Continental announces move to Star Alliance

Image credit: Pixabay

Continental Airlines today announced intentions to move from its current alliance with SkyTeam to the Star Alliance (which includes United, Lufthansa, and Air Canada, among others):

Continental Airlines today announced that it intends to transition into the Star Alliance from the SkyTeam alliance as a result of a review that was conducted following the Delta-Northwest merger announcement.

For the time being, the Continental/SkyTeam relationships are business-as-usual. Continental is committed to making this transition in a very customer-friendly manner. There will be a significant transition period, including regulatory approvals, for Continental to move from one alliance to another. Until further notice, OnePass members can continue to earn and redeem miles on SkyTeam airlines and SkyTeam lounge reciprocity continues as usual for SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on international SkyTeam itineraries.

The change in alliances will allow Continental’s customers to benefit from the larger Star Alliance network, which has truly global coverage including 20 airlines. Continental’s customers can continue with all of their travel plans as they exist today, and no changes to OnePass accounts are necessary. In the future, after a transition period that we expect will last at least a year, OnePass members will start to have reciprocity for earning/redeeming miles on other Star Alliance airlines and the SkyTeam reciprocity will end. In addition, Continental’s Platinum Elite members traveling on international Star Alliance itineraries will have access to Star Alliance lounges at a future, yet-to-be-determined date. In the U.S., Continental intends to code-share with United Airlines, a primary member of the Star Alliance, and code-sharing with Delta and Northwest will be phased out. We will communicate further details once they are confirmed.

Further information about the Star Alliance is available at In addition, a complete news release on Continental’s Star Alliance announcement on this subject is available at

The initial reaction of this CO frequent flier is that this is about the best option for Continental in the current environment. I have no problems with SkyTeam, but I like the routes/associations gained through an association with Star Alliance, and either of those two is preferable (in my view) to the mating with OneWorld (AA/BA) that had been tossed out. The alliance allows access to some nice routes, while avoiding the headaches of a merger (United may be too problematic even for Continental’s superior management to sort out). The devil is in the details, of course: How reciprocal will elite recognition be? Will Continental’s popular OnePass program be watered down as a result? And what will happen to upgrade and reward availability?

As one might expect, the FlyerTalk forums are already burning up over this news.

BLOGVERSATION: Houston Departures.

(Old) Forum Comments (2)

About Kevin Whited 4306 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX