Continental Airlines Unveils Benefits For Premium Flyers

Continental`s Top Customers Will Welcome Three New Features: EliteAccess; Elite for the Day; and No Middle Seat Assignment Guarantee
Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today unveiled a package of special services and benefits for premium flyers, adding even more value to a Continental ticket purchase.
“Today we are further differentiating Continental as a carrier that delivers a quality travel experience for people who want more than they get from a cut-rate carrier,” said Chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune. “Customers who pay higher fares account for an important part of our revenues, and we want to show appreciation for their business by giving them more for their money. Our excellent inflight service and access to our First Class and BusinessFirst cabins have always been key reasons for our best customers to choose Continental. Now EliteAccess gives travelers yet another reason to pick us for their trip.”

EliteAccess helps customers by reducing the time they spend waiting in the airport. When checking-in at eService Centers or specially-designated ticket counter positions (or on-line at, qualifying customers will receive a boarding pass printed with the EliteAccess trademark to remind them of their status throughout their trip. Continental`s 750 eService Centers—more than any carrier in the world—are being programmed to issue documents explaining EliteAccess benefits for qualifying customers.
Following expedited security screening (where permitted), EliteAccess travelers will receive special treatment in the aircraft boarding area.
Continental boarding gates will have separately identified entrances for EliteAccess and general boarding. At any time during the boarding process, EliteAccess customers may use their special entrance to the jetway to present their boarding pass and receive immediate access to the aircraft. EliteAccess customers will always be invited aboard prior to general boarding, but the new gate process ensures that they can board quickly regardless of when they arrive at the gate by receiving “head of the line” treatment. More than 350 boarding gates around the Continental system are being modified for EliteAccess, including new blue carpets and gold stanchions marking the path to priority boarding.
Baggage claim will go faster, too. EliteAccess bag tags affixed by Continental agents at time of check-in will indicate first-to-the-carousel treatment for these bags at the destination airport.
EliteAccess privileges will be offered only to OnePass members who hold Elite status in the frequent flyer program, first class and BusinessFirst ticketholders, and travelers who qualify as “Elite for the Day.” About 20 percent of Continental`s customers fall into one of these categories.
Elite for the Day
An economy-class traveler qualifies as “Elite for the Day” by purchasing a ticket in certain fare categories, even without membership in the OnePass frequent flyer program. Travelers who are “Elite for the Day” are even eligible for space-available first class upgrades on domestic flights, with priority after OnePass Elites.
“We take special care of our Elite frequent flyers, and we want to extend that level of courtesy and service to other travelers who buy business-type fares,” Bethune said.
Elite for the Day is initially being introduced in the 48 contiguous U.S. states plus Alaska.
No Middle Seat Assignment Guarantee
To further differentiate the value of a full-fare, unrestricted ticket, Continental is introducing the No Middle Seat Assignment Guarantee. This offer assures business travelers in economy class that they will receive a window or aisle seating location. The guarantee is backed up by 1,000 OnePass miles payable by Continental in any instance when a Y-fare traveler is assigned a middle seat. Normally Y-fare customers will be eligible for a First Class upgrade with their “Elite for the Day” status and they will receive economy seating only when First Class is full.

Continental Airlines is the world`s seventh-largest airline and has more than 2,300 daily departures. With 134 domestic and 92 international destinations, Continental has the broadest global route network of any U.S. airline, including extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and carries approximately 41 million passengers per year on the newest jet fleet among major U.S. airlines. With 42,000 employees, Continental is one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. In 2003, Fortune ranked Continental highest among major U.S. carriers in the quality of its service and products, and No. 2 on its list of Most Admired Global Airlines. For more company information, visit