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United’s New System Goes Haywire

United’s new reservation system is officially up and running, but, as is the case with most major corporate overhauls, it’s not without its problems. After the new system went live last weekend, Continental and United flyers were hit with a series of difficulties, including flight delays swamped phone lines.

United and Continental, which merged in 2010, began using a single booking structure on Saturday, March 3. This caused technical issues with airport kiosks, which slowed down the check-in process for some travelers, reports Reuters.

Flight delays were also a factor, but the situation seems to have improved dramatically. According to Reuters, only 75 percent of United and Continental flights were taking off on time on Saturday after the new system went into effect. By Sunday, however, that number had jumped to 83.1 percent, which exceeds the airline’s on-time goal. A quick recovery.

United and Continental mileage programs also went haywire this weekend. Continental OnePass and United MileagePlus spun together along with the airlines’ booking system on Saturday. But on Saturday morning, United had posted a message on its website warning that customer mileage updates could take up to 72 hours to go through. That message has since been removed, so we can safely assume that the two programs are, at this point, functioning properly as a single system.

By now, your frequent flyer miles should be consolidated under United’s new MileagePlus program. But one can never be too cautious. Our advice? If you’re a frequent flyer with Continental or United, log on to your account and check to make sure all your ducks are in a row.

Furthermore, if you’re traveling on United or the-airline-formerly-known-as-Continental (it’s now officially operating as United) in the next few days, keep in mind that you may have some difficulty reaching a customer-service agent by phone. United currently has a travel notice posted on its new website, which reads, “We have been experiencing higher than normal call volumes for several days. … To avoid the longer hold times to speak with a Customer Service Representative, please consider using self-service options on or calling back at a later date if you are not traveling within the next 72 hours.”

Continental’s website is now defunct. It redirects to For the time being, you might still see planes with the Continental logo painted on the side, but not for long. Continental planes will eventually be rebranded with the United logo.

Have you experienced any problems flying on United or with the airline’s new booking system or mileage program?

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