space in Downtown Houston empty. As of 2010 Continental leases 450000 square foot in Continental Center I, about 40% of the tower's office space. United has begun to move employees to a new operations center in the Willis Tower (former Sears Tower) and one thousand are expected by the end of 2010. As of September 2011 Continental continues to have employees at Continental Center I, which is now a former headquarters. About half of the existing employee base will remain in the building.As of September 2011 Continental continues to occupy space at Continental Center I, now a former headquarters, and another building. Half of the previous number of employees will work in Downtown Houston. Some job positions were eliminated. Some employees were transferred to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

.

Environmental record

Continental Airlines has made efforts to minimize the negative environmental effects of commercial aviation. For example, the carrier invested over $12 billion for the purchase of the current 270 fuel-efficient aircraft and related equipment that make up part of the airline's fleet. These efforts have contributed to significant reductions of greenhouse gas and noise emissions, and have decreased fuel consumption by 45% per mainline revenue passenger mile over the past decade. Continental Airlines was also one of the first carriers in the world to fit winglets to as much of its fleet as it could, reducing fuel burn by 3–5%.

Continental has implemented a program that gives passengers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions per flight for a fee of $2. Funds collected from the carbon offset
Carbon offset
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere....

 scheme are directed for tree planting in reforestation areas. Passengers can also contribute $50 or more to fund renewable-energy projects such as wind- or solar-power projects, or to re-establish algae in oceans or large scale reforestation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Design for the Environment Program" has recognized Continental (2008) for use of a non-chromium aircraft surface pre-treatment that is environmentally compatible. Continental Airlines is the first carrier in the world to utilize this technology on their aircraft. The product, "PreKote", eliminates hazardous chemicals that are usually used in the pre-treatment phase before painting an aircraft. This technology provides improved environmental conditions for maintenance employees, while also reducing wastewater.

Continental Airlines is planning flight tests using aircraft powered by biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

 rather than traditional Jet-A1. On January 7, 2009, Continental partnered with GE Aviation to conduct a biofuel demonstration flight, making the airline the first U.S. carrier to conduct tests using biofuels. The test bed, a Boeing 737–800 (registered as N76516), ran one of its engines on a mix of 50% kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

, 6% algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

, and 44% jatropha
Jatropha
Jatropha is a genus of approximately 175 succulent plants, shrubs and trees , from the family Euphorbiaceae. The name is derived from the Greek words ἰατρός , meaning "physician," and τροφή , meaning "nutrition," hence the common name physic nut. Mature plants produce separate male and female...

, a weed that bears oil producing seeds. The engine running partly on biofuel burned 46 kg less fuel than the conventional engine in 1 and a half hours while producing more thrust using the same volume of fuel. Continental's CEO, Larry Kellner, commented "This is a good step forward, an opportunity to really make a difference to the environment" citing jatropha's 50–60% lower CO2 emissions as opposed to Jet-A1 in its lifecycle.

Continental Airlines has been recognized by NASA and Fortune magazine for positive environmental contributions.

Awards

  • No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline; Fortune Magazine (2004–2009)
  • No. 1 Most Admired U.S. Airline; 'Fortune Magazine (2006–2007, 2010)
  • No. 1 Greenest U.S. Airline; Greenopia (2009)
  • No. 1 Pet-Friendly Airline; PetFinder.org
    Petfinder.org
    Petfinder.com is an online database of adoptable pets in the care of about 13,000 animal welfare organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The site has facilitated 17 million adoptions in its first fifteen years. At any one time, 300,000 adoptable pets are listed: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds,...

     (2009)
  • Best Executive/Business Class; OAG Airline of the Year Awards (2003–2007, 2009)
  • Best Airline Based in North America; OAG Airline of the Year Awards (2003–2009)
  • Best U.S Carrier Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Business Class; Condé Nast Traveler
    Condé Nast Traveler
    Condé Nast Traveler is a US magazine published by Condé Nast. It has its origins in a mailing sent out by the Diners Club club beginning in 1953, listing locations that would take the card. It began taking advertising in 1955. In order to attract more advertisers, it became a full-fledged magazine,...

     (1999–2006)
  • Best Airline for North American Travel; Business Traveler Magazine (2006–2009)
  • Best Large Domestic Airline (Premium Seating); Zagat Airline Survey(2008)
  • Best Value for the Money (International); Zagat Airline Survey (2009)
  • Highest-Ranked Network Airline; J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates
    J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

     (2007)
  • Airline of the Year; OAG (2004–2005)
  • Business Leadership Recycling Award; American Forest & Paper Association
    American Forest & Paper Association
    The American Forest & Paper Association is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing manufacturers of approximately 80 percent of the U.S...

     (2010)

Destinations

Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, offers more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The summer 2008 schedule saw Continental serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations.

Continental Airlines operates primarily a hub-and-spoke route network with North American hubs in Cleveland, Houston, and Newark, and a west Pacific hub in Guam. The majority of Continental flights are operated from its hubs, with a few exceptions (Seattle-Anchorage, Los Angeles-Honolulu, and Los Angeles-Havana, Laguardia – Aruba). Some affiliated airlines using the Continental Connection
Continental Connection
Continental Connection is a brand name under which several commuter airline carriers and their holding companies operate services marketed exclusively by Continental Airlines...

 name also operate flights not involving hubs, such as Gulfstream International Airlines
Gulfstream International Airlines
Gulfstream International Group, Inc., operating as Gulfstream International Airlines , is a United States airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It operates scheduled and charter services to Florida and Bahamas and the Caribbean. It operates as a United Express carrier for United Airlines...

, which operates intra-Florida and Florida-Bahamas services.

For almost 40 years, Continental operated a very large hub in Denver, Colorado, but took the decision to close that hub in 1995 immediately after the opening of Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

 (D.I.A), which represented a significantly higher-cost operation than the former Stapleton Airport, which D.I.A. had replaced. The abrupt nature of this change came as a shock to Denver, which was experiencing dramatic growth. The void left by Continental's departure allowed the establishment of the "new" Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines, Inc., is an American airline headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The carrier, which is a subsidiary and operating brand of Republic Airways Holdings, operates flights to 83 destinations throughout the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica and maintains hubs at...

 (a startup, rather than the original carrier of that name). Both Frontier and Southwest Airlines (which entered the Denver market after Continental's dehubbing) have expanded quickly to fill the vacuum created by Continental's closing of its Denver hub.

For the first forty years of its existence, Continental was a domestic airline; however, especially after the incorporation of Texas International
Texas International Airlines
Texas International Airlines was a United States airline, known from 1944 until 1947 as Aviation Enterprises, until 1969 as Trans-Texas Airways, and as Texas International Airlines until 1982, when it merged with Continental Airlines. It was headquartered near William P...

 routes, it has served more Mexican destinations than any other U.S. carrier since the mid-1980s.

Continental first entered the transatlantic market in April 1985, with the introduction of a Houston-London-Gatwick service. Long prevented from serving London-Heathrow
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 because of the provisions of the Bermuda II agreement, Continental maintained its London services at Gatwick, where in 2007 as many as six flights a day were offered to Newark, Houston, and Cleveland.

In March 2008, an Open Skies Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union became effective, invalidating Bermuda II restrictions that had limited the number of carriers and cities in the U.S. that could serve London-Heathrow. In November 2007 Continental announced that new, nonstop, twice-daily service from its hubs at Houston-George Bush Intercontinental and Newark-Liberty to London-Heathrow would be offered; and this service was inaugurated on March 29, 2008. The service replaced existing frequencies to London-Gatwick and are offered with a combination of Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

 and 757-200 equipment, with flat beds guaranteed in the BusinessFirst cabin. Continental has grown its presence at London-Heathrow to seven daily flights; two to Houston-Intercontinental and five to Newark.

During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, Continental's extensive military charter operations established a presence in the Pacific region that formed the basis for the Air Micronesia operation. Service to Japan was initiated in the 1970s from Guam and Saipan, and by the late 1980s, nonstop service between Seattle and Tokyo was briefly offered with 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 equipment, soon to be replaced with a direct Honolulu-Tokyo (Narita)
Narita International Airport
is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

 flight. Through the 1990s, Continental maintained a minimal presence in the long-haul trans-Pacific market, until the delivery of 777-200ERs in 1998 which saw the addition of nonstop Tokyo service from Houston and Newark. By 2007, Hong Kong and Beijing were added to the network, and in 2009 Shanghai was added, all from the Newark hub. Continental has served Australia in the past with DC-10 and Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 service from Hawaii; Continental withdrew from much of the Australian market, but continues Air Micronesia Boeing 737–800
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

 services between Cairns and Guam on a 4x weekly basis. Beginning in June 2011, it initiated service to Hilo, Hawaii, providing that city the only nonstop air service to and from any destination outside the state of Hawaii.

Continental offers the most destinations of any of the U.S. carrier to India, Japan, Mexico, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and is the only U.S. airline to fly to the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Norway, and Vietnam. Continental began service from Newark to Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

, India on October 1, 2007 making that city Continental's second Indian destination.

Codeshare agreements

In addition to Continental Express
Continental Express
Continental Express is the operating brand name used by a number of independently owned regional airlines providing regional jet feeder service under agreement with Continental Airlines...

, Continental Connection
Continental Connection
Continental Connection is a brand name under which several commuter airline carriers and their holding companies operate services marketed exclusively by Continental Airlines...

, and Star Alliance
Star Alliance
Star Alliance is the world's first and largest airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany . The alliance was founded in 1997 by five of the world's leading airlines: Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines...

 partners, Continental also has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of January 2011)
  • Aeromar
    Aeromar
    For the Dominican Republic airline, see Aeromar Líneas Aéreas DominicanasTransportes Aeromar, S.A. de C.V, doing business as Aeromar, is an airline based in Hangar 7 of Zone D of the General Aviation Terminal at Mexico City International Airport in Venustiano Carranza, Mexico City, Mexico. Aeromar...

  • Avianca
    Avianca
    Avianca S.A. is the flag carrier airline of Colombia since December 5, 1919 when it was initially registered under the name SCADTA. It is headquartered in Bogotá, D.C. with its hub at the El Dorado International Airport...

  • Cape Air
    Cape Air
    Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States. It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, Florida, the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic States, Midwest, and Micronesia...

  • Copa Airlines
    Copa Airlines
    Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., operating as Copa Airlines ', is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier...

  • Copa Airlines Colombia
    Copa Airlines Colombia
    AeroRepública S.A., operating as Copa Airlines Colombia, is an airline based in Bogotá, Colombia. It is the third largest air carrier in Colombia . It operates scheduled services from Bogotá to 11 domestic destinations, Panama, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador as well as charter...

  • EVA Air
    EVA Air
    EVA Airways Corporation "; ) is an airline based at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei, Taiwan, operating passenger and dedicated cargo services to over 40 international destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. EVA Air is largely privately owned and flies a fully...

  • Hawaiian Airlines
    Hawaiian Airlines
    Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a major airline of the United States. It is the largest airline based in the State of Hawai'i, and is the 11th largest commercial airline in the country. Based in Honolulu CDP, City and County of Honolulu, the airline operates its main hub at Honolulu International...

  • Island Air
    Island Air
    Island Air is an independent American commuter airline based in Honolulu CDP, City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii. It operates scheduled inter-island passenger services in Hawaii...

  • TACA Airlines (Star Alliance
    Star Alliance
    Star Alliance is the world's first and largest airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany . The alliance was founded in 1997 by five of the world's leading airlines: Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines...

     - Future)
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
    Virgin Atlantic Airways
    Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is a British airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines...

  • Amtrak
    Amtrak
    The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

     (Northeast Regional rail service to select destinations from the Newark Airport Rail Station, despite the fact Amtrak is not an airline)

  • Fleet

    Continental's all-Boeing
    Boeing Commercial Airplanes
    Boeing Commercial Airplanes designs, assembles, markets and sells large commercial jet aircraft and provides product-related maintenance and training to customers worldwide...

     fleet consists of four types (737, 757, 767, and 777) in ten variants, with two variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner scheduled to enter service in 2011. The company's daily aircraft utilization is usually at the top of the industry. The Boeing customer code for Continental Airlines is 7x7-x24. (e.g. 777-224)

    As of September 2010, the Continental Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 9.5 years:

    United announced that it will retain its "EconomyPlus" seating as a result of the merger and plans to expand the brand to Continental aircraft starting in 2012. On November 19, 2011, United launched its "EconomyPlus" seating on one Continental Airlines aircraft, a Boeing 767-400ER
    Boeing 767
    The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

    .

    United Continental Holdings announced plans to provide WiFi internet service on mainline planes beginning in mid-2012 and expects to have all mainline aircraft equipped with WiFi by 2015.

    Continental Airlines Fleet, September 20, 2010
    Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
    F Y Total
    Boeing 737–500
    Boeing 737 Classic
    The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

    29 0 8 106 114
    Boeing 737–700
    Boeing 737 Next Generation
    The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

    36 46 12 112 124
    Boeing 737–800
    Boeing 737 Next Generation
    The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

    8
    122
    2 14
    16
    141
    144
    155
    160
    Boeing 737–900
    Boeing 737 Next Generation
    The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

    12 0 20 153 173
    Boeing 737-900ER 33 19 20 153 173 19 deliveries expected in 2012
    Boeing 757–200
    Boeing 757
    The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

    41 0 16 159 175 All feature Flat-Bed BusinessFirst seats
    Boeing 757–300
    Boeing 757
    The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

    21 0 24 192 216 Largest operator of the Boeing 757–300.
    Boeing 767-200ER
    Boeing 767
    The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

    8 0 25 149 174 All feature Boeing's signature 777 style interior. To begin retirement.
    Boeing 767-400ER
    Boeing 767
    The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

    12
    4
    0 35
    20
    200
    236
    235
    256
    The 12 aircraft currently in the 35/200 configuration will be updated with Flat-Bed BusinessFirst seats starting in 2011. 1 aircraft refitted with United's "Economy Plus" seating.
    Boeing 777-200ER
    Boeing 777
    The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

    22 0 50 226 276 2 dry leased from ILFC
    All feature Flat-Bed BusinessFirst seats
    Boeing 787–8 0 11 36 192 228 Entry into service projected: First quarter of 2012.
    Boeing 787–9 0 14
    TBA
    Entry into service projected: 2013
    Total 348 92

    First Class is offered on Domestic Flights. BusinessFirst is offered on Transatlantic/Transpacific Flights.


    Continental Airlines was one of three carriers (with American Airlines
    American Airlines
    American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

     and Delta Air Lines
    Delta Air Lines
    Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

    ) to sign an exclusivity agreement with Boeing in the late 1990s. When Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas
    McDonnell Douglas
    McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

    , the European Union forced Boeing to void the contracts. Both parties have been adhering to the terms under a gentlemen's agreement
    Gentlemen's agreement
    A gentlemen's agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It may be written, oral, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen's agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties...

    .

    Continental was one of the first major airlines to fly the Boeing 757 on transatlantic routes. There have been some instances of range limitations on west-bound transatlantic flights due to strong headwinds resulting in a fuel stop which does not appear on the timetable, but these stops are not common. The use of the 757 with its smaller seating capacity
    Seating capacity
    Seating capacity refers to the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, both in terms of the physical space available, and in terms of limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats...

     has allowed for "thin" routes (routes with less passenger traffic) to be economically viable. It has allowed non-stop service from smaller cities, such as Belfast
    Belfast
    Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

    , Northern Ireland and Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    , Germany to the New York gateway. Previously, customers originating at these and similar cities needed to connect at European gateways like London, Paris or Frankfurt in order to travel to New York.

    All of Continental's Boeing 737s and 757s have winglets.

    Historic fleet

    CAL, March 1960
    Aircraft Total Orders Notes
    Boeing 707–124
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

    4 1
    Douglas DC-3
    Douglas DC-3
    The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

    10 0
    Douglas DC-6
    Douglas DC-6
    The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range...

    1 0 Leased
    Douglas DC-6
    Douglas DC-6
    The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range...

    B
    2 0 1 leased
    Douglas DC-7
    Douglas DC-7
    The Douglas DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston engine powered transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.-Design and...

    B
    5 0
    Vickers Viscount 812
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

    15
    Total 37 1

    CAL, March 1970
    Aircraft Total Orders Notes
    Boeing 707-320C
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

    13 0
    Boeing 720B
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

    8 0
    Boeing 727
    Boeing 727
    The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

    13 0
    Boeing 747–100
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

    2 2
    Boeing 747–200
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

    7 0
    Douglas DC-9-10F 19 0
    Total 55 2

    CAL, December 1980
    Aircraft Total Orders Notes
    Boeing 727–100
    Boeing 727
    The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

    14 0
    Boeing 727–200
    Boeing 727
    The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

    39 7
    MD-80 Unknown Unknown
    Douglas DC-10-10
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

    7 0
    Douglas DC-10-10CF
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

    4 0
    Douglas DC-10-30
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

    2 0
    Airbus A300B4
    Airbus A300
    The Airbus A300 is a short- to medium-range widebody jet airliner. Launched in 1972 as the world's first twin-engined widebody, it was the first product of Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace companies, wholly owned today by EADS...

    12 0
    Total 78 7


    Cabin

    Continental Airlines has a two-class service configuration, First/BusinessFirst and Economy Class, for aircraft in the mainline fleets.

    BusinessFirst

    Continental has begun deploying BusinessFirst seats that allows customers to lie completely flat, reclining 180-degrees and providing 6½ feet (2 m) of sleeping space in the fully extended position on its 777-200ER and 757-200 aircraft. The Flat Bed Seat offers a seat measuring up to 25 inches (635 mm) wide when the adjustable armrest is positioned flush with the seat cushion. Electronic controls enable customers to easily move the seats to an infinite combination of seat adjustments, including lumbar support, leg and foot rests. iPod connectivity is available in the Flat Bed Seat. The new BusinessFirst seats have a six-way adjustable head rest, an individual overhead reading light and an adjustable seat light allowing customers to read in bed without disturbing their neighbor and a privacy shell that allows for seclusion from other travelers. BusinessFirst customers also receive one of the highest crew to passenger ratios (1:8) among all international business class products.
    The new BusinessFirst seats are featured on all of Continental's Boeing 777
    Boeing 777
    The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

    s and Boeing 757–200
    Boeing 757
    The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

    's. Installation on the Boeing 767
    Boeing 767
    The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

     fleet will follow in 2011. The anticipated completion of the roll-out across Continental's entire international fleet is August 2012. In addition, all 787 deliveries will have the seats installed.

    Continental considers BusinessFirst to be its signature onboard product, and the service is a frequent subject of advertising campaigns. Customers seated in the BusinessFirst cabin on longhaul flights from the United States to Europe, Asia, select cities in South America, and the Middle East receive special ground services, including EliteAccess priority bag service at check-in, expedited security screening (where available), access to Continental's Presidents Club or affiliated Star Alliance lounges, personalized Continental Concierge service, and dedicated boarding procedures.
    Onboard, multi-course meals are designed by Continental's Congress of Chefs, beverages are selected by Continental's Wine Masters, and service is provided by flight attendants from separate International crew bases at Newark and Houston. Most flights have at least two meal services. Entertainment is offered at each individual seat, and passengers on Boeing 777 and 757 aircraft have access to a new Audio-Video On Demand system with touch-screen controls. 767 aircraft feature older, looped-video multi-channel entertainment systems, generally with a wider programming selection than Economy Class. 767 aircraft are expected to receive AVOD in the near future. Customers also are provided headphones, a large pillow, wool blanket, and amenity kit prior to departure. Upon arrival, BusinessFirst customers have access to shower facilities and arrival lounges at most airports.

    Continental offers a modified BusinessFirst service on flights from the United States mainland to Hawaii. All flights offer the same suite of EliteAccess ground services, along with a similar main meal service onboard. Amenities such as pillows and headsets also are the same, but no amenity kits are offered. On flights from Newark and Houston to Honolulu, Continental operates Boeing 767-400ER equipment with typical recliner-style BusinessFirst seats. On flights from Los Angeles and Orange County to Honolulu/Kahului with Boeing 737
    Boeing 737
    The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

     equipment, domestic First Class seats are substituted. Nonstop flights from Guam to Honolulu are exempt from most of these modifications and more closely resemble the standard BusinessFirst service.

    No complimentary upgrades are offered to Continental OnePass Elite members on any intercontinental flights offering BusinessFirst service. However, on 767-operated BusinessFirst services to Hawaii, Continental offers a day-of-departure buy up fee for any revenue coach class fare, provided seats are available. Mainland-Hawaii is the only BusinessFirst market where such upgrades are available. In addition, OnePass Elites are eligible for complimentary automatic upgrades on Continental-operated flights from California to Hawaii.

    Domestic First Class/International Business Class

    Domestic First Class is offered on domestic flights. It is available on all Boeing 737 family aircraft, as well as Boeing 757–300 aircraft. Seats range from 20.75 to 21 inches (533.4 mm) wide, and have between 37 and 38 inches (965.2 mm) of pitch. Passengers aboard this class receive free meals, refreshments, and alcoholic beverages. Passengers can watch movies on overhead television screens located throughout the cabin. Beginning in 2009, Continental plans to add LiveTV
    LiveTV
    LiveTV is a major provider of airline in-flight entertainment systems. Originally a joint venture of Harris Corporation and BE Aerospace , it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corporation...

     television and Wi-Fi
    Wi-Fi
    Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

     services to all next-generation Boeing 737s and Boeing 757-300s which will be free of charge to First Class customers.

    On international flights to Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and select cities in South America, Continental's Domestic First Class service is re-branded as International Business Class. These customers receive access to Continental's Presidents Club and affiliated Star Alliance lounges on day-of-departure. Also, meal choices are frequently substituted to reflect the local cuisine of destinations served, especially on flights to Latin America.

    International Economy Class

    Economy Class is available on all international flights. Seats range from 17.2 to 17.9 inches (454.7 mm) wide, and have between 31 and 32 inches (812.8 mm) of pitch. Passengers aboard this class receive free meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages can be purchased for US$6 per drink or one Continental Currency coupon per drink. All seats on 757 and 777 equipment are fitted with AVOD touch screen with a wide ranging selection of films, games, television shows and music.

    Domestic Economy Class

    Economy Class is available on all domestic flights. Seats are 17.2 inches (436.9 mm) wide, and have between 31 and 32 inches (812.8 mm) of pitch. Passengers aboard this class receive free non-alcoholic refreshments. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased on board. Passengers on all Boeing 737–700, −800, −900, −900ER, and 757-300 aircraft can watch movies on overhead television screens located throughout the cabin, with headsets available at a charge. In January 2009, Continental began to add LiveTV
    LiveTV
    LiveTV is a major provider of airline in-flight entertainment systems. Originally a joint venture of Harris Corporation and BE Aerospace , it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corporation...

     television services to all next-generation Boeing 737s and Boeing 757-300s. LiveTV will be chargeable for Economy Class customers. Continental Airlines offers free meals on domestic economy class flights. In March 2010 the airline announced that, for economy class passengers on domestic and Canadian flights under six hours and on certain flights to and from Latin America, the airline will discontinue free meals and began buy on board
    Buy on board
    In commercial flight, buy on board is a system where food or beverages are paid for on board; often food or beverages are not included in the ticket price for certain fare classes....

     service in the northern hemisphere in the fall of 2010.

    Meal and drink services

    Meals are free on BusinessFirst on all flights. Flights of a duration of over one hour within North America and flights to and from resort destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America have meals in First Class depending on the mealtimes that the flights are within. All flights to and from non-resort destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America have free meals in First Class, with the exception of certain flights that depart after midnight. Meals in Economy Class are served on most flights to and from Asia and Europe. Meals are offered in economy class on all flights to and from non-resort destinations in the Caribbean Latin America, with the exception of some flights departing after midnight. Flights within Asia and the Pacific that were previously operated by Continental Micronesia
    Continental Micronesia
    Continental Micronesia, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It operated daily flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as international services to Asia, Micronesia and Australia from its base of operations at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam, a U.S. territory in...

     have free meals and/or snacks offered during mealtimes. Meals are available for purchase on all economy class flights within North America, to/from Canada, and to/from resort destinations within the Caribbean and Latin America if the flight's duration is over 6 1/2 hours.

    On most economy class flights within North America, to/from Canada, and to/from resort destinations within the Caribbean and Latin America, Continental has a buy on board
    Buy on board
    In commercial flight, buy on board is a system where food or beverages are paid for on board; often food or beverages are not included in the ticket price for certain fare classes....

     services. On those flights between 2 1/2 hours and 6 1/2 hours, snacks are available for purchase, and food for purchase is available on most of those flights that are 3 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours in length. Originally the airline provided meals free of charge on flights more than 1 1/2 hours. The airline continued doing so after competitors charged for meals. In March 2010 the airline announced that it will switch to buy on board for food in fall 2010. The airline said that the absence of free meals would save the airline $35 million per year, and if half of economy class passengers on the affected flights purchased food, the airline would make an additional $17 million per year. The airline did not say how the transition to buy on board would affect the employment of workers at the subsidiary Chelsea Food Services
    Chelsea Food Services
    Chelsea Food Services is an airline catering company based at Continental Center I in Downtown Houston, Texas. The company is a subsidiary of Continental Airlines, Inc., making it currently the only airline catering company to be operated in-house by a United States-based airline Chelsea Food...

    . Buy on board began on October 12, 2010. On March 1, 2011, Continental stopped serving free snacks on domestic flights to coach passengers in order to align itself with the policy of United Airlines
    United Airlines
    United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

    . In addition, on that day all fights between Hawaii, Alaska, and the Mainland U.S. became buy on board flights.

    Continental Airlines offers free special meal options on certain flights; special meals include the Child, Gluten intolerant, Hindu vegetarian, Jain, Kosher, Muslim, and Vegan options. The airline offers special meals for all classes of service on flights to and between Houston and Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Europe, and Hawaii, and the airline offers special meals for all classes of service on flights between Newark
    Newark, New Jersey
    Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

     and Asia, Brazil, Europe, and Hawaii; flights between Newark and India use Hindu vegetarian as a standard meal choice. In addition, special meals are available in first class on flights between Newark and Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Other routes with special meal service available in first class include Los Angeles to/from Honolulu, Los Angeles to/from Maui, Orange County to/from Honolulu, and Orange County to/from Maui.

    The airline offers soft drinks that are free on all flights. Beer, liqueurs, spirits, and wine are free of charge in BusinessFirst and Business Class on all flights, and for a charge in economy class on all flights. On flights within North America and to or from the Caribbean and Latin America, the airline offers "Specialty Beverages" for purchase in economy class.

    Audio-Video On-Demand (AVOD)

    Boeing 757–200 and 777-200ER aircraft include Audio-Video On-Demand (AVOD) in every seat back. Boeing 767 family aircraft are equipped with a personal television located in every seat back, using a tape system. On all Boeing 757–200 and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, all rows are equipped with power-ports (two power ports per group of 3 seats) that do not require special power adapters or cables.

    DirecTV

    Continental Airlines Inc. began offering 95 channels of live DirecTV
    DirecTV
    DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

     television to all passengers on its domestic fleet beginning in January 2009. Boeing 737-700s, 800s, 900s, and 900ERs and Boeing 757-300s will receive the service. The TV lineup includes CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN Headline News, ESPN, Discovery, Disney and additional movie channels. The service becomes available immediately after a credit card is swiped and confirmed, and can be activated at any point during the flight. Movies start at a set time and cannot be paused, rewound or fast-forwarded. The service is free to first-class passengers and is available for a charge of US$6 in the coach cabin. Service can become limited and/or interrupted during descent.

    DirecTV Status as of March 21, 2011– Total Progress- 76% Complete
    Aircraft In Service Completed % Completed Estimated Completion Date
    Boeing 737-900ER 32 30 94% Dec 2011
    Boeing 737–900 12 12 100% Completed
    Boeing 737–800 121 91 75% Dec 2011
    Boeing 737–700 32 32 100% Completed
    Boeing 757–300 21 0 0% Dec 2011


    Internet

    On Dec 16, 2009, Continental Airlines, announced that, beginning in the second quarter 2010(see note) it will offer Gogo Inflight Internet
    Gogo Inflight Internet
    Gogo provides in-flight broadband Internet service, streaming video and other connectivity services for commercial and business aircraft. In June of 2011, the company formally changed its name from Aircell to Gogo as part of a rebranding effort...

     service on its fleet of 21 Boeing 757–300 aircraft that primarily serve domestic routes. The new Gogo Inflight Internet service will provide customers full Internet access on their own standard, Wi-Fi equipped laptop or Personal Electronic Device (PED) at speeds similar to wireless mobile broadband services on the ground. Customers will be able to sign up and log in once the aircraft reaches 10000 feet (3,048 m). The Gogo system, powered by the Aircell Network and available in the continental U.S., will be available to customers at a cost from $4.95 and up, based on length of flight.

    NOTE: Continental has announced that the installation of Gogo inflight Wi-Fi will be postponed until further notice, pending the completion of the merger with United Airlines.

    OnePass

    Established in 1987 in cooperation with now defunct Eastern Airlines, OnePass is the frequent flyer program
    Frequent flyer program
    A frequent flyer program is a loyalty program offered by many airlines. Typically, airline customers enrolled in the program accumulate frequent flyer miles corresponding to the distance flown on that airline or its partners. There are other ways to accumulate miles...

     for Continental Airlines, Copa Airlines
    Copa Airlines
    Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., operating as Copa Airlines ', is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier...

     and Copa Airlines Colombia. OnePass offers regular travelers the privilege to obtain free tickets, First Class upgrades on flights, discounted membership for its airport lounge (President's Club), and other types of rewards. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments they fly or through Continental Airlines partners. OnePass elite tiers are Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite which have benefits such as free upgrades, mileage bonus, priority check-in, priority boarding, and much more. Continental previously had a frequent flyer program prior to OnePass called TravelBank, which was started not long after American Airlines started its frequent flyer program in 1981 and when most large United States airlines followed, but this was merged with Eastern Airlines' frequent flyer program in 1987 to form OnePass. The name "OnePass" refers to the ability to accumulate miles on two major airlines, namely Continental and Eastern, in one frequent flyer program. United announced that the combined carrier will use United's Mileage Plus frequent flyer program. As a result, Continental's OnePass program, shared with Copa Airlines, will be phased out by December 31, 2011 and will be merged with United's Mileage Plus program starting in 2012.

    In addition to its Continental Express
    Continental Express
    Continental Express is the operating brand name used by a number of independently owned regional airlines providing regional jet feeder service under agreement with Continental Airlines...

    , Continental Connection
    Continental Connection
    Continental Connection is a brand name under which several commuter airline carriers and their holding companies operate services marketed exclusively by Continental Airlines...

    , and Star Alliance partnerships, Continental has frequent flyer partnerships with the following airlines:
    • Aeromar
      Aeromar
      For the Dominican Republic airline, see Aeromar Líneas Aéreas DominicanasTransportes Aeromar, S.A. de C.V, doing business as Aeromar, is an airline based in Hangar 7 of Zone D of the General Aviation Terminal at Mexico City International Airport in Venustiano Carranza, Mexico City, Mexico. Aeromar...

    • Cape Air
      Cape Air
      Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States. It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, Florida, the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic States, Midwest, and Micronesia...

    • Copa Airlines
      Copa Airlines
      Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., operating as Copa Airlines ', is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier...

    • Hawaiian Airlines
      Hawaiian Airlines
      Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a major airline of the United States. It is the largest airline based in the State of Hawai'i, and is the 11th largest commercial airline in the country. Based in Honolulu CDP, City and County of Honolulu, the airline operates its main hub at Honolulu International...

    • Island Air
      Island Air
      Island Air is an independent American commuter airline based in Honolulu CDP, City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii. It operates scheduled inter-island passenger services in Hawaii...

    • Kingfisher Airlines
      Kingfisher Airlines
      Kingfisher Airlines is an airline group based in India. Its head office is Kingfisher House in Vile Parle , Mumbai. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, has a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red....

    • Virgin Atlantic Airways
      Virgin Atlantic Airways
      Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is a British airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines...


    United Club

    The United Club is the membership airport lounge program of Continental Airlines and United Airlines. The airport lounge was formerly known as "Presidents Club" for Continental, Copa Airlines, and Copa Airlines Colombia until October 1, 2011 when Continental's and both Copa's and Copa Colombia's President's Club was phased out while being renamed to "United Club" for Continental Airlines. Copa and Copa Colombia's lounge was renamed to "Copa Club".

    Continental Currency

    At airport kiosk
    Kiosk
    Kiosk is a small, separated garden pavilion open on some or all sides. Kiosks were common in Persia, India, Pakistan, and in the Ottoman Empire from the 13th century onward...

    s Continental Airlines allows customers to buy "Continental Currency", a prepaid credit for audio headsets and alcoholic beverages on flights.

    Continental Connection codeshares

    The operators of Continental Connection are:
    • CommutAir
      CommutAir
      Champlain Enterprises, Inc., operating name CommutAir, is an American regional airline with its headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont and its operations center in North Olmsted, Ohio. It operates under the name Continental Connection for United Continental Holdings, with its main bases at...

       operates mostly from Continental's Cleveland
      Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
      Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

       and Newark
      Newark Liberty International Airport
      Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

       hubs.
    • Colgan Air
      Colgan Air
      Colgan Air, Inc. is an American certificated regional airline subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. The headquarters of Colgan Air are located in Memphis, Tennessee....

       operates out of Cleveland, Houston and Newark. Colgan, as a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
      Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
      Pinnacle Airlines Corp. is an American holding company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, which is the parent company of three airlines: Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba Airlines and Colgan Air...

       operates out of Cleveland, Houston, and Newark as 'Continental Connection'.
    • Cape Air
      Cape Air
      Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States. It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, Florida, the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic States, Midwest, and Micronesia...

       operates out of San Juan (SJU), Puerto Rico to other Puerto Rican destinations, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Nevis. It also services routes from Guam to Saipan, Saipan to Rota
      Rota International Airport
      Rota International Airport is a public airport located on Rota Island in the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , near the village of Sinapalo. The airport is owned by the Commonwealth Ports Authority.Although most U.S...

       and Rota to Guam.
    • Gulfstream International Airlines
      Gulfstream International Airlines
      Gulfstream International Group, Inc., operating as Gulfstream International Airlines , is a United States airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It operates scheduled and charter services to Florida and Bahamas and the Caribbean. It operates as a United Express carrier for United Airlines...

       operates in the Bahamas, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Key West. Also operates some flights under the Essential Air Service
      Essential Air Service
      Essential Air Service is a U.S. government program enacted to guarantee that small communities in the United States, which, prior to deregulation, were served by certificated airlines, maintained commercial service. Its aim is to maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service to these...

       program from Continental's Cleveland
      Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
      Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a public airport located nine miles southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. The airport lies just within the city limits of Cleveland...

       hub.

    Incidents and accidents

    The following are major incidents and accidents that have occurred on Continental Airlines mainline aircraft.
    Continental Airlines reported incidents
    Flight Date Aircraft Location Passengers and crew Injuries
    Fatal Serious Minor Ground or other injuries/fatalities
    46 March 16, 1954 Convair CV-340 Midland, TX 0 0 0 All 0
    11
    Continental Airlines Flight 11
    Continental Airlines Flight 11, registration N70775, was a Boeing 707 aircraft which exploded in the vicinity of Centerville, Iowa, while en route from O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois, to Kansas City, Missouri, on May 22, 1962...

    May 22, 1962 Boeing 707–100
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

    Unionville, MO 45 45
    210 July 8, 1962 Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

    Lubbock International Airport
    Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport
    Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport is an airport located just north of Lubbock, Texas. Originally known as Lubbock International Airport, it was renamed in 2004 to honor former Texas governor Preston E. Smith, an alumnus of Texas Tech University...

    16
    290
    January 29, 1963 Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

    Kansas City, MO 8 8
    N/A April 13, 1973 NA-265 Sabreliner Montrose, CO 2 2
    426
    August 15, 1975 Boeing 727–200
    Boeing 727
    The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

    Denver, CO 131 15
    603
    March 1, 1978 McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

    200 2 31 167
    N/A July 8, 1987 Boeing 747
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

    North Atlantic Ocean 0 0 0 All 0
    1943 February 19, 1996 McDonnell Douglas DC-9
    McDonnell Douglas DC-9
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

    Houston, TX 87 0 0 12
    1713
    Continental Airlines Flight 1713
    Continental Airlines Flight 1713 crashed while taking off in a snowstorm from Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado on . The Douglas Aircraft DC-9-14 was operated by Continental Airlines and was a scheduled flight to Boise, Idaho...

    November 15, 1987 McDonnell Douglas DC-9
    McDonnell Douglas DC-9
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

    Denver, CO
    Stapleton International Airport
    Stapleton International Airport was Denver, Colorado's primary airport from 1929 to 1995. At different times it served as a hub for TWA, People Express, Frontier Airlines and Western Airlines as well as a hub for Continental Airlines and United Airlines at the time of its closure.In 1995 Stapleton...

    82 28 28 26
    55
    July 25, 2000 McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10
    The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

    Paris, France 113 fatalities, No passengers killed on DC-10
    1515 January 16, 2006 Boeing 737–524
    Boeing 737 Classic
    The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

    El Paso, TX
    El Paso International Airport
    El Paso International Airport is a public airport located four miles northeast of the central business district of the City of El Paso, in El Paso County, Texas, USA....

    114 + 5 1 fatality
    1404
    Continental Airlines Flight 1404
    Continental Airlines Flight 1404 was a Continental Airlines flight from Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, United States to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas...

    December 20, 2008 Boeing 737–500
    Boeing 737 Classic
    The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

    Denver, CO
    Denver International Airport
    Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

    115 2 36

    • March 16, 1954
      • Flight 46, on a flight from Midland, Texas to Kansas City, Missouri suffers vibration just after takeoff and goes into a dive; the flight crew managed to make a wheels-up landing in an open field.
    • May 22, 1962
      • A passenger intent on claiming money from life insurance planted a bomb on the aircraft which departed Chicago-O’Hare
        O'Hare International Airport
        Chicago O'Hare International Airport , also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, Chicago Airport, Chicago International Airport, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, northwest of the Chicago Loop...

        , destined for Kansas City Municipal Airport. The bomb exploded, breaking off the aircraft's tail, and the plane crashed on a farm near Unionville, Missouri
        Unionville, Missouri
        Unionville is a city in Putnam County, Missouri, United States. The population was 2,041 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Putnam County.-Geography:Unionville is located at ....

        . All 45 on board died. This aircraft had previously been subject to an attempted hijacking to Cuba, although the hijackers were captured in El Paso, Texas
        El Paso, Texas
        El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

        .
    • July 8, 1962
      • Damaged beyond economic repair when the propellers struck the runway shortly after take-off. A wheels-up landing was made in a wheat field.
    • January 29, 1963
      • Flight 290 enroute from Midland, Texas
        Midland International Airport
        -Top Destinations:-See also:* Texas World War II Army Airfields-References:* Shaw, Frederick J. , Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004....

         to Kansas City crashed on approach, near the south end of the runway and burst into flames.
    • April 13, 1973
      • After bringing Bob
        Robert Six
        Robert Forman Six was the CEO of Continental Airlines from 1936 to 1981. Six's career began in the earliest days of U.S. commercial aviation. His determined, scrappy, risk-taking nature paid off for Continental Airlines, the company that would for forty-five years be forged in his image...

         and Audrey Six
        Audrey Meadows
        Audrey Meadows was an American actress best known for her role as the deadpan housewife Alice Kramden on the 1950s American television comedy The Honeymooners.-Early life:...

         to their Colorado ranch, the Sabreliner crew departed MTJ, for the return flight to Los Angeles (LAX). The thrust reverser of the aircraft was deployed in flight shortly after takeoff. The Sabreliner descended from 1000 feet (304.8 m), struck the ground, and was destroyed.
    • August 15, 1975
      • Flight 426, bound for Wichita, Kansas
        Wichita, Kansas
        Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

        , crashed near the departure end of runway shortly after takeoff. The aircraft encountered severe windshear at an altitude and airspeed which precluded recovery to level flight. The aircraft descended at a rate which could not be overcome even though the aircraft was flown at or near its maximum lift capability throughout the encounter. The windshear was generated by the outflow from a thunderstorm which was over the aircraft's departure path. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated. The aircraft was a total loss.
    • March 1, 1978
      • Flight 603 was scheduled to fly to Honolulu, HI
        Honolulu International Airport
        Honolulu International Airport is the principal aviation gateway of the City & County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii and is identified as one of the busiest airports in the United States, with traffic now exceeding 21 million passengers a year and rising.It is located in the Honolulu...

         from Los Angeles. The DC-10 overran the runway at Los Angeles (LAX) during an aborted takeoff as a result of a tire explosion resulting in a fire engulfing the aircraft. The aircraft was a total loss.
    • July 8, 1987
      • Near collision with a Delta Air Lines
        Delta Air Lines
        Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

         Lockheed L-1011
        Lockheed L-1011
        The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, commonly referred to as the L-1011 or TriStar, is a medium-to-long range, widebody passenger trijet airliner. It was the third widebody airliner to enter commercial operations, following the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Between 1968 and 1984, Lockheed...

        . Both the Delta (London-Cincinnati) and Continental (London-Newark) were heading to the U.S. with nearly 600 people total on both aircraft. The Delta flight strayed 60 miles (96.6 km) off course during its flight and came within 30 feet (9.1 m) of colliding with the 747 as the L-1011 flew under it in Canadian airspace. It was nearly the deadliest aviation accident in history.
    • November 15, 1987
      • Flight 1713 bound for Boise, Idaho
        Boise, Idaho
        Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho, as well as the county seat of Ada County. Located on the Boise River, it anchors the Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area and is the largest city between Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon.As of the 2010 Census Bureau,...

         crashed on take-off during a snowstorm at Stapleton Intl. Airport.
    • February 19, 1996
      • Flight 1943 landed wheels up on runway 27 at the Houston Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas.
    • July 25, 2000
      • Flight 55 caused the crash of Air France
        Air France
        Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

         Concorde
        Concorde
        Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

         Flight 4590
        Air France Flight 4590
        Air France Flight 4590 was a Concorde flight operated by Air France which was scheduled to run from Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. On 2000, it crashed in Gonesse, France. All one hundred passengers and nine crew...

         in Paris. The Continental jet dropped a strip of titanium alloy from its thrust reverser on the runway during takeoff. When AF4590 subsequently departed, Concorde's left main landing gear tires struck the strip of metal and were punctured. The tires then exploded and tire rubber fragments penetrated Concorde's wing fuel tanks, starting fires in engines 1 and 2, leading to the crash which killed all aboard and four people on the ground. According to the official report on the accident, the strip of metal installed on the Continental jet was made from a different alloy than had been approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration
        Federal Aviation Administration
        The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

         or the engine manufacturer. This led French authorities to undertake a criminal investigation into Continental Airlines, which ended in Continental being fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay 1 million euros to Air France.
    • January 16, 2006
      • The mechanic's failure to maintain proper clearance with the engine intake during a jet engine run, and the failure of contract maintenance personnel to follow written procedures and directives contained in the airline's general maintenance manual. Factors contributing to the accident were the insufficient training provided to the contract mechanics by the airline, and the failure of the airport to disseminate a policy prohibiting ground engine runs above idle power in the terminal area.
    • December 20, 2008
      • Flight 1404 bound for Houston, pulled left and ran off of the runway during its takeoff roll at Denver International Airport
        Denver International Airport
        Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

        . The cause of the incident is unknown, however the right side of aircraft caught fire once coming to a stop. Of the 115 people on board, 38 sustained injuries, with 2 seriously injured, including the pilot.

    Incidents

    • July 1, 1965
      • Continental Airlines Flight 12
        Continental Airlines Flight 12
        Continental Airlines Flight 12, is a scheduled domestic passenger flight that on July 1, 1965 was operated by a Boeing 707, registration N70773, aircraft from Los Angeles International Airport to Chicago O'Hare International Airport with an intermediate at Kansas City Downtown Airport...

         ran off the runway at Kansas City Downtown Airport
        Kansas City Downtown Airport
        Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport , also known as Kansas City Downtown Airport, is a public airport located in Kansas City, Clay County, Missouri, United States. This airport is publicly owned by City of Kansas City.-History:...

         landing in heavy rain. All 66 on board survived.
    • October 28, 2006
      • Continental Flight 1883, a Boeing 757–200
        Boeing 757
        The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

         aircraft carrying 160 passengers, landed on a narrow unoccupied taxiway parallel to runway 29 at Newark Liberty International Airport
        Newark Liberty International Airport
        Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

        . No one was injured and both pilots were removed from flying status duties pending an investigation. They have since been reinstated. Potentially confusing runway lighting and pilot error were cited in the investigation.
    • In January 2007
      • A Continental Boeing 757 pilot died en route from Houston to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The flight was diverted to McAllen, TX.
    • June 18, 2009
      • The captain of Continental Airlines Flight 61, a Boeing 777-200ER, en route from Brussels, Belgium, to Newark, New Jersey, died of natural causes during the trip. The airline alerted federal authorities around 10:30 that morning that Flight 61 was being flown by the first officer and relief pilot. The plane with 247 passengers aboard landed safely at Newark Liberty International Airport at about noon EDT.
    • August 3, 2009
      • Continental Airlines Flight 128, a Boeing 767
        Boeing 767
        The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

        , made an emergency landing in Miami (Miami International Airport
        Miami International Airport
        Miami International Airport , also known as MIA and historically Wilcox Field, is the primary airport serving the South Florida area...

        ) due to extreme turbulence. This flight was scheduled from Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport) to Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport
        George Bush Intercontinental Airport
        George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

        ). The plane carried 11 crew members and 168 passengers. At least 26 passengers were injured, including four seriously.
    • December 6, 2010
      • Continental Airlines was found criminally responsible for the disaster to Concorde (Air France Flight 4590) at Gonesse on July 25, 2000 (at which one hundred passengers and nine crew members on board the flight died) by a Parisian court and was fined €200,000 ($271,628) and ordered to pay Air France €1 million. Continental mechanic John Taylor was given a 15-month suspended sentence, while another airline operative and three French officials were cleared of all charges. The court ruled that the crash resulted from a piece of metal from a Continental jet that was left on the runway; the object punctured a tyre on the Concorde and then ruptured a fuel tank. Another Continental employee, Stanley Ford, was found not guilty.

    See also

    • Air transportation in the United States
    • List of companies of the United States
    • List of airlines of the United States
    • List of airports in the United States
    • Transportation in the United States
      Transportation in the United States
      Transportation in the United States is facilitated by road, air, rail, and water networks. The vast majority of passenger travel occurs by automobile for shorter distances, and airplane for longer distances...

    • United Airlines
      United Airlines
      United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

    • Northwest Airlines
      Northwest Airlines
      Northwest Airlines, Inc. was a major United States airline founded in 1926 and absorbed into Delta Air Lines by a merger approved on October 29, 2008, making Delta the largest airline in the world...



    Footnotes

    References
    Bibliography
    • Continental Airlines, Customer Service Manual, 1970 edition.
    • Vietor, Richard H. K. "Contrived Competition: Airline Regulation and Deregulation, 1925–1988", The Business History Review, Vol. 64, No. 1, Government and Business (Spring, 1990), pp. 61–108

    External links

    Official websites

    Affiliated websites

    Archived websites

    Archived websites
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