Yenra : Air Travel : Continental Airlines : Continental Airlines Implements New Airport Procedures, Offers Tips For Stress-Free Check-In

Continental Airlines today reaffirmed its commitment to meet strict federal requirements for checked baggage and announced changes to passenger check-in procedures at all domestic airports, including its hubs.

Effective Friday, Jan. 18, customers checking in for flights must present themselves at the gate, ready to board their flight, no later than 15 minutes prior to departure, even if they have checked in previously. Customers not in the boarding area 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure are subject to seat cancellation and non-transport of their checked baggage. Continental's Contract of Carriage has been revised to reflect this change.

"We already encourage our customers to arrive at the airport at least one hour to 90 minutes before their flight is scheduled to depart," said a Continental spokesperson. "In most cases, new check-in and gate area requirements should not cause any added inconvenience. At some of Continental's non-hub airports, though, security processing times may be as long as 2 1/2 hours; check our website for airport-specific information."

To speed check-in at all three of its domestic hubs, Continental has taken steps to reduce waiting times by significantly increasing the number of security checkpoints. In addition, the airline has bolstered its extensive network of automated check-in kiosks throughout the United States, allowing customers to check-in, obtain boarding passes and avoid lines at ticket counters.

The following tips will help ensure a stress-free airport experience:

-- Before leaving home, check the flight's status on Continental's website, continental.com, or register beforehand at the website to have e-mail notification sent to a alphanumeric pager, text-ready mobile phone or e-mail inbox.

-- Allow more than enough time to check-in and walk to the gate. Some airports may require as much as 2 1/2 hours for passenger processing. Check the website for average security processing times at major domestic airports.

-- Whenever possible, check-in and obtain boarding passes at one of Continental's 607 convenient eService Centers, available at 92 airports across the nation.

-- Remember, federal law prohibits carrying sharp or other dangerous objects, which could be used as weapons, aboard the aircraft. Pack appropriately to avoid inconvenience at security checkpoints.

-- Bring something to read and something for the children to do while waiting at security checkpoints and in the gate area.

-- Please be patient. Passengers are randomly selected for more thorough security screening at various points in the check-in process.

From Worst to First : Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback - Continental Airlines knows what "rock-bottom" means. The struggling airline company went to bankruptcy court, not once but twice, and the employees used to rip off the corporate logos from their uniforms. But, thankfully, Gordon Bethune took a gamble and decided to turn the company around--really around. Since Bethune has taken over the helm, Continental has been rated first or second in baggage handling, on-time performance, and receiving the fewest customer complaints. Employee morale and profits are way up, and the airline has been dubbed "Airline of the Year" by Air Transport World magazine. So, what's Bethune's secret? Excellent management and leadership skills, and a healthy dose of common sense.