Continental Airlines has announced that it will launch daily nonstop flights between its New York area hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Shanghai, China and through flight service between Cleveland and Shanghai beginning March 25, 2009.The airline has made seat inventory available for sale in preparation for the start of service less than eight months from now.
Continental has operated nonstop service between New York and Beijing since 2005 and between New York and Hong Kong since 2001.
The new service will provide daily nonstop flights to the largest U.S.-China market that today lacks daily service, linking the world’s financial center and top business and tourism destination with China’s center for finance and trade.
“We are excited about extending our China route network to include nonstop service to Shanghai,” said Jim Compton, Continental’s executive vice president marketing. “Shanghai is the largest Pacific market currently not served by Continental and offers significant opportunities for growth in the future.”
The flight will be timed to provide convenient roundtrip connections at Continental’s New York hub to more than 60 other cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Continental will operate the nonstop flight daily with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Flight 87 will depart Liberty at 11:20 a.m., arriving in Shanghai mid-afternoon the following day at 1:45 p.m. The return flight 86 will depart Shanghai in the afternoon at 3:45 p.m. and arrive at Liberty in the evening of the same day at 6:20 p.m. Flying times will be approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes in each direction.
Continental’s Shanghai flights will feature special products and services for customers. Popular movies in Mandarin and English (when available from the studio) will be featured on the inflight entertainment system, with different programming provided in each direction for all customers to access on their individual seat monitors. An audio channel will be dedicated to playing traditional and popular Chinese music and local Chinese newspapers will be available for BusinessFirst customers. Instructional videos, including the safety and arrival video and pre-recorded announcements, will be available in Mandarin. Menus will be available in English and Chinese and inflight meals, which will include Chinese choices, are being designed by chefs based in the U.S. and in China. A Mandarin-speaking flight attendant will be available to help customers inflight and Mandarin-speaking agents will be available to help customers at check-in.
The new flights will feature Continental’s award-winning BusinessFirst service. The Official Airline Guide has awarded Continental’s BusinessFirst as the Best Executive/Business Class for five consecutive years (2003 - 2007), and Conde Nast Traveler magazine rated Continental’s premium BusinessFirst service the highest among all U.S. carriers for trans-Pacific flights 10 years in a row.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, the premium-class cabin will feature Continental’s new 180-degree lie-flat seats. The lie-flat seats feature more individual storage space and laptop power, iPod connectivity and 15.4-inch video monitor for customers to enjoy on-demand movies, music and games.
Other BusinessFirst amenities include gourmet menu selections created by Continental’s Congress of Chefs. A specially selected and trained corps of Concierges is available to provide individualized pre-flight and post-flight services for BusinessFirst customers at 42 international airports worldwide. Customers traveling in BusinessFirst are also able to access any of Continental’s 27 Presidents Clubs and more than 60 airline affiliated lounges worldwide.
Flights to Shanghai will feature Continental’s new Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD) in both the BusinessFirst and Economy cabins of its Boeing 777 aircraft. The entertainment systems on these aircraft will allow customers to choose from more than 250 movies, 300 short-subject programs including popular television shows and 1,500 music tracks, with a jukebox feature to make individual playlists. In addition, this new entertainment system has 25 video games and the interactive Berlitz World Traveler foreign language program. Continental expects to complete the installation of AVOD on its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft in May 2009.
Economy class on the Continental 777 is also exceptionally comfortable and spacious, in a 3-3-3 seating configuration with wider-than-usual aisles. Every Economy passenger has an individual seatback video screen, as well as an inflight telephone with overwater capability.
Continental also offers tour packages to China through Continental Airlines Vacations.