wine by the color

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mark Bergsrud
Senior Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution
Continental Airlines
Houston, TX

Dear Mr. Bergsrud:

Guess who?

I was hoping I wouldn't have to write again so soon after the "Continental and United Plan Cooperation" debacle a few months ago. Alas, it was not meant to be, for you are a treasure trove of ridiculous correspondence.

Let's just jump into your latest round of good news, shall we? How about if we review your most recent salvo graph by graph...

Our OnePassĀ® members are important to us, so we are making every effort to keep you informed of some changes to our checked baggage policy and the OnePass program.

Yes, Obi Wan. Hit your important OnePass members with it...

Effective Oct. 7, 2008, customers will be charged $15 for their first checked bag when traveling on tickets purchased on or after Sept. 5, 2008, within the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.

Whoops. Houston, I think we have a problem.

Because you are an Elite member, you are exempt from paying the fee and will be allowed to check your first bag free of charge. Customers traveling with you are also exempt from the fee as long as they are traveling in the same reservation.

I notice you specify "first bag free of charge." Is that intentional, leaving the door open for you to charge for a second bag? And don't think the go-fuck-yourself message isn't clearly visible to all non-Elite travelers. I think they get it.

Also, do you all have any idea what kind of mayhem this is going to cause on flights, as people try to carry on all their possessions to avoid paying the $15 fee? Have you been on a plane recently to see the obnoxious bags people are already carrying onto planes? And they're still free!

Just today, I stepped onto a DFW-bound flight. Although I could not have been more than the 15th person to board, I could not find anywhere to store my bag in the first seven rows of the plane. And I was only carrying a backpack. It should be noted, however, that one of your flight attendants, whose diction was so poor it was impossible to understand him during announcements but that is a story for another day, stored at least two bags in the overhead compartment in first class, which I noticed because he removed or replaced something in his bags no less than eight times. With so much personal business to conduct, I'm amazed he was able to find time to deliver beverages.

I digress. Where was I...

Effective for travel on or after Jan. 1, 2009, OnePass members will earn the actual miles flown rather than a minimum of 500 miles per flight for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008. This affects base miles and Elite Qualifying Miles on flights operated by Continental* and most OnePass airline partners**.

Wow, the good news just keeps rolling. Very crafty to try to slip this in there too. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention you're no longer offering Coca-Cola beverages but will instead provide Wal-Mart brand soda? Or perhaps going this route?

Also effective for reward travel booked on or after Jan. 1, 2009, reward travel mileage requirements will increase for customers traveling between North America and Tel Aviv (TLV) and between Hawaii and Tel Aviv.

I mean, seriously. How many people are flying from Hawaii to Tel Aviv? Is that even a daily flight?

Effective for travel on or after March 1, 2009, Elite Mileage Bonuses will decrease for Platinum members from 125% to 100% and for Silver members from 50% to 25% for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008. Gold members will continue to earn 100% mileage bonuses.

Way to finish strong. A cornucopia of customer screwing. Nicely played. Most companies would have tried to minimize the damage and space such announcements apart a bit, to lessen the blow. I suppose your forthright, fuck-off approach is to be commended.

Full details of all changes can be found at


We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you soon.

Do you? How can that possibly be? If your outfit is so appreciative of my business, why is it doing everything it can to convince me that I don't want to travel on your airline any longer?

Mark Bergsrud
Sr. Vice President,
Marketing Programs and Distribution

Is this your idea of a marketing program? Aren't marketing programs typically designed to attract customers, not repel them? If so, I think this one might be missing the mark a bit.

I can't imagine how many nasty letters you get per day. Here's hoping I don't have to send you another one for a while.

Hugs & kisses,
Jersey Girl


  • At 9/20/2008 1:03 PM, Blogger zip1010 said…

    This one's a gem. I hope you are really sending these.

  • At 9/22/2008 12:44 PM, Blogger zip1010 said…

    Wait a second...I just got an email from your pal Mark B. saying Continental is not going to change the 500 mile minimum policy. That was probably the easiest and least costly of the changes for them to give up, but it's a start.

    Behold, the power of WBTC! What will you ask them to change next?


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