United Continental Holdings has unveiled a series of changes to its passenger services at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, in the first stage of a global roll-out.
New additions include self-service check-in kiosks and a range of ‘Premier Access’ airport services such as designated check-in counters, priority security screening, special Premier Access lanes and priority baggage handling for elite-level frequent flyers and premium-cabin customers.
United and Continental have also aligned check-in and boarding processes across the two carriers, with minimum check-in and boarding times for both domestic and international flights and aligned boarding procedures. The carriers’ airport lounges also now offer free Wi-Fi and the same beverage choices, including complimentary beer, spirits and house red and white wine. By late summer, both airlines will also be serving the same coffee and beer selection on domestic flights.
The airlines have also aligned customer policies, including same-day flight changes, standby requests, unaccompanied minor handling, in-cabin pet acceptance and charges for additional services. New airport signage and re-branding will be introduced at airport check-in and boarding areas, starting at Chicago.
Since merging in 2010, United and Continental are gradually progressing towards operating as a single carrier. The airlines plans to migrate to a single reservation system in the first quarter of 2012.
“The alignment of airport procedures, particularly for our most loyal customers, and the rebranding of our operations at our hometown airport are the newest visible signs of the successful integration of United and Continental,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “We are making significant progress as we create the world’s leading airline, and customers are experiencing more of these benefits as they travel.”