Just in time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season, Continental Airlines is moving its ticketing and check-in counters to the neighboring terminal operated by corporate sibling United Airlines at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Effective Tuesday, Nov. 16, Continental passengers will check in at Continental-branded counters in O’Hare’s Terminal 1, rather than Terminal 2, where the Houston-based carrier had been located.
The move is one of the first changes visible to travelers as the two carriers begin to combine operations following the Oct. 1 close of their merger, which created the world’s largest airline. Both carriers are wholly owned subsidiaries of United Continental Holdings Inc., their Chicago-based corporate parent.
But until the two carriers fully integrate their reservation systems, slated to be completed in Spring 2011, Continental passengers will continue to use Continental kiosks or counters to check in for flights, said spokeswoman Christen David.
The new United has begun repainting its 708-jet fleet with its new livery, stamping Continental’s globe on their tails and painting United’s new sans-serif brand on a white fuselage.
But much of the on-board features of the merged carrier won’t be made public until next Spring: like whether the new United will offer the roomier Economy Plus seating in all of its jets, sell first-class seats on international flights or continue to use George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” as its calling card.
Continental shifted its departures at O’Hare to gates B-1 through B-4 in United’s terminal in June 2009, as it prepared to enter the Star Alliance, a global marketing alliance co-founded by United. Since then, Continental has moved its operations closer to its Star partners in many markets, including Denver, Detroit, Orlando, Honolulu, Toronto, Frankfurt, Tokyo/Narita, Barcelona and Beijing.
Earlier this month, Continental moved its baggage claim to Terminal 1 at O’Hare, and customers now claim their bags on baggage belt 2.