Continental Airlines poaches a frequent flier after Delta drops the ball


Kathleen Pierz is one happy Continental Airlines customer this morning. After a series of misunderstandings involving Delta Air Lines’ codesharing agreement with Continental, she’s been shown the ultimate courtesy.

Delta might have another word for it, though.

Here’s the situation: Last fall, Pierz booked a codeshare flight through Delta on Orbitz. When she checked in, the codesharing arrangement appeared to still be in place. It wasn’t. Continental had joined the Star Alliance a few weeks before her flight.

Then Pierz got to the airport.

I was told that Continental was no longer a code-share partner with Delta/Northwest airlines. This was the first notice I received of this change. As a result I received no mileage credit or bonus mileage, no first class upgrades, no fast check in and no other elite privileges on these six flights. Had I been aware of this change I would have never booked these flights and given up my miles (with my bonus this is nearly equal to a free ticket), my upgrades other privileges I enjoy as a long time Platinum frequent flier.

The problems didn’t end there.

In October I paid $720 when I renewed my World Club/Delta Sky Club membership in person at the World Club desk. At that time, absolutely no mention of my new inability to access Continental President’s Club facilities was made. I only discovered this fact when I was denied entry to the President’s Club in Newark on December 12th. To further add to my problems I was denied access to the Delta Sky Team Lounge at Heathrow Airport on December 18th.


I showed my new card, my boarding pass and even my Platinum Card and was told that even though I had just paid $720 for this membership I was told that I was not allowed to use it unless I was actually flying on Delta that day.

Is that any way to treat one of your best customers?

I suggested that Pierz send a brief, polite letter to both Delta and Continental, outlining her problem. She did.

Delta’s first response? A polite note to “stick it in your ear,” says Pierz. So I suggested she appeal to someone higher up.

You will be happy to know that I just got a call from a nice woman at Delta Air Lines. They are giving me full credit for the miles I flew on Continental last month. Better late than never.

Then Continental came through.

All I can say is WOW! They certainly want my business. They called to match my Platinum status from Delta and to give me full credit and elite bonuses for the London trip and the included access to the President’s club. I think this kind of unexpected service is amazing.

I am delighted. This kind of service is unheard of these days. I thought you’d like to know.

I’ve been a fan of Continental, too, recently. Although after this, I’m not sure if Delta is.

(Photo: phinalanji/Flickr Creative Commons)


Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org.

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