Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My First Flight on Continental Airlines

The Chef's Selection of seared pork chop with morel mushroom sauce

I don't think I've ever flown Continental before. So I was kinda looking forward to seeing what this leg out to Houston was going to be like, especially since they didn't seem to be fully integrated into United yet. Indeed, even requesting an upgrade required going through an "integration team," but fortunately they got me into their so-called BusinessFirst cabin.

As I walked to the gate at Narita, I noticed that the plane was already decked out in United livery. When I got on board, I realized that it the seats were still from Continental. And I actually liked them a little better than United given all of the little areas they had for you to put your stuff. Sure, the headphones were flimsy, the entertainment system didn't hold your spot for you, and the service that I experienced on this flight wasn't that friendly. But otherwise I liked the soft and comfy seat, as well as that thick bone-in pork chop with morel sauce above that they put into an Executive Meal service for me (otherwise known on United as Express Dine).

It will be interesting to see which bits of Continental legacy emerge after the integration team's work is done. In the meanwhile, there were still some amusing differences here and there. For instance, the in-flight magazine was from United, but the duty free catalog was from Continental. The coasters and chopsticks were branded United, but the toothpick and amenities kit were branded Continental. United CEO Jeff Smisek was still giving his usual spiel about the merger before the safety video, but the menu was amusingly just a few photocopied sheets of folded white paper stapled together rather than that thick stock that United uses with a color cover. Not that anything as trivial as the quality of the menu's printing should really matter.

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