Saturday, September 6, 2008

Continental Airlines Changing Elite Access Program and Charging for First Bag

Continental Airlines became the next to join the circus of U.S. air carriers charging for the first bag. Additionally the airlines will be changing its Elite Access program to be more in line with other U.S. carriers, or in other words, more useless.

The carrier joins American Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways, which instituted similar baggage fees three months ago in an attempt to offset high oil costs.

Continental is exempting its First and Business Class flyers, members of Continental’s EliteAccess program. In addition, travelers who purchased a full-fare economy ticket and military personnel and their families will not have to pay the fee.

The airline is the largest carrier at Newark Liberty International Airport, handling nearly 70% of that airport’s passenger traffic. Of the 37 million passengers that have passed through the airport over the past year, about 25 million of them flew Continental or Continental Express, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Of the four largest carriers at area airports, Continental and American charge for the first bag, while JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines so far still allow passengers to check one bag at no cost.

Continental’s announcement today also included a change to its miles bonus program. Starting next year, the airline will knock down the percentage of miles earned for Platinum and Silver Elite members. It will no longer award a minimum number of bonus miles on flights in which the actual distance traveled is less than 500 miles.

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Me, the islands and the world said...

gee, they sure are making the lives of travelers more difficult. they should have at least have given the first bag free considering their fares go up as the gas prices go up too.