Open Letter to Continental Airlines

In Customer Service, Marketing, Travel by J Michel MetzLeave a Comment

I need to write to describe my increasing displeasure with Continental’s merger with United as it relates to declining customer experience. For years I have promoted Continental’s exemplary customer service and stellar commitment to rewarding loyalty, and have deliberately shifted all of my business to Continental. In 3 of the past 4 years I have achieved Silver or Gold Elite, and so I have come to expect a certain exchange of value with Continental: you treat me well, I use your service.

During the course of the transition this treatment has declined to the point where on my last flight I was livid.

When boarding any flight nowadays the inconsistency between United and Continental’s customer service is a serious detraction – to the point that I’m starting to look at other flying alternatives.

Why? Apparently my loyalty does not mean anything to Continental any longer. There are so many Global Services, Premier, Premiere executive, Platinum, Gold, Silver Elite members on each flight that are permitted to take oversized luggage in the cabin that the storage space is full by the time non-elite passengers are ready to board. There are no more spaces available on the plane and people are forced to check their bags when they have every right to expect their own reserved space.

My last flight I was seated in row 10 but by the time I boarded the first available overhead bin was located at Row 19! I’m just grateful that I didn’t have another flight to catch, otherwise swimming upstream would have prevented me from making it.

Simply adhering to your own baggage-sizing rules would mitigate this problem. Why does Continental nor United do this?

Additionally, the inconsistency with which upgrades are applied is problematic. E.g., if I upgrade to “Economy Plus” do I get the priority line or not? On a recent flight (before reaching elite status) I was told that I did before I purchased, but the gate agent sent me to the back of a *very* long line. How much of my $115 upgrade fee should be refunded for not being able to fit my *own* single carry-on onto the plane? Why should I be punished for doing what I am supposed to, especially after I pay *extra* to ensure that I have the space that I should have reserved for me by the nature of purchasing the flight ticket in the first place?

Add to that the additional charges for food, the difference between Continental’s stellar service record and United’s terrible one (United Breaks Guitars, anyone?), customer loyalty is becoming remarkably difficult to justify.

Please help me understand how Continental is working to address these issues so as to justify remaining.


J Metz

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