95 Facts About Continental Airlines


Continental Airlines, simply known as Continental, was a major American airline founded in 1934 and eventually headquartered in Houston, Texas.

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Profits from military transportation and aircraft conversion enabled Continental Airlines to contemplate expansion and acquisition of new airliners after the war.

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In 1946 Continental Airlines flew Denver to Kansas City, Wichita, Tulsa, and to Oklahoma City, and from El Paso and Albuquerque to San Antonio.

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In 1955, Continental Airlines merged with Pioneer Air Lines, gaining access to 16 more cities in Texas and New Mexico.

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Continental Airlines was discussing with Boeing for Continental to become one of the first to operate the soon-to-be-launched 707.

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In 1960 Continental Airlines flew more than three times the passenger-miles it had in 1956.

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Continental Airlines predicted that increased traffic, not higher fares, was the answer to the airline industry's problems.

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Continental Airlines later pioneered a number of other low or discount fares which made air travel available to many who could not previously afford it.

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In 1970, Continental Airlines was awarded routes from Seattle and Portland to San Jose, Hollywood-Burbank Airport, and Ontario, California—all of them growing markets.

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In 1963, Continental denied employment to African-American pilot and Air Force veteran, Marlon D Green.

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Continental Airlines's employment paved the way for the hiring of ethnic-minority pilots by all US carriers, an industry milestone which was finally realized in 1977 after Southern Airways hired their first minority pilot.

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At Six's insistence, Continental was one of the three launch airlines for the Boeing 747.

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On June 26,1970, Continental Airlines became the second carrier to put the 747 into US domestic service.

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Continental Airlines saw market share grow annually in each DC-10 market through the 1970s, until relative market parity was achieved with United, the principal competitor on most of the DC-10 routes.

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From 1961 to 1982, Continental Airlines was headquartered at the west end of the Los Angeles International Airport on World Way West.

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In 1974, after years of delays and legal proceedings, Continental Airlines started flights between Houston and Miami, and on May 21,1976, Continental Airlines was authorized to operate long-sought routes between San Diego and Denver.

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That year, President Carter authorized Continental Airlines to begin daily round trips between Air Micronesia destination Saipan and Japan, and approved a route for Continental Airlines from Los Angeles to Australia via Honolulu, American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

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October 1978 saw Continental Airlines begin flights from the New York area airports to Houston and Denver, and from Denver to Phoenix.

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That month Continental Airlines started DC-10 flights between Los Angeles and Taipei, via Honolulu and Guam.

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In June 1979 Continental Airlines linked Denver with Washington, DC, Las Vegas, San Francisco and San Jose and began Houston-Tampa service.

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Continental Airlines only operated the DC-10 and the 727 at the time, so flights to Hawaii were cancelled during the grounding.

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Route systems would have been complementary, with little overlap; although they both served the Western states, Continental Airlines had strength in Hawaii, southern-tier and the Great Plains states; Western's strengths were in the California intrastate market, Alaska, Mexico, and the Intermountain West.

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Continental Airlines was experiencing significant financial challenges both before and after Texas Air's takeover, and management showed how Continental Airlines could not compete and survive with its cost structure.

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On October 31,1982, following approval by shareholders of both companies, Continental Airlines merged operations with Texas International, retaining the Continental Airlines identity and offering service to four continents with a fleet of 112 aircraft.

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In mid-1983, Continental Airlines relocated its headquarters to Texas International's base in Houston, Texas, which resulted in a large expansion of its hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport and extensive new routes to Mexico and the south central US.

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In 1983, Continental Airlines went to its unions to restructure labor costs to compete with the startup carriers and American's Plan B labor costs.

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Continental Airlines was able to operate through the strike because many mechanics crossed picket lines and Continental Airlines hired new mechanics.

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When Continental Airlines resumed service three days after filing Chapter 11, it initially served 25 cities versus the more than 70 cities previously.

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Continental Airlines began offering flights for only $49 for each nonstop segment, raising it later to $75 on any segment.

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Continental began developing its Midwest hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 1986, just as United Airlines began to transfer its Cleveland hub operations to Washington Dulles International Airport in Fairfax County, Virginia.

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On February 1,1987, People Express, Frontier, New York Air, and several commuter carriers were merged into Continental Airlines to create the sixth largest airline in the world and became the largest low-fare airline by introducing the industry's first non-refundable airfares, initially called MaxSavers.

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The mergers and the aggressive marketing led to Continental Airlines becoming an even larger player in the northeastern markets.

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In November 1992, Continental Airlines accepted a $450 million buyout offer from an investor group composed of Air Partners, an investor from Texas led by Texas Pacific Group, and Air Canada.

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In 1994, Continental Airlines substantially reduced its jet services in Denver and terminated all turboprop operations, which had been unprofitable, reducing Denver from being a hub to a spoke city.

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Between 1993 and 1995, Continental Airlines experimented with an "airline within an airline" by launching CALite, later renamed Continental Airlines Lite, which provided all-economy, low-fare, no-frills service between primarily leisure destinations.

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The service was based primarily at Continental Airlines's existing hub in Cleveland as well as a new hub established in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Continental Airlines went from being ranked last in most performance categories to winning more JD Power and Associates awards for Customer Satisfaction than any other airline.

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In 1999, Continental Airlines started service between Newark and Zurich, Switzerland, and from Cleveland to London.

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On March 1,2001, Continental Airlines launched a non-stop service from Newark to Hong Kong, operating over the North circumpolar route.

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In 2005, Continental Airlines expanded service from Newark to Beijing after being awarded the China route.

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In 2005, service to Asia was expanded as Continental Airlines introduced daily nonstop service between Newark and New Delhi, India.

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In June 2008, due to national and international economic conditions, Continental Airlines cut 3,000 jobs and the CEO and president had reduced salaries for the remainder of the year.

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The new Continental Airlines-United relationship was characterized as a "virtual merger" in some circles.

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In September 2008, Continental Airlines announced that it would commence providing seasonal non-stop service between Houston and Rio de Janeiro.

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In January 2009, Continental Airlines became the first commercial carrier to successfully demonstrate the use of sustainable biofuel to power an aircraft in North America.

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In March 2009, Continental Airlines became the first US carrier to inaugurate scheduled service between New York and Shanghai, China, with daily non-stop flights from Newark.

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Continental Airlines flew the aircraft to its three hubs for anniversary celebration events for employees and retirees.

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In July 2009 Continental Airlines began to offer DirecTV, giving customers the choice of 95 channels of live television programming, more channels than any other carrier.

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Continental Airlines launched Virtual Expert technology on their website at continental.

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Continental Airlines became the first airline to launch a mobile boarding pass service to London's Heathrow.

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Continental Airlines left the SkyTeam alliance on October 24,2009, and joined Star Alliance on October 27,2009.

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In February 2008, UAL Corporation and Continental Airlines began the advanced stages of merger talks and were expected to announce their decision in the immediate aftermath of a definitive merger agreement between rival Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines.

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The timing of the events was notable because Northwest's golden shares in Continental Airlines could be redeemed, freeing Continental Airlines to pursue a marriage with United.

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In June 2008, CEOs of both United Airlines and Continental Airlines signed an alliance pact that led to their eventual merger.

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Additionally, Continental Airlines joined the Star Alliance, as Delta and Northwest merged.

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On May 2,2010, the boards of directors at Continental and United Airlines approved a stock-swap deal that would combine them into the world's largest airline in revenue passenger miles.

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On October 1,2010, UAL Corporation and Continental Airlines completed the planned merger and changed the name to United Continental Holdings.

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On December 22,2010, Continental Airlines merged operating certificates with Continental Micronesia.

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At the time of the merger with United, Continental Airlines was the fourth-largest airline in the US based on passenger-miles flown and the fifth largest in total passengers carried.

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Continental Airlines operated flights to destinations throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions.

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On November 30,2011, Continental Airlines officially merged with United and no longer operates as a separate airline.

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The last Continental Airlines flight taking off was "Continental Flight 1267", flying from Phoenix to Cleveland, and arriving into Cleveland as "United Flight 1267".

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On October 31,1937, Continental Airlines moved its headquarters to Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado.

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At a 1962 press conference in the office of Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty, Continental Airlines announced that it planned to move its headquarters to Los Angeles in July 1963.

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Stephen M Wolf, the president of Continental said that the company moved its headquarters because Houston became the largest hub for Continental.

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In January 1997, Continental Airlines occupied 250,000 square feet of space at the America Tower.

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In 2008 Continental renewed its lease for around 450,000 square feet in Continental Center I Before the lease renewal, rumors spread stating that the airline would relocate its headquarters to office space around George Bush Intercontinental Airport due to high fuel costs affecting the airline industry; the rumors stated that the airline was studying possibilities of less expensive alternatives to Continental Center I The parties did not reveal the terms of the lease agreement.

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In 2010, Continental Airlines and United Airlines announced that they would merge and that the headquarters of the combined company would be in the Chicago Loop in Chicago.

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Continental Airlines made efforts to minimize the negative environmental effects of commercial aviation.

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Continental Airlines was the first carrier in the world to utilize this technology on their aircraft.

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Continental Airlines conducted flight tests using aircraft powered by biofuel rather than traditional Jet-A1.

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On January 7,2009, Continental Airlines partnered with GE Aviation to conduct a biofuel demonstration flight, making the airline the first US carrier to conduct tests using biofuels.

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Continental Airlines was recognized by NASA and Fortune magazine for positive environmental contributions.

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The summer 2008 schedule saw Continental Airlines serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations.

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Continental Airlines operated primarily a hub-and-spoke route network with North American hubs in Cleveland, Houston, and Newark, and a west Pacific hub in Guam.

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The majority of Continental Airlines flights were operated from its hubs, with a few exceptions.

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Almost 40 years, Continental Airlines operated a very large hub in Denver, Colorado, but took the decision to close that hub in 1995 immediately after the opening of Denver International Airport, which represented a significantly higher-cost operation than the former Stapleton Airport, which DIA had replaced.

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Continental Airlines first entered the transatlantic market in April 1985, with the introduction of a Houston-London-Gatwick service.

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Long prevented from serving London Heathrow Airport because of the provisions of the Bermuda II agreement, which only allowed British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines and American Airlines to operate flights from Heathrow to the United States, Continental maintained its London services at Gatwick, where in 2007 as many as six flights a day were offered to Newark, Houston, and Cleveland.

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In November 2007 Continental Airlines announced that new, nonstop, twice-daily service from its hubs at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport to London-Heathrow would be offered; and this service was inaugurated on March 29,2008.

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Continental Airlines has served Australia in the past with DC-10 and Boeing 747 service from Hawaii, with some flights via Auckland.

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Continental Airlines offered the most destinations of any of the US carriers to Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom, and was the only US airline that flew to the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Norway.

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Continental Airlines began service from Newark to Mumbai, India on October 1,2007, making that city Continental Airlines's second Indian destination.

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Chautauqua Airlines flew under the Continental Express identity, and Cape Air, Colgan Air, CommutAir, and Silver Airways fed Continental's flights under the Continental Connection identity.

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Continental Airlines did not have any ownership interests in these companies.

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Continental Airlines was one of three carriers to sign an exclusivity agreement with Boeing in the late 1990s.

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Continental Airlines considered BusinessFirst to be its signature onboard product, and the service is a frequent subject of advertising campaigns.

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Continental Airlines offered a modified BusinessFirst service on flights from the United States mainland to Hawaii.

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However, on 767-operated BusinessFirst services to Hawaii, Continental Airlines offered a day-of-departure buy up fee for any revenue coach class fare, provided seats were available.

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Continental Airlines offered free meals on domestic economy class flights.

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On March 1,2011, Continental stopped serving free snacks on domestic flights to coach passengers in order to align itself with the policy of United Airlines.

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Continental Airlines offered free special meal options on certain flights; special meals include the Child, Gluten intolerant, Hindu vegetarian, Jain, Kosher, Muslim, and Vegan options.

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Continental Airlines began offering 95 channels of live DirecTV television to all passengers on its domestic fleet beginning in January 2009.

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At airport kiosks Continental Airlines allowed customers to buy "Continental Currency", a prepaid credit for audio headsets and alcoholic beverages on flights.

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Continental previously had a frequent flyer program prior to OnePass called TravelBank, which was started not long after American Airlines started its frequent flyer program in 1981 and when most large United States airlines followed, but this was merged with Eastern Airlines' frequent flyer program in 1987 to form OnePass.

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