Due to the elegant simplicity of 1+1=2, you'd think the world would have an easy time combining things. But there are so many things out there that when combined, do not equal something simple and harmonious, but rather something that doesn't = 1+1:
1) Democrats and Republicans
2) Macs and PCs
3) Anthony Weiner and Twitter
4) Bleach and Ammonia
4) United and Continental
The merger of United and Continental is like picking up your calculator, putting in 1+1 and upon pressing the = sign, the calculator bursting into flames and despair, and then a skeleton with a hammer appears and rearranges your house in a way that makes everything just look so morose and stupid, then a golden chest appears at your door step filled with mysteries and excitement but the skeleton has the key and there just is no reasoning with him because he lacks both a central nervous system and vocal chords.
The merger occurred in October of 2010, it is now Shocktempber of 2012 (or something around there) and both airlines are still operating separately. Why, I just booked a trip to Florida through United's website on a Continental flight, and got a warning indicating that "the flight you just booked is a code-share flight, please make sure to check in at the right counter". Are you kidding me? Granted, the United Airline's cybernetinterwebspace site has always been as about as reliable and as dynamic as some rocks you found in a particularly dumb place, but that doesn't mean that I can't expect to book tickets on what used to be a Continental flight without being warned that I'm not flying on United!
The whole process has been very troubling, or VOUBLING™.
From the Houston Chronicle:
"We're going to have one frequent flier program, we're going to have one website, we'll actually be one airline from our customers' perspective, which is really valuable to the customers and will give them much better customer service," said Jeff Smisek, CEO of United Continental Holdings, the parent company.
Some people on the frequent flyer blogospheres that I frequent frequently while flying and sometimes while I'm dialing in frequencies on my brand new FREQUENMATRIXCOMPUTATION™ machine, have referred to Smisek as $misek - probably indicating his interest in money over customer service. I can't say I have direct experience with this, but its disheartening to hear him wax poetic about how seamless the transition is when the actual experience of navigating the two airlines during the merger has been as frustrating as trying to ride an angry dinosaur who is also on fire (for unrelated reasons).
The change will take place during the first week of March, though the company declined to specify the exact date.
This is the most frustrating bit. That means that we will have only between March of 2012 and December of 2012 to earn our miles. Thats three months short of a full year, which means we will all most likely drop down a tier in 2013 because we didn't have enough time to earn the mileage necessary to maintain our status. I'm a 1K.... i'll pause while you gasp in awe and tear at your hair and teeth trying to figure out how best to worship me........ which means I have to fly 100,000 miles (butt in seat miles, no fancy dollars for miles trash) to maintain my status, and I have less time to do in. Given that I literally earned by 100,000th mile on December 31st last year, I doubt I'll make 1K again. Thanks United, I appreciate that.