Continental increasing service to London


Continental Airlines announced this morning that they will be increasing service between London and their Newark hub starting this summer.  The increases – up to four daily departures beginning at the end of March and five daily beginning at the end of October – will be mostly operated by the carrier’s Boeing 757-200 aircraft; one of the daily flights will remain on the 777-200s.

In addition to the increased frequencies, Continental has committed to operating all these flights with their new fully flat Business Class product, effective June 1, 2010.  It is the first time in recent memory that Continental has committed to including a specific product that only exists on a subset of its fleet on a specific route.  The carrier generally avoids such commitments since they generally cycle their planes through their route network very aggressively rather than dedicating specific planes to specific routes.  They get increased utilization from the planes but it also increases the troubles when they have mechanical issues and it prevents planes from being dedicated to routes. 

The original timeline for the new lie-flat BusinessFirst seats is actually pretty slow; the 777s and 757s aren’t scheduled to be completed until mid-to-late 2011.  But two 777s were ferried to Hong Kong – the site of the retrofits – recently increasing the speed of the deployment.  And the 757s can be cycled through the upgrade pretty quickly as well.  This is good news for passengers as it means getting the new product out into the fleet faster.  The increased service also means more options for customers who are delayed in getting to Newark on connecting flights and more opportunities for connections to London-based Star Alliance partner bmi

It is also worth noting that the increase in service is coming from Newark rather than the other potential option: Cleveland.  Continental has previously run seasonal service to London from the Hublet but that was cut at the end of last summer.  Rather than reinstating it there this year’s increase is going to Newark.  This speaks to the increased flexibility of having the 757 in Newark and to the higher demand in Newark versus that of Cleveland.  The good news for the folks there is that they have a lot of options (ORD, IAD, YYZ, YUL, etc.) that allow them to avoid connecting in Newark if they choose thanks to partners.

Here’s what the new schedule will look like:

Effective March 27, 2010, the airline’s Heathrow schedule will be as follows:

To London/Heathrow
New York/Newark CO18 9:00 a.m. 9:20 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO28 6:40 p.m. 6:45 a.m.+1 Daily 777
New York/Newark CO112 7:20 p.m. 7:40 a.m.+1 Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO110 8:00 p.m. 8:20a.m.+1 Daily 757-200

Houston CO34 3:45 p.m. 6:55 a.m.+1 Daily 777
Houston CO4 6:25 p.m. 9:35 a.m.+1 Daily 777

From London/Heathrow
New York/Newark CO29 10:25 a.m. 1:15 p.m. Daily 777
New York/Newark CO113 10:50 a.m. 1:55 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO111 12:05 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO19 6:30 p.m. 9:40 p.m. Daily 757-200

Houston CO35 8:40 a.m. 12:40 p.m. Daily 777
Houston CO5 11:40 a.m. 3:50 p.m. Daily 777

Effective Oct. 30, 2010, Continental’s Heathrow schedule will be as follows:

To London/Heathrow
New York/Newark CO18 9:00 a.m. 9:20 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO28 6:25 p.m. 6:20 a.m.+1 Daily 777
New York/Newark CO112 7:15 p.m. 7:25 a.m.+1 Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO110 9:20 p.m. 9:25 a.m.+1 Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO114 10:10 p.m. 10:15 a.m.+1 Daily 757-200

Houston CO34 3:50 p.m. 6:50 a.m.+1 Daily 777
Houston CO4 6:35 p.m. 9:35 a.m.+1 Daily 777

From London/Heathrow
New York/Newark CO115 8:40 a.m. 12:05 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO29 10:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. Daily 777
New York/Newark CO113 11:15 a.m. 2:45 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO111 12:35 p.m. 4:05 p.m. Daily 757-200
New York/Newark CO19 6:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Daily 757-200

Houston CO35 9:20 a.m. 1:40 p.m. Daily 777
Houston CO5 11:40 a.m. 4:05 p.m. Daily 777

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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.
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