Continental Airlines

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Treated Poorly with a Broken Wrist
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I was treated poorly with a newly broken wrist. Below is the e-mail I sent to Continental.

Flight #co59 March 27th 9:05 A.M.
Three days before my flight home I slipped and broke my wrist. My husband Rob Wilson tried to move us to first class for the trip home there was no seats available, so we asked to be seated in the front row. We were told you had to request those at the desk before we board. I get to the boarding desk and request the front row seats they tell me they were already assigned and that the flight was full. I said how could they already be assigned when you have to request them here. I was told "They were probably given to someone who Really needed them.", I said Excuse me. He then said "Well to passengers in wheelchairs or traveling with a baby." He then actually looked and said there was one seat available in the front row. I said that would not work, I was traveling with my son and I needed his assistance for my seat-belt, opening packages, etc.. I was then told "Well that was all they had.". I then asked if I could at least have extra pillows to help support my wrist which is in a cast and still swollen. I was then told I would have to stand there and wait so that I could ask a certain cabin member, so I stood there and waited. I was told they would give me an extra pillow. As we boarded the plane the flight attendant who ended up being the one who served our drinks said "Oh your the one with the broken arm I heard about you.". We took our seats and shortly after a woman that works for Continental came on and asked the woman with the baby to move to the back section of the plane. She did this so that a family of four could sit together on the front row all adults in fine physical condition. I stopped her and said I have a problem with this. She said "What you have an aisle seat what more do you want?" I said the seats in the front row are supposed to be for passengers who need the extra room (like for my son fastening and unfastening my seat-belt). She said "they are for passengers.". I then stopped another flight attendant the one we first spoke to when we checked our bags and told her what had just happened how they moved the woman with a baby to give the seats I had requested to a family who needed no assistance. She said "I will have to see what is going on" and never came back. When we got in the air Ed made an announcement and said if you have any problems or concerns to contact him so I did. The guy that came when I pushed the button I told him I had requested extra pillows for my arm (yes after they made me stand there and wait to ask they did not give me one extra pillow)and I needed to talk to Ed he brought me back a used wrinkled pillow. He told me it was ground crew who made the decision to move people and now that we were in the air they could not move people (I did not put quotations because I can not remember exactly how he said it.)I told him I asked his flight attendants while we were on the ground and that I was going to be making a complaint about this. I also told Ed about that I did not appreciate the used pillow the other attendant had brought me and he did bring me a new pillow. They also did not bring the drink cart all the way down so that they were not bumping my arm. The flight attendant that was serving our drinks was rude at first but we were not rude back and her attitude changed and she was pleasant the rest of the flight. I appreciate the little things but the seat situation and how it was handled was inexcusable. For future training with a broken wrist you can not grasp things with your fingers, you can only use one hand. I would love it if all the attendants on the flight had one hand immobilized had to fasten their seat-belt, open the packages such as pillow, headset,& food or how about a simple trip to the restroom. They need to think about that before they treat another passenger the way I was treated.
In comparison my short flight to El Paso the flight was late and it had been a very long day of traveling BUT the flight attendant made my day when she offered to fasten my seat-belt for me.
I am typing with one hand so I hope there are not too many mistakes on here.
Thank You
Linda Wilson

Below is the non acceptable response I received. While reading this response note my husband is a Silver Elite member and our flight was on his account and disappeared after this flight, but we had copied our itinerary the night before the flight so I have proof of this. The family they moved people to seat were adults I took pictures because of the way I was being treated so I also have proof of this. They did not even address the issue of my broken wrist for which I have x-rays from Germany and the USA.

Dear Mrs. Wilson:

Thank you for contacting Continental Airlines.

I am sorry to learn of your disappointment with our services. The bulkhead seats are assigned by the gate agent on the day of departure to meet seating requests for customers with special needs.

If there are not passengers with special needs, our premium passengers can be assigned those seats, however, we cannot tell at this point exactly what occurred that the passenger with the baby was asked to move to another seat. Please know that flight attendants may work with passenger's request to reseat those with younger children together. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on what happened, however, I am glad to report your comments in detail to the appropriate management division so that we can revisit our procedures on seating.

Mrs. Wilson, I thank you for providing us with your feedback as it is always important and valuable for us. I do appreciate your business, and I regret any situation that leaves you disappointed in our service. We will be working hard to earn reports that are more favorable from you on your future Continental Airlines flights.


Customer Care Manager
Rude, offensive flight attendants
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On Friday, July 31, 2009, I was a passenger aboard Flight 48- ATL to EWR in seat 20-D on the aisle. I was appalled by the rude treatment I received from the two male flight attendants, one was very tall, and one was short, in comparison. At 10:39 I boarded the flight scheduled to leave at 11:14. The coach cabin was quite hot, and after finding my seat, (I had no carry on except my small handbag) I inquired of the steward (the shorter of the two), whether or not he believed we would indeed be able to take off as scheduled, whereupon he informed me in a very unpleasant tone that he had no idea, and that we sure couldn’t take off until I took my seat, implying that my questioning him would cause a delay in the plane’s leaving. I took my seat.

The flight was not terribly late leaving and the cabin cooled down quickly, so I was pleased and relieved. As the attendants served drinks I asked the shorter one for a can of tomato juice; when he poured a glass for me, I asked again for the whole can. Rather than saying “Sure, here you go,” or “No problem” he merely turned and glared at me and without a word set the can down on my tray table. Later, he came down the aisle shouting “turkey or ham, turkey or ham, turkey or ham….” like a vendor at a baseball game. I had no idea that Continental was still serving food and was surprised when another passenger told me they were handing out sandwiches. I was amazed at this man’s utter lack of civility; he appeared to have resented having to serve the passengers anything and the whole cabin was like the proverbial “cattle car.”

After the 13 year old girl in the middle seat and I had assisted the approximately six year old Asian girl in the window seat who spoke NO English with her snack and drink, we gathered up the refuse and consolidated it all on my tray for ease of collection. When the very tall steward came down the aisle to collect, it was all ready for him. Up to this time I had had absolutely no interaction this man. He said something to me that I did not understand and when I said “what?” he shouted “hand it to me.” I was amazed as it has always been my experience that attendants prefer to pick things up themselves in order to sort them. Incredulous, I shouted back, “You want me to hand it to you?” He replied in a most unpleasant manner, “Yes, you have to hand it to me.” Whereupon, I picked up as much of it as I could at once, and placed it firmly on top of the cart. He then said to me, “That’s assault; you have assaulted me.” I could not believe my ears and informed him at once that I most certainly had not assaulted him. He said it again, in a threatening manner. The man obviously does not understand the meaning of the word “assault.” Indeed, it would have been impossible for me to have assaulted him as I, a 65 year old woman, strapped in my seat and blocked in the seat by the service cart, had no ability to do anything but sit and be threatened by a huge (I would estimate 6’3”) and very intimidating man towering over me. The exchange ended with his threatening me that I would be “dealt with” when we landed. I was terribly frightened that he might indeed have the power to have an Air Marshall detain me.

But I am not one to be intimidated for long, and as I passed him while deplaning, I informed him that I would be waiting for him at the gate and that we would get the matter settled to which he replied, “Yes, we will; see the man in the red coat.” I stayed in the gate area for at least five minutes, but could find no such man at the gate so I went to the adjacent help station and spoke with “Frederico” explaining what had happened. Frederico went over to the gate and was gone for some time. Worried, and concerned about my husband who was waiting for me, I followed him back to the gate, where he was talking to the man in the red coat who had now appeared. They asked me the names of the flight attendants. I did not know them as they wore no name tags I could see, but I felt they would be coming off the plane soon and we could settle the matter easily as there were only two male attendants on the flight and one was short and one was very tall. That is when Frederico and the man in the red coat informed me that the flight crew had already exited the plane and left the premises. So it seems that the steward really was not worried about having been assaulted by me, but merely wanted to intimidate me and make certain that my flight was as miserable as possible. He succeeded.
Flying is difficult enough these days; it would seem to me that the very least a passenger can expect is simple courtesy. A response would be appreciated.

I got a response; a customer service person said "I am sorry for the unprofessional behavior of the flight attendants.

Not assuaged by this, I wrote again:

Mr. Vaughn,
I would like to express to you that I thought long and hard about my original complaint, weighing the inconvenience in time and energy expended in my writing it against my indignation at the way I and others on the flight were treated. Thus, rather than just dropping it as I was inclined to do and can now see I would have been better off doing, I persevered.

I was not asking for an apology from someone who had nothing to do with the situation, but truly thought it my responsibility to let the airline know what had happened and how I (and other passengers) had been treated by its employees.

Judging from you letter, it seems to me that you do not understand the seriousness of this incident. “Demonstrating an unprofessional demeanor,” as you characterized it, is hardly descriptive of the actions of the two flight attendants in question. Is it possible that you missed the part where I explained that one of the men implied that he would have me “dealt with” when we arrived? I could take such a threat to mean nothing less than he would attempt to have me arrested or at least detained for questioning. That, Mr. Vaughn, was an egregious and unwarranted action on his part. He was hostile, offensive, and threatening and succeeded in causing me a great deal of anxiety. In these times of heightened security, I well known that a passenger can be removed from a flight or detained at the end of one if he is said to have been obstreperous or unruly, and judging by the man’s basic hostility and absurd accusation that I had assaulted him, I had no doubt that he might well have accused me again whereupon the security officers would have had no choice but to detain me. I have a background in criminal law and I well known that the mere accusation of assault can, at the very least, result in detention if not criminal action. Of course I would have had no problem defending myself against such a ridiculous accusation, but the inconvenience and embarrassment of such an occurrence happening weighed heavily on me. I was in Newark to meet my husband and some friends for a long week end’s holiday.

That I do not know the names of the men seems irrelevant to me; however as I think of it, don’t flight personnel usually wear ID badges? The employees at the desk outside the gate were clearly identified by their nametags. But then Continental Airlines must surely know which of its employees were working Flight 48- Atlanta to Newark on July 31, 2009. If not I can give you a further description: one was white, about 5’ 9”, medium build, olive complexioned, Mediterranean background with dark, straight hair, brown eyes and appearing to be about 40 to 45 years old. The other man was black, medium complexioned, very tall, I would estimate 6’ 3”, athletically built, with close cropped black hair, brown eyes and I would judge in his mid to late thirties; it was he who threatened me. There was a third attendant, a woman, who was in the First Class section; I had no interaction with her.

It is all well and good for you to assure me that “management will act appropriately” and that “necessary corrective actions” will be taken by your In Flight Management team, but it is of little comfort; indeed, it seems to me to be your way of attempting to assuage my feelings and disposing of my complaint expeditiously.

Mistakes, Lying and Unethical Behavior of Continental Airlines
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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- The following occurred on my trip to Cancun and back to to San Diego. I was traveling with my boyfriend. We were supposed to leave San Diego at 6:15am on April 2nd however, due to weather conditions in Houston we were delayed. By the time we got to Houston we had missed our flight.

We were put on standby for the 2:15pm flight. It was at this time that I emailed Christopherson Travel to let them know the situation and see if they could help. I did receive a call from them once I had made it to Cancun that said that Continental was going to put my boyfriend and I on the priority list for stand by on the 2:15pm flight. This never occurred. I'm not sure who the person was that you Christopherson Travel spoke with at Continental but they did not follow through on what they told them.

My boyfriend and I were number 17 and 18 on the standby list. They called both of our names to board the flight and just as we were walking on to the plane they told us, they actually did not have two seats they only had one. My boyfriend told me to go ahead and he would do standby for the next flight so that I could make it on time to our company event. He was told at that point that he was at the top of the standby list and should be on the 3pm flight with no problem.

This is where the errors began. Continental entered into their system that my bofriend had left for Cancun and I was still in the airport. They then put my name at the bottom of the standby list. Because of this when the 3pm flight was boarding they took other standby passengers over him. They figured out their mistake on the plane manifests and told my boyfriend that if he didn't say anything about the situation they would confirm him on the 6pm flight. This was completely unethical and they said this so that no one would find out about the mistake they had made.
He finally arrived in Cancun at 9pm at night.

Then on April 5th we went to check in for our 1:30pm flight to Houston and then our connection to San Diego. At this point the person checking us in by the name of Carolina V. looked very perplexed. I asked her what the problem was and she said at first she couldn't find me on the flight but then she did and here were my tickets. I looked at my boarding passes and the one from Cancun to Houston was fine but my seat for Houston to San Diego said SBY (Standby). I asked her why I was on Standby and she said that I was going to get my seat in Houston and that I definitely had a seat.

I told her that Standby was not a seat and that my boyfriend's boarding pass had an actual seat assignment and that mine did not. She then told me that everyone who has a contract with Continental was guaranteed a seat and that I was going to be given a seat in Houston. I told her that SBY is not a confirmed seat and I felt like she was being rude to me and asked to speak with a manager. She told me there were no managers working that day. Finally I found a supervisor who was very nice and probably the most helpful out of all the Continental employees I encountered during my flights.

She explained to me that they didn't have me listed as having arrived in Cancun and that because of that my flight was canceled and she said "Yes, you are on Standby and not guaranteed a seat at all." I did let her know that the other employee had lied to me. My best guess is that she didn't want to deal with the situation and was telling me I had a seat in order to get me off her back. I think she was hoping to pass the situation off to the people in Houston to deal with. The supervisor tried to get me on another airline but everything was booked so I stayed on standby. We then called Brendan's sister who used to work for Continental and she stayed on the phone for 90 minutes to get me a seat on the flight from Houston to San Diego. She as an outside source was able to do what Continental was not willing to do for me.

We finally were on our initial descent into San Diego and one of the flight attendants walks by and I ask her if she can take my trash. She looks at me and says "I already came through with the trash bag and need to take my seat so I can't take your trash." The trash can and bags are right where the flight attendants sit, so I'm not sure what the issue was but felt that this was another negative customer service experience that occurred.

Finally we arrive in San Diego and my bag has been delayed. The person who works at the baggage claim desk told me my suitcase would be in at 9:30 and delivered around 10:30. At 10:30pm I called the baggage customer care and spoke with someone by the name of Sue. She said my bag had arrived and that it would be delivered within the next four hour window. I was up on and off waiting for my luggage until 4:30am when I called the baggage customer care again and the women that I spoke with told me that she called the delivery person and left him a message and that he would call me back. I asked the service agent if I should call back in five minutes if I don't hear from him and she said no it could take a while because he could be dropping off bags. I said that shouldn't take very long maybe a minute or two at the most.

I then told her that I had had an awful experience so far and I really needed some help getting this situation resolved. She told me at that point "It could take him a while to deliver the bags if he encounters someone like you, who isn't happy with their service." This was again another employee who was rude to me. Her name was Holly. I waited a few minutes and called back. I then spoke with someone who told me my bags wouldn't be delivered until after 8am. I asked her why I hadn't been told this information before in fact, I had been told by three separate people that my bags would be delivered last night. She had no explanation for this. I then called back at 7am and the person I spoke with someone who told me that my luggage would be delivered on the 11am delivery time and there was a 4 hour window at that point. I explained to the person that I had already been up almost all night waiting for my luggage and that I really needed them to get my luggage to me earlier than that because I had a doctor's appointment at 11:30am and couldn't miss it as I would be charged for not canceling within 24 hours. I was able to get my luggage earlier than the 11am time slot however the delivery person called me asking me to come outside and get my luggage. I went outside and he wasn't there. I called him and found out that he had the incorrect address. I gave him the correct address and received my luggage

We encountered mistake after mistake on our flights. We were also lied to and were treated poorly by several employees. I requested that they reimburse my company for the airfare and address each of these issues. As of right now nothing has been done and I am being told that most likely it won't be. This is unacceptable to me for a company to make this many errors, engage in unethical behavior, lie and treat customers poorly and still not take responsibility for their behavior.
Hidden Fees and Tax
Posted by on
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- This is an email to the I wrote after spending three frustrating days trying to reserve a ticket. The letter explains my serious complaint against Continental Airlines.

To whom it may concern:

I have been attempting to book a ticket using the "Advanced Search" option. I was looking for the lowest fare so I did not need exact dates or the +/- 3 Days option, I was/am "flexible" with my dates. I have used this option many times to review prices and to actually purchase tickets. As you know, the destinations are required and then a beginning date for travel, then a choice for the total number of days desired for the trip. I did this and the familiar grid appeared with dates and fares, noting the lowest fare in green, which were December 25-31 and then again in mid-January...$470. I clicked the price and as usual it took me to a list of flight options but with a price of $710. I spent an hour or so trying to figure out if it was me, my computer, or a rogue cookie...I called customer service and she got the same results and could not explain it but said she would notify the appropriate department. I continued this for two more days, getting a mix of prices, and all considerably higher than what said was the "lowest available fare". Now, I just hung up with a representative in your web support department and after about twenty minutes of her getting the same bizarre results, researched the issue enough to find there is a $240 International Fuel Surcharge Fee. That "fee" is over 50% of the "lowest available fare" and is NEVER mentioned or explained on the website or during the reservation process. I fully understand and expect that the $470 does not include fees and taxes so the final fare is higher...but double your "lowest available fare"? I wasted (yes, I am at fault for being so stupid but that is another email) three days checking your website, expecting the computer glitch to be fixed or frankly, some semblance of logic for the unexplained increased fares. So, now I can use what few miles I have and pay the fees for expediting the OnePass reward ticket (that fee is posted), pay the increased fare or not make the trip. I could also try American Airlines but they do not have good connection times and they have really gone down hill the past few years...(another email). I'm writing this due to two reasons, I decided at the last minute to visit my family in OKC and the price seemed fair enough, considering my timing...and I want someone, somewhere at Continental Airlines to know how disappointed I am with the online services. It has been an extremely frustrating few days that could have been avoided if this YQ tax was noted and explained on the site. I still do not have, what I feel is a logical answer to how a tax could be so much...and a flat $240, not a percentage...and hidden from a loyal flier. Plainly put, it is deception in advertising. Okay, I feel better and now I just need the tax explained to me. I can then move forward with planning my trip.

Thank you,
Their Employee's Each Have Their Own Standards And Policies
Posted by on
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Continental Airlines, flight 17031 LAX to Newark then to Lisbon-Portugal, on April 20th 2008. My flight was originally going to leave at 10:20am but the plane was late and since we (me, my boyfriend, and my parents) arrived three hours early, our plane was changed to the earliest flight, which leaves at 8:30 am. We intentionally came three hours earlier instead of two because we were bringing with us an Airsoft gun, its a sports gun (not a real one) which uses BBs like paintball guns use paintballs. About 3 days before, we looked online with their luggage policies and other information that can tell us about what's needed, or if it was OK to travel with a sports gun. For real guns the policies said that a hard case with locks, lock combinations known by owner, and let the airlines know you are carrying a gun to sign some papers and so forth.

Since it wasn't a real gun we got the hard case and locks so it can travel in a more appropriate manner, and save us some trouble at check in. We also called customer service to double check on our issue and they told us they don't see any policies about Airshot or BB guns, But that we should carry it in a hard case with our locks and just inform the people at check in. When we checked in our luggage we let them know about the sports gun we were taking (it looks like a real Pistol 9mm Glock 18C, gas). So they called the manager to seek his approval, and the old man helping us with our luggage told us it shouldn't be a problem since its not a REAL gun.

Once the manager laid eyes on it he quickly told us we cannot take the gun. Saying, and I quote, It doesn't matter if it doesn't work like a gun, Its not classified as a toy, It looks like a real gun, So I'm going to treat it like its a real gun. My boyfriend and I tried to explain to him that its not a real gun, and you cannot classify its a gun when it cannot use BULLETS. He insisted that the looks of the gun, made it a real gun, and then he told us we needed to get a permit from Portugal that its all right to travel with it. It made no sense to us, he wasn't making sense of himself either, we asked him How can we get a permit when its not a real gun? Theres no such thing. He was asking for something that didn't even exist. Also his request for a permit wasn't even on their website! even for international travel.

My father tried explaining too but his English is a bit troubled (he speaks Spanish) but the man was stubborn and rude to us, not wanting to hear us anymore and trying to dodge us by getting in the crowd and keeping order. Time was running out for us, while we were trying to think of anything, my mom was calling this number Specifically to Continentals head of customer service. They were telling us we should be able to travel with it, we told the Manager once more that we are allowed to travel with the gun. We even told him that the lady helping us on the phone can talk to him about, He refused to talk to anyone, he was telling us to call this other number which I'm sure would be agreeing with this man. We even saw him go on his computer, most likely looking for policies or anything to back him up in this situation. With short amount of time since our plane time changed to an earlier time, we had to focus on not missing the plane.

Our time was ruined, I was bitter and angry when I just wanted to enjoy the last few minutes we had with my parents. We had to leave them quickly, like 5 minutes, our goodbyes were short. I know its understandable that our airports are more strict from all our incidents in the past, But one thing is keeping the airlines safe, another is asking for something that cannot be done. Once our plane left, my father called their Customer Service and it was a man now. First he was saying that their shouldn't have been a problem, but then he changes his mind once he sees the Managers message about the gun looking real. So now Mr. Jeff M. is trying to cover himself, but why? was he wrong then? He shouldn't have to leave a note if their policies are what he says they are.

In all honesty I had faith and patience with this airline. But if they're going to be sneaky and just cover each others back for their own benefit, I find that untrusting and unreliable. All in all to this date my parents have investigated everything, even contacted the Portugal Embassy and they themselves told my parents that its fine to travel with the Airsoft gun because its not real and looks shouldn't have mattered. Also even if the airlines would insist on such a permit, the Embassy said theirs no such permit or document they can give us. Basically we could have travel with the fake gun, and all that trouble was for nothing. Its all a waste of stress, time, and breath. I wish I could have said goodbye to my parents with a better moment. I hope this comes to better use for all the people out there who have fun with Airsoft, and try to travel with their not so cheap equipment. The Airsoft gun cost us over $100 dollars, not including the magz.

So in all honesty if your traveling CO airlines your going at your own risk. Their Customer Service are unreliable and won't help you, their website is a joke because they brag about being the best when they're the worst and their policies/info doesn't apply to the policy of each their employees. Each of their employees have different info about the Airlines policies, that or CO thought them how to use them only when it benefits them... My parents are still trying to show the error CO and their manager [snip]. made. Hopefully a lawyer can help us, if not were not traveling with CO ever again!

Luggage Bumped In Favor Of Stand-by Passengers
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I am a tour co-coordinator for a Canadian tour company and have been traveling by air for over 40 years. I understand in this day and age of high demand, shortage of baggage handlers and increased security that the airlines have a challenging job when it comes to handling luggage. But also, today, we have better means of communication like inexpensive toll free numbers, bar code technology, cell phones, websites and email. I can understand that luggage can be easily misplaced – it happens. What I cannot condone is the appalling lack of communication and training that seems to be the plague of the airline industry. Considering the volume of luggage that is handled by the airlines, misplacing a piece of luggage is understandable – providing no information on its whereabouts is not. I can ship a parcel by almost any carrier and track its progress daily. Airlines for some unknown reason, have not embraced this technology and they should.

On February 13th, 2008 we boarded Continental flight 288, connecting in Houston with flight 590 to Lima Peru along with our guests for this tour. We warned them in advance to ensure that medication, spare glasses and some overnight things should be carried with them on board in the unlikely event that their luggage is delayed. The connecting flight, Continental flight #590 was not full so they took on a number of standby passengers, some of whom they accommodated by moving full-fare passengers around so they could all be seated together. Once we reached Lima, Peru, we were told that some of the luggage had to be removed from the hold because of the “weight and balance” of the aircraft. I can understand this – we all wanted to land safely. What is inexcusable, however, is that the standby passengers got their luggage – a lot of luggage actually – and two members of our tour group did not.

I have been through this many times before with other airlines so we did all of the required paperwork, noted all of the contact information and left for the hotel. As we did this, however, I noted that the baggage claim desk had a clip board with several pages of information related to misplaced luggage. I inquired and they said that luggage had also been removed from three previous flights and they were just arranging for it to be forwarded. What I did not expect is that it would all be forwarded to Miami to be sorted and shipped by freight to its original destination.

Next day I attempted to contact Continental with 1-800 number that they provided for me. This was not a toll-free number from Lima, Peru so I spent a great deal of time and money – mostly on hold – to be told that they were not sure where the luggage was at that moment. I tried the Continental web site as recommended by their representative and they had the luggage registered but had no information on its whereabouts. We had expected the luggage to arrive on the next flight but were told that luggage had been removed and not added to subsequent flights to Lima.

Knowing that the Peruvians like to take the weekend off, I started to step up my inquiries making calls to the local agent and other contacts that I had at the airport. No one could tell me what was happening and even the long distance 1-800 information people had no knowledge of where the luggage was. Finally, we got word that it had been shipped to Miami and would be forwarded to Lima the next day – still no information on the web site. Remember, we left Vancouver on Wednesday, it is now Sunday, four days later, and Continental was still unsure about when it would get to the airport in Lima and the local airport didn’t have a clue either. A pallet of luggage finally arrived from Miami just before midnight on Sunday. We were leaving for Cusco, Peru at 7:00am so I had a friend hustle over to the Airport at 4:00am to pull the luggage from the pallet and get it to the hotel in time for our domestic flight to Cusco.
There are two issues here. One is that luggage was removed indiscriminately giving the impression that Continental accommodated paying standby customers at the expense of passengers that had pre-booked and paid full fare. So while the shareholders got a nice bonus this year, the paying customers had their luggage sent to Miami to be shipped five days later by freight to the original destination.

The other issue is with communication. With all the modern technology available in today’s world of electronics, Continental failed to provide information that would have given their paying customers peace of mind. Knowing exactly what was happening with their luggage would have given great comfort to those who have had it misplaced. Every day of our inquiries were met with some vague promise of delivery that afternoon or the next day. For me, as a tour co-coordinator, just having a local number to call for updates would have relieved a lot of stress. For those at Continental’s baggage information center, having information to provide for their passengers would probably have cut the number of follow-up calls in half.

From the in-flight magazine, the smiling face of “Larry”, the CEO, invites your comments and provides three lines on a post card for the detail – hardly an endorsement for any meaningful input. On their website, the Customer First document is full of platitudes like “commitment to service”, “leader in the industry” etc. and looks like it was written by an MBA right out of college. This document claims that Continental strives to return checked bags within 24 hours but neglects to mention that, for international flights, the luggage is forwarded to Miami and then on to its original destination by freight carrier, USUALLY within five day – a bit of a stretch from 24 hours. It also fails to mention that the “toll free” numbers provided are not toll free at all when calling from outside of North America and there is no warning that you could be on hold for as long as ten minutes before getting information or the lack thereof.

In the Customer First document, they talk about full disclosure. If they are serious about full disclosure, they would disclose the possibility that their paying customers could have their luggage removed to accommodate stand-by passengers who pay more than what it costs them to freight misplaced luggage all over the globe. If you examine their Contract of Carriage document, you will discover that the Customer Care toll free at 800.WE.CARE2 is toll free from North America only, presumably they are not interested in the comments of international travelers. Through this number, you will not reach anyone that is equipped to provide information regarding Continental’s policy of dealing with delayed luggage destined for international locations.

If this were an isolated case, I would not have bothered to post this information. Since this experience, however, I have talked to friends and colleagues and discovered to my surprise that other Continental passengers have experienced the same dilemma, even within the U.S.A.
Bad customer service / Bad flight / Bad everything!
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WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA -- I have frequently visited this page and felt the need to share my horrible experience with Continental that ended today. I am a recent college grad and moved from Cleveland to South Florida. I wanted to go home for Thanksgiving, so I bought a ticket a couple of months before Thanksgiving to avoid a high price. I have a small dog that I wanted to bring home so I called Continental to bring him as an in-cabin pet. I had purchased a travel bag for him that was the exact dimensions that Continental had on their website that pets must be in. When I called on 11/15 and they said it would be a $190 dollar charge, which was fine, they checked to see if there was room (bc only a limited number of animals can fly) and they ran my credit card over the phone. They also assigned me aisle seats on my arriving and departing flights. After they ran my credit card, they told me that pets must be under 10 lbs. Well, my dog is 13 lbs, but he fit well within the specified dimensions. There is also nothing on the website about the weight limit for pets. I asked if he would be OK to fly and they said it was up to me but there was a chance he wouldn't fly. The lady was sort of rude, but I figured whatever, her job sucks so I let it go.

I thought about it for a couple days and I decided to just board my dog instead of risking it on Continental bc if we didn't get on the flight, I was going to miss Thanksgiving with my family. So I called on 11/17 and told them that I was cancelling my pet's ticket bc I thought it was too risky and I wanted to make sure I was not preventing someone else from boarding a pet. The lady was very nice, definitely elderly, and I was happy to learn they would receive the $195, although I thought it was strange they would be mailing it to me instead of putting it back on my VISA. a few more days pass and it is Tuesday 11/20 and I leave the next day. I am packing and then I think about my reserved aisle seats and hope that I didn't lose those bc I cancelled my pet's reservation. So I call Continental and speak to this nasty woman who tells me my ticket has been cancelled and they are giving me a refund and that is all she will tell me. She is incredibly rude and talks over me when I tell her that I never cancelled my ticket. All she offers to do for me is to rebook my ticket. I keep saying "No, I don't need my ticket rebooked.

I need my cancelled ticket to be reinstated". There is no way I was going to pay for another ticket two days before Thanksgiving. I ask for her manager, she puts me on hold for 15 minutes and hangs up on me. I call back and get a polite man, who tells me that he sees that I had only cancelled my pet's reservation but for some reason, my entire reservation has been cancelled. He puts me on hold to see if he can get me reinstated. After almost half an hour, he tells me the good news that my ticket has been reinstated and the $195 would be going back on my VISA. I was so happy bc I really thought I was going to get screwed by Continental. Fast forward to my flight, I of course get a middle seat bc that is all that was left when my ticket got reinstated, but I can deal. On the way back to FLorida, I sit in a two seat section and the seat next to me is empty.

This is perfect because I am exhausted. Right before takeoff, a flight attendant tells me that someone's seat is broken and she will need to sit a gentlemen in the seat next to me. I prefer aisle so I get up to let the person in and it is seriously a 400 pound man. I give the attendant a dirty look but I don't want to look like a jerk so I let the guy in. HE can't fit the divider down and he is halfway in my seat. I try to sit down, but the only way I can sit down is if I am fully turned in the aisle and even then I can feel his fat against my back. It was so uncomfortable and the attendants kept banging the drink cart in to me, but I seriously could not move in. Too make it worse, he was sweating and had body odor. I finally land and figure I will just sleep everything off. SO I wait almost two weeks for my refund (I was told I would have it in 3-7 days). I call today to see where it is. The main reservation line says that they will have to transfer me to the refund department.

The first lady says she shows it was refunded already and to call my credit card company. I say no, and she abruptly puts me on hold and then hangs up on me. I call the reservation line again to be transferred (bc I didn't write the refund line # down) and the girl tells me she cannot transfer me bc it is an 800 number and acts like a snot when I tell her I was just transferred. at this point, I am sick of these stupid Continental games so I tell her she's a moron and that it sucks to have her job, and hang up. not very mature, I know. I call the reservation line again and am transferred again to a polite girl who sees that there is a refund request in the system as of 11/17, it has just not been processed.

Of course not, why would it be? She says she will make sure it is processed today so we will see if I get it back on my visa in the next couple of weeks. But I will definitely never fly continental again after that headache.
Overbooking flights and "restricting" tickets
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HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I was very excited about the trip I had planned to LA. I had recently had a baby and it was my first break away from all the hard work that goes with a newborn and to be a part of my best friend’s wedding. I booked a flight on Continental to LAX which departed at 5:55 p.m.

At 4:26 p.m., I checked in online and was issued an eticket boarding pass. When I checked in, my advance seat assignment was no longer available and the Continental system would not allow me to select a new seat assignment. Instead, my boarding pass listed, “check in at gate”. Unfortunately, I left my eticket boarding pass on the printer. Little did I know this would prevent me from attending my best friend’s rehearsal dinner.

At 5:20, I walked up to the Continental skycap with my small roller bag and asked if there was still time to check my bag . He stated it wouldn’t be a problem checking my bag, but that I wouldn’t be getting on the flight because my ticket was “restricted”. I asked why and he said you better talk to an agent.

After unsuccessfully trying to reprint my boarding pass at the kiosk, I waited in line for a Continental ticketing agent who stated that my ticket was “restricted”. When I asked why she said I did not check in properly. I explained that I did, that it would surely be reflected in the system, and that I simply needed a reprint of my eticket boarding pass so I could continue through security to the boarding area for my seat assignment. She restated that no, because I had not been assigned a seat, my check in was incomplete and I was “restricted” from the flight. After a pointless conversation trying to understand why my ticket was “restricted” when I was issued a boarding pass an hour earlier, I implored if there were any other alternatives. She reluctantly picked up the phone, called the gate agent, and asked if they could lift the restriction. I was told no.

I then walked over to a “red coat” supervisor (Kathryn) and explained my frustration with the situation. She looked at her watch and asked me if I thought I could still make it to the gate. I became hopeful. She then tried to reprint a boarding ticket but explained that she was “locked out” because it was 15 minutes prior to departure. After another non-productive discussion trying to understand why I was being penalized for checking in online an hour and a half before the flight, she told me that the next flight at 7:15 was oversold by 15 and that she could put me at the bottom of the list. I asked why I couldn’t be put at the top of the standby list because I was still unclear what terms of my ticket I had not met that they could arbitrarily “restrict” me from flying on the full fare ticket I had paid for . She said no, that it was Continental’s policy not to put passengers ahead on the standby list – that I would be placed on the list according to the current time, approximately 5:50 (versus the original time I had checked in at 4:26). I was finally given a reprint of a boarding pass so I could continue through security.

Instead of interrupting a gate agent with my predicament, I proceeded over to the Continental Customer Service booth. I explained the entire situation to a very unsympathetic woman who reiterated that they could not give me priority on the standby list (or credit for the original 4:26 check in time that I had) and that I would have to go at the bottom of the list. I was on the verge of tears when the woman next to her, Ximena, asked if she could maybe help. She called a Beverly and confirmed for me that all my information was in their system – that I had checked in online at 4:26, that I was not issued a seat because the flight was oversold and that I tried to get a reprint of my boarding pass 30 minutes prior to departure. She then called the gate agent working the 7:15 flight and asked, “Can you squeeze one in on #47?” The answer was no, there was nothing Continental could do for me and I was relegated to missing my best friend’s rehearsal dinner.

By the time I made it over to the gate for the 7:15 flight , I heard a couple of names called on the standby list and the gate was locked down for departure. I waited several minutes and then explained my saga to another “red coat” supervisor who was working gate E20. She admitted that she could not state a specific term or policy I did not meet that justified my ticket being “restricted”. She also stated that she was “surprised” the first agent did not just override the restriction and issue me a boarding pass so I could pass through security and on over to the boarding area. My point exactly. I asked if Continental would issue me a voucher for my horrible travel experience and devastation that I had now missed a very special event in my life. She said that only the people on Continental’s “Customer Care” phone line could do that.

Ironically, my husband (at home with our children and my printed boarding pass in his hand) had already been on the phone for at least an hour with “Customer Care” who told him that Continental was justified in restricting my ticket and that I was not entitled to a voucher or any sort of compensation from them. In complete contradiction with the gate agent, they also stated that only “red coat” supervisors could issue travel vouchers if there was a problem with my travel plans.

Needless to say, the whole experience was horrible and I was devastated I had missed a very important event. When I tell this story at dinner parties and such, people always ask, “So did Continental send you a letter apologizing … a travel voucher … some air miles?” And the answer is no, they never even acknowledged the complaint. What stellar “Customer Care”.

It’s too bad United Airlines does not have a bigger presence in Houston because a few weeks later I went to check in for a United Airlines flight at one of their kiosks and the message was simple and honest, “We cannot give you a seat assignment at this time because this flight is oversold. We are requesting volunteers to make alternate travel arrangements. Please see a gate agent if you are interested.” Besides all the heartache of my travel experience with Continental, I was especially insulted by how dishonest they were with me. If you have a choice to fly, fly with an honest airline.

Don't Fly This Airline
Posted by on
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- The following is an account of my recent experience with Continental Airlines.
Dear Continental Airlines:
This charge for the change fee of $100 is the last insult that I will endure from your airline. If appropriate steps are not taken to rectify this situation, I will never utilize your airline again. Let me put in writing for you the events that occurred which led up to the charges that I incurred which I will paste at the end of this email.

I was on a continental flight from San Francisco to Newark connecting to flight 94 to Belfast Ireland on Tuesday April 17th 2007. Due to a tragic medical emergency my flight from San Francisco was diverted to Cleveland Ohio to care for the stricken passenger. I expected that I would miss my flight and that Continental would put me on another flight to Belfast. When we finally arrived at Newark International, the flight attendants told me that the Belfast flight had been held for us and that there would be a cart waiting to transport myself and another passenger to the gate. The flight attendants held all passengers from deplaning so that we could exit and there was a cart waiting to transport us. I was so impressed with the service that had been provided to both the stricken passenger and now to myself that I thought I had finally found an airline that cares about its customers. Unfortunately that was not the case.

I arrived at the gate of the Belfast flight to find that the plane was there but that the door to the gate had been closed. I tried to explain to the continental employee that I had been told that the flight had been held for us. She told me that you do not hold flights and that “once I close the door I never open it”. I said the plane has not left, can’t we please get on the flight and she then said “maybe you didn’t hear me, once the door is close it will not be opened”. I watched the plane push back for the gate flabbergasted. The Continental employee then said go to customer service at gate 130 and walked away.

I went to customer service and stood in line for 45 minutes. There were three agents handling many weather delayed passengers. At 10 PM one of the continental agents said you must all go to customer service at gate C1, we are closed. The passenger in front of me became very irate and asked if we would have the same positions in line at the customer service station at the other gate, at which point the continental employee did not respond. We (the 12 passengers still inline) asked to see a supervisor. The three customer service agents closed their kiosks and walked away with no response to us. I was flabbergasted. So I headed off to customer service at gate C1.

When I arrived at customer service there were approximately 45 customers in line. After waiting in line for 10 minutes one of the Continental employees shouted “all passengers standing behind the women holding up the paper (she was about 15 positions ahead of me) will not be helped here. We are closing when we are finished with that customer. The rest of you must go to baggage claim. I am now completely exasperated, but my adventure is just beginning.

I arrive at customer services in baggage claim and wait in line for 20 minutes and finally get to speak one on one with a Continental customer service agent. I begin to tell her how we were diverted, how I missed my flight to Ireland and asked her to assist me with rebooking my flight. She told me that they did not have computers to rebook flights in baggage claim. I then asked her why was I sent there, she told me it was to get my food and hotel voucher. I was beside myself, I have received poor treatment by airlines before, but this was beyond belief. She proceeded to provide me with the vouchers for food and accommodations at the Holiday Inn in Edison NJ. I then took the airport tram to the parking garage to catch a shuttle for the hotel. No shuttle was ever sent, it was now 12:30AM. Two other passenger and I decided to go back to the terminal and take a cab to the hotel. It turns out that Edison NJ was a $50 cab ride from the airport, I could have taken a cab to Manhattan for less money. Once at the Holiday Inn, we were finally treated well and they actually had hot food available for us to purchase with our vouchers. I do not know whether you have ever had a stressful day with only a continental coach seat chicken sandwich as your only food for the entire day, we really appreciated what the Holiday Inn provided. I highly recommend that you said your customer service agents to the Holiday Inn for training.

Now safely in my hotel room I call Continental airlines to see if I can get a flight the next day, the agent states that I am rebooked on the same flight to Belfast the next night. I ask her for my seat assignment. She say I do not have one because the flight is oversold by nine seats and they will need to accommodate those nine passengers first before they can accommodate the 12 passengers who have missed the flight of which I am one. Please keep in mind that my reason to go to Ireland is to see my godson Zack play rugby for the US under 19 national team that next evening. If I do not make that flight then I will miss his game. I ask if they can rebook me on another airline and I am told that I can only do that at customer service at the airport, they cannot rebook me over the phone onto another airline. I am in disbelief at this. I have been turned away twice by the only people that could have helped me. I asked the phone agent if there were any business or first class seats available on the flight. They said that there in only business first and that there is a seat available but that they cannot give it to me. She calls her supervisor and tells me that I can have the seat for an additional $900. Seeing my godson play was the most important thing in the world to me so I gave my credit card and purchased the upgrade. When I returned from Ireland today, I checked my email to find the upgrade charge and a charge for an additional $100 for changing my flight. Are you people out of your minds?

This is the worst experience I have ever had from any airline or service provider of any kind. I insist that you refund me the $100 change flight fee instantly, and if you ever want to have me as a customer again, I highly suggest that you credit the $900 upgrade fee as well. Please see the statement of charges below.

I can be reached at the number below and expect a swift response.

Posted by on
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- The Beginning

In late 2005 I booked two tickets from IAH to ORD on Continental using Yahoo Travel. Unfortunately, my father passed and I had to cancel the trip and was issued credits through Yahoo Travel. On June 30, 2006 I called Yahoo to rebook one ticket for my 10-year-old daughter to travel the same route but only this time alone. I told the agent up front it would be a minor child traveling alone and was told it would not be a problem. I was told the price difference would be $58.00 plus $100.00 rebooking fee and I agreed. The Yahoo agent (Jackson) at the time said he was having problems getting a confirmation number but if I would hold he could call Continental directly and obtain one for me. I agreed. After being on hold for a few minutes Jackson came back to inform me that it would be a $50.00 charge each way for the minor child traveling alone. I said that was fine and I would pay when I checked her in. I was put on hold again this time it seemed like a very long time. Since I was at work I decided to check my online banking and if the debit card I gave to buy the ticket was charged I would hang up and just obtain the information later. Much to my surprise there were several pending charges from Continental; one for $158.00, two for $100.00 each and two each for $58.20 so at this point I had no choice but to hold for the agent to return to the phone. When he did before I could relay what I saw Jackson informed me the Continental agent accidentally charged me for the two re-bookings instead of one and a credit would be issued in 24 hours. While I was unhappy about the situation, since the overcharges reduced the available funds in my checking account, I understood.

The Middle
On the following Monday, I checked my account and saw no credit but decided it would probably post at the end of the business day. The following day was July 4th so I did not bother to check. On Wednesday, 07/05/06, I checked my account and once again no credit issued and much to my dismay both $100.00 and $58.20 were posted to my checking account, which put me in an overdraft. At this point I called Continental directly to try to resolve the situation. After a series of prompts and 40 minutes of holding I finally got an agent and retold my story. This agent told me only one credit of $100.00 was issued to me since that was the only amount of the overcharge and it could be up to 6 weeks before I could see a credit appear on my account. I said that was totally unacceptable since it took far less time than that to deduct the payments plus I had proof there was more than that taken out of my account since I was looking at a printout, which my bank faxed to me. She restated it was not possible. At that point I asked to speak to a Customer Service Manager. She put me on hold briefly and came back and said the waiting period was 61 minutes. At this point I asked if the Customer Service Manager could resolve the problem or did I need to speak to someone else and I also needed to discuss the overdraft to my account. I told the Continental agent I had called my bank since the overdraft occurred and the bank told me they would fax me over something and the over draft did occur because of the charges. Your Continental Customer Service Representative told me she had been working there for twenty years and in all that time no NFS charges had ever been refunded. I said I did not care; I was pursuing this because it was not my fault. She restated the holding time and said she could not guarantee I would be able to speak to someone even after 61 minutes because of the bad weather delays across the country hence Continental agents being backed up. I then asked when was the best time to call back. She then told me normally in an hour or two but today she would suggest 9p.m. I attempted to ask if I called back at nine would there be a Customer Service Manager on duty to handle my call but before I could she cut me off and said, “Call back at nine”. We went around and round before I could finally finish my question and when I did she reassured me yes because a customer service manager was on duty 24/7. At this point I hung up. OK –I confess, slammed the phone.

The End
I did call back in the evening on Wednesday and got an agent who was polite enough to listen to my tell of woe before she pass me on to a Customer Service Manager who identified himself as Ed Andrews. He was short and very rude from the beginning and said he saw it noted in the records I refused to hold earlier when told it would be 61 minutes before I could speak to a CSM. Before I could finish saying I did not refuse he cut me off by saying the agent earlier noted when told it would be 61 minutes hold time I refused to hold. I once again said I did not refuse to hold but said I was at work and asked when was the best time to call back. Does that seem unreasonable?

Fast forwarding he did some research and discovered all the proper credits HAD NOT been issued and told me he was doing so at that time. At that point I attempted to relay the fact I felt owed a refund for my over drafts because it was Continental’s fault it occurred. However, before I could finish my sentence he cut me off and said no way was Continental responsible and it was Yahoo’s fault. I told him no because Yahoo told the Continental ticket agent it was a minor child flying along. He said no, that was not the case because he was looking at the computer (God knows that is “the” crystal ball). I said I was there and did not agree with the computer. Why would an agent inform me of the additional fee for a minor flying alone if she did not already know only to rebook only one ticket? I said I felt an honest mistake was made on the Continental side and felt the funds were due back to me from Continental. He continued to say no, it was not Continental’s policy to refund NFS charges (where have I heard that before?) and I would just have to suck it up. At that point I have to admit I lost my composure and started to scream. I felt as if I fell into the “WE SCREW U” department and was talking to the commander in charge. Yes I was livid but still tried to reiterate my point, which is: If the original agent failed to issue all proper credits, which she indicated in the computer system she did, then that would be a mistake. If she made one mistake while booking my ticket would it not be too far fetched to consider she made another? Mr. Andrews response was: “How much longer are you going to keep me on the phone talking about this?” I knew at that point I would get nowhere with this “gentleman” and decided to end the call but not before I said that during this entire ordeal not one Continental employee uttered anything similar to “Ms Johnson I am sorry for your ordeal or for the inconvenience to you.” His reply was dead silence and I hung up with the line of: “This is Customer Service? I think not!!”

I sent previously all the supporting documentation I had concerning this matter to your Customer Care department and have had no response. If the credit has been issued in a timely manner I would not incurred any NSF charges or only the first four totaling $128.00. Now I have been charges two more for $64.00 that I was told just to suck it up.

I have another un-booked ticket that I was going to used to in August but now I am seriously thinking of letting it default because I do not want to encounter this ordeal again.

I work in the travel industry and would be justly fired if I treated a client in the manner I was treated. I find the entire episode quite appalling.

Ten days later and I have received one credit of $100.00 only. I'm royally pissed and will start calling and writing again.
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