Continental to competitors: Your 'gas-sucking pigs' don't fly

TheStreet.com's Ted Reed writes that Continental's fiery president, Jeff Smisek, was feeling particularly ornery last week in a wide-ranging address to the Bear Stearns Global Transportation Conference in the Big Apple.

Smisek called his competitors' aircrafts "gas-sucking pigs" compared to Continental's own more efficient fleet, and he didn't stop there. "Our network competitors have frankly screwed their employees by defaulting on their pension plans and taking away wage and benefits in a very hostile manner," he says, in a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the labor misfortunes of nearly every major airline. (Continental, by comparison, kept its pension plans but still gutted its employee wages and benefits by about $500 million.)

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I've had my issues with Smisek's outspoken commentary before, but on this last point I'll give him credit: "We did not follow our competitors in a race to the bottom to achieve a crappy product...We did not take off pillows, we did not take off blankets, we did not take off meals at mealtime and we will not charge 15 bucks for an aisle seat."

Assuming exit row seats are also off the table, amen to that!

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