Continental Airlines is preparing for Hurricane Rita by continuing to evacuate travellers from Houston. The airline is making operational decisions with the highest priority placed on the safety of its customers and employees.
Continental expects to be able to operate only a reduced Houston schedule on Friday morning, and will cease flight operations at Houston at noon. All Continental Airlines flights from Houston on Friday afternoon and Saturday are being cancelled. All Continental Express flights from Houston on Friday and Saturday are being cancelled. Flights are expected to resume Sunday morning. Throughout the weekend, all flights not involving Houston should operate normally. The best way to check the status of a particular flight is to visit continental.com .
“We are committed to the safety of our customers and employees,” said Larry Kellner, chairman and CEO. “We are doing our best to evacuate as many people as we can until we are forced to suspend operations at noon today.”
Supplementary Staff Fly to Houston
To augment staffing at the Houston hub, Continental has flown into Houston hundreds of employee volunteers and TSA security screeners from Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Antonio. These personnel supplement existing staff at the airport and replace workers who were subject to mandatory evacuation orders. The supplementary staff have been brought to the Houston airport with Continental’s commitment to fly them home before the hurricane hits.
Travel Advice: Check in at Continental.com and Carry-on Bags Only
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is extremely busy with all flights sold out. Only ticketed passengers should go to the airport. Passengers should bring only carry-on baggage to help expedite check-in and security screening. Passengers should check in at continental.com and print their boarding passes prior to leaving for the airport.
Continental strongly recommends against passengers flying to Houston to make onward connecting flights. Due to the approach of Hurricane Rita, connecting itineraries may not function as scheduled, risking passenger misconnections and possible stranding in Houston. Only passengers who need to travel to Houston itself should board flights destined for Houston.
Weather conditions in Houston are currently permitting safe operations, and so far today Continental has had no cancellations. Continental Express has implemented cancellations in order to lend resources to the Continental Airlines operation at IAH.
Combined Continental Airlines and Continental Express cancellations are expected to total 1,089 on Friday and 828 on Saturday.
Plans are in place to resume service as soon as possible after the hurricane. As was the case with Hurricane Katrina, Continental will be heavily involved in helping the afflicted area get back on its feet.