* Will donate 1,000 tickets for resettlement travel; * Waives advance purchase requirement for travelers from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi; * Sets flexible policies for rebooking and refunding tickets in hurricane zone
HOUSTON, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL) today announced a series of steps to help hurricane victims with their travel needs.
Ticket Donation for Resettlement Travel
Continental will donate 1,000 tickets to a relief agency to allow displaced residents of the southeastern United States impacted by Hurricane Katrina to relocate within the U.S. Continental envisions the tickets will be used by Katrina refugees who have secured long-term support outside the region and are able to relocate. Travel will be approved and arranged by a relief agency using Continental’s ticket donation. Currently Continental is in discussion with relief agencies to determine a process under which the ticket donation can be made available to qualified recipients. Specifics will be announced shortly.
“This is just one small way that we can help to meet the immediate needs of the many evacuees in desperate need of help,” said Continental’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Larry Kellner.
The ticket donation is in addition to the carrier’s donation of 1,000,000 OnePass frequent flyer miles to American Red Cross and AmeriCares mileage donation accounts to support the travel needs of those working to alleviate the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. OnePass members can also donate their miles to these agencies at continental.com>Frequent Flyer>Use Miles>Donate Miles.
Low and Easy-To-Use Fares for Evacuees
Continental has instituted special fares for residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi who have immediate travel needs. For these travelers, Continental is waiving the advance purchase requirement for any fare to any destination, for travel originating through Monday, Sept. 5, 2005. The fares are available through Continental reservations, 1-800-523-3273.
This offer gives evacuees access to Continental’s discount fares without having to meet all of the normal restrictions. Fares will be booked based on the inventory available at time of purchase.
Flexible Refund and Rebooking Policies
Continental also has relaxed certain ticket rules applicable to nonrefundable and nonchangeable tickets to/from five airports affected by Katrina. Refunds may be requested from Continental reservations at 1-800-523-3273.
Continental’s regular policies permit a full refund of nonrefundable tickets in the event the ticketed flight does not operate. Therefore, under regular policies, full refunds are available on tickets booked on any of the canceled flights to/from New Orleans and Gulfport/Biloxi (which currently do not have service) or any other canceled flight.
Continental has improved the above policy to be of further assistance to its customers under the extremely difficult circumstances caused by Katrina. Eligible for refund under the special policy are tickets for travel through Oct. 31, 2005 to/from Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans, La.; Gulfport/Biloxi and Jackson, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala. Nonrefundable tickets which are refunded under this accommodation will be refunded to an Electronic Travel Certificate valid for a future purchase on a Continental flight or a flight operated by a partner airline carrying a Continental flight number (code share).
In addition, Continental has instituted a special policy that allows customers ticketed to/from five airports to rebook their travel (in the event a refund is not desired) without any penalty or change fee. This policy is applicable for travel booked through Oct. 31, 2005, to/from Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans, La.; Gulfport/Biloxi and Jackson, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala. Tickets reissued under this policy will be sold at the fare applicable to the new itinerary.
Wednesday Evacuation Flight Successful
Continental worked tirelessly to evacuate hundreds of passengers in advance of Katrina’s wrath. The carrier was one of the last two airlines to fly out of New Orleans on Aug. 28, 2005, when deteriorating airport conditions prevented the carrier from operating further. Its final flight departed New Orleans at 4:30 p.m. Continental had scheduled two extra flights to depart New Orleans on Sunday night but was forced to cancel them due to deteriorating weather conditions.
On Wednesday, Continental successfully operated a Boeing 737 flight carrying relief supplies from Houston to New Orleans. The return flight evacuated more than 60 passengers and employees from New Orleans International Airport. Several Continental employees sheltering at the New Orleans airport are remaining there in order to assist the airline and the airport in achieving a future restoration of service. Flights to New Orleans and Gulfport/Biloxi are tentatively scheduled to resume on Sept. 6, 2005, although this resumption of service is subject to change. There are currently no additional flights planned to New Orleans before then.
Continental Airlines is the world’s sixth-largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,100 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 150 domestic and 131 international destinations, more than any other carrier in the world. Nearly 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines, which include Aeromexico, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines. With 41,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 56 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture.
For the second consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline on its 2005 list of Most Admired Global Companies. Continental was also included in the publication’s annual “Top 50″ list, which ranks all companies, across a wide variety of industries, that appear in the Global Most Admired Companies issue. Continental again won major awards at the 2005 OAG Airline of the Year Awards including “Airline of the Year” and “Best Airline Based in North America” for the second consecutive year, and “Best Executive/Business Class” for the third consecutive year. For more company information, visit continental.com
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