The idea of Continental teaming up with United and the rest of the Star Alliance collection of airlines has been talked about off and on for the past couple years. When Continental walked away from the merger opportunity with United things got even more interesting, as there were some very high level conversations between Continental and the OneWorld alliance as well. After reviewing their options Continental has chosen to move from the SkyTeam alliance to the Star Alliance.
This is still contingent on a number of contractual issues, not the least of which is actually getting out of all the direct agreements with all their SkyTeam partners, in terms of code-share flights, lounge access and various other arrangements. Their contracts require a minimum of 9 months following the completion of the DL/NW merger before it can really go through, so it will probably be late 2009 or more likely 1/1/2010 before this actually goes in to effect.
I generally like the partner options for Star Alliance better than those for SkyTeam. And Star has much more complete coverage of some key areas, including Oceania and SE Asia. I’m very much looking forward to some new redemption options in the coming years.
Cue the rampant speculation of benefits, partner earnings, etc.
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