The Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided Continental Airlines immunity from antitrust laws allowing the airline to join the Star Alliance. The Star Alliance, an airline network established in 1997 dominated by United Airlines in the United States is considered the first global airline alliance. The Star Alliance is one of the three largest airline alliances which include SkyTeam (of which Continental was affilliated with) and One World.
In addition the DOT also approved a joint venture between Continental and the Star Alliance members United, Lufthansa and Air Canada for trans-Atlantic service. However, respecting objections brought by the Justice Department, immunity would not apply to several international routes where Continental and its new partners offered overlapping service.
The advantage to the flying public: While most consider The Star Alliance a perk when collecting frequent flier miles, the true strategy of the alliance is to provide seamless air travel options worldwide via code-sharing, cross-ticketing and scheduling. At present, the Star Alliance network offers more than 17,000 daily flights to 916 destinations in 160 countries.
Impact on Denver based travelers: The impact to Denver based fliers will be negligible for those traveling within the United States. Of interest will be the expanded options for foreign travel. Continental operates a hub at Newark Liberty (EWR), a major international airport with non-stop service to Europe, Asia and Africa.For those traveling to Europe and Africa from Denver, the inclusion of Continental Airlines into the Star Alliance will open additional routing options worldwide from Denver supplementing options offered by United, DIA’s dominant carrier. Even though Continental offers non-stop service from EWR to Asia, logistically, from Denver, routes over the Pacific are more logical.
For those concerned about theor One Pass Accounts, accordinging to Continental:
Continue Earning Miles with OnePass: Continental’s OnePass members do not need to make any changes to their OnePass accounts. When the Star Alliance transition is complete, OnePass members will start to have reciprocity for earning/redeeming miles on other Star Alliance airlines.Through Oct. 24, 2009, OnePass members can continue to earn and redeem miles and make reward reservations on SkyTeam partners.
New Customer Benefits: Joining the Star Alliance will connect Continental with United and 23 other airlines around the world. Within Star, frequent flyers enjoy reciprocity with respect to both mileage accrual and redemption among the member airlines. The airlines also reciprocally recognize Elite status and provide access to the worldwide network of lounges operated by the Star Alliance airlines.
Airlines within the Star Alliance include:
Air New Zealand
South African Airways
Blue 1 (regional)
Croatia Airlines (regional)