Tuesday, May 27th, 2008, 12:25 am
With all of the bad news in the aviation industry I’d like to talk about something positive. Continental recently launched one of the most impressive mobile sites ever: pda.continental.com
Here is the scoop on some of it’s groundbreaking features:
-Flight status that tells you the flight number of your inbound aircraft. With the inbound flight number you can have a much better idea about the chance/time of delay for your flight.
-Real-time Battlefield upgrade standby list with passenger names. This list tells you your upgrade priority rank versus every other elite member on the plane. It also tells you how many elite members have received a complimentary upgrade, and even which seat they are in. Additionally it says how many people are booked and checked into first class. It maintains privacy by only listing your first initial and the first 3 letters of your last name.
-Real-time flight standby list: What your rank is for clearing standby on a flight, and how many passengers have already cleared standby or are still on the list.
-Real-time seating maps showing the availability of every seat on the plane, including blocked seats that only a gate agent can assign.
-Boarding pass display so that you don’t need to print a boarding pass to clear security (Limited airports only at the current time)
-And many, many more features.
To illustrate how I was able to use it to my benefit:
Continental offers unlimited complementary first class upgrades for their elite members in two manners. The first is the EUA, which is an automated system that upgrades platinum members at 5 days out, gold members at 3 days out, and silver members at 1 day out.
The EUA only works if the elite member is on their own itinerary without any other passengers and only if their is availbility in “F” class at the time that the EUA runs its course.
The 2nd upgrade manner is the battlefield upgrade in which the gate agent manually processes upgrades by elite status ranking and fare purchased. On Continental the gate agent will actually get disciplined if they send out a flight with empty first class seats if there were elite members in coach!
When I flew from Ontario, CA to Cleveland after Pesach I knew from Continental’s new mobile site that “ELE. D.” I was #1 on the battlefield upgrade list. I also saw that first class was fully booked, but that one passenger hadn’t yet checked in. After I settled into my exit-row seat I took a look at the pda site and noticed that I had been upgraded to seat 1F. I waited until boarding was complete expecting to be pulled up to first class, but noone came. So, I got a flight attendant’s attention and asked to please double-check with the gate agent who should be sitting in 1F. I was settled in the comfy leather seat within 60 seconds!
It’s nice to see an airline truly empower the customer with such proprietary information in today’s day and age, and it’s one example of why Continental will survive the impending airline blood-bath…