Behind the scenes with Continental Airlines

About 5 years ago a very frequent flier made a bet with the CEO of Continental Airlines: Given the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Continental facilities, would folks pay their own way to get to the event?  The answer was a resounding yes (over 100 folks showed up the first time), and a new tradition was born.  Continental provides anyone interested with tours of their facilities and access to talk to senior executives simply for showing up.

I went to the event in November 2007 and it was phenomenal.  There were over 400 people at the event, along with a whole bunch of Continental employees – from flight attendants to gate agents to maintenance crews to the CEO – all enjoying the opportunity to geek out on travel talk.  Continental recently announced that they are hosting the event again in 2009, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

These are the tour options for the event:

  • Chelsea Kitchen 360 – See where our meals at mealtime come from! This tour gives a 360 degree insight into our kitchen operation, from inventory management to the assembly line, and everything in between. This will be our most in-depth Chelsea tour yet!
  • Flight Simulator – A classic favorite. Take over the controls of one of our multi-million dollar flight simulators and show us what you’ve got!
  • Inflight Training & Baggage Resolution – It’s an odd combination, but it works! Take a tour of the Inflight Training Center, and learn about how our Flight Attendants are trained. Then continue on to our Baggage Resolution Center, the hub of our baggage resolution operation. Left your Bose headphones on one of our flights? They’re probably here.
  • Headquarters – We’ll take you to Continental’s headquarters in downtown Houston, where you’ll visit our Executive Offices, our Systems Operation Control Center (the nerve center of Continental’s operations) and our Chelsea Test Kitchen, where all of our onboard meals are designed and simulated.
  • Maintenance – Get up close and personal with our Maintenance operation, and see everything that goes into keeping Continental’s fleet consistently clean, safe and reliable.
  • Mystery Tour! – Will it be the Bunker, or will it be something completely different? This year, it’s going to be a surprise. You’re just going to have to trust us that this will be one very cool tour!

In the week since the registration has been open over 400 people have signed up.  I highly recommend joining the group, assuming you can get to Houston.

More details about the event can be found here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.