Today marks the official end of Continental Airlines after their recent merger with United Airlines. I flew my first “United” flight last August to Chicago, the new home of the merged airline.
The merger was a big blow to some Houstonians. Locally, we took great pride in our hometown airline, enjoying premium service and the general satisfaction that comes from being home to any Fortune 500 company. When news of the merger started to be revealed, many Houstonians, including myself, expected the new United to call Houston home. Houston presented a better geographic location with the emergence of Central and Souther America as an air travel market.
But that was not to be.
Instead of being home to the world’s largest airline, Houston had to settle for being the largest hub in that airline.
Over the last year, as United and Continental consummated their merger, I continue to hear people say they are flying to destinations around the world via Intercontinental Airport. When the question of which airline is asked, their answer is always Continental.
I am not sure how long it will take for Houstonians to start identifying with United Airlines, but I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon. Houstonians are going to miss Continental Airlines, and it will be a long time before we forget our old friend at Intercontinental Airport.