I have a few minutes between this morning’s mystery tour and the Q&A session, so I wanted to provide a quick update. I had high expectations coming to the Continental Do based on the great reviews I’ve read, but frankly they haven’t done it justice. WOW is all I can say!
Last night they had a function at the Marriott, which was awesome. The highlight had to be a “Miles or no Miles” game they played three rounds of, much like “Deal or no Deal.” Those holding the suitcases (FlyerTalkers picked at random) got 5,000 OnePass miles, while the contestants could win up to 1,000,000 miles. It was just like the real show — there was a banker, the board looked real, the suitcases were real, etc. It was extremely well done. I think the most anyone won was 180,000 miles. Yeah, our contestants weren’t very good (I’m kidding).
I was given a “ticket” for the mystery tour this morning, which I was happy I got, even before I knew what it would be. I like surprises, and this was definitely no disappointment. At 7:30AM this morning we all got on buses from the various hotels, where our host told us that the “mystery tour” would be Continental 9920 with service to Houston, so obviously everyone was excited. I figured they would scale back the event a bit this year due to the economy, but Continental went all out.
We were driven to the airport, where we drove up to an internationally configured 757-200 with airstairs at both the front and the back of the aircraft. First we had to clear security (they literally had TSA agents at the airstairs, and no, we didn’t have to take off our shoes), at which point a guy from in-flight product along with the managing director of customer experience spoke.
We then boarded a 757, where we were greeted by all kinds of execs and flight attendants. There were at least eight or nine flight attendants on this flight, and apparently a few of them were from the old safety video.
Obviously the announcements were largely tongue-in-cheek if not downright hilarious at times. These flight attendants were here for more than just our safety, and it showed they were having a great time
Most middle seats stayed empty, and in each seat was a BusinessFirst blanket, pillow, and amenity kit, which we could take home.
We had two captains aboard (one would be flying each of the flights since there were two hours), one of which made an announcement explaining our flight time of one hour and that we’d be flying over San Antonio, Galveston, doing a fly-over of Hobby airport, etc.
About five minutes after take-off the flight attendants started distributing the snacks, which consisted of chocolate truffles, strawberries, danishes, etc. All of the bags had flutes, as the champagne/orange juice/mimosa service was nonstop throughout the flight. It was pretty funny, since we climbed like crazy at times to the point that flutes were falling off the tray tables, but the service continued. Best of all the VP’s/execs were serving the drinks along with the flight attendants.
Another cool aspect of the flight was that the flight deck door was open for most of the flight, so people could take pictures, ask questions, etc. As we overflew Hobby airport, there was of course a joke or two at the expense of our friends at Southwest Airlines, which made it all the more entertaining.
What an awesome, incredible, ridiculous experience. There was so much laughter, applause, and goodwill, that I almost feel like flying Continental from now on. The fact that the executives could “mingle” with the flight attendants and work happily as a team is something I could never even begin to imagine at United, unfortunately. The flight attendants will be at the function tonight as well, which is awesome.
Continental, you rock. I’ll hopefully have a ton of pictures of the whole event up by tomorrow.