Continental Airlines recently announced a $15 service fee for the first checked bag for certain customers who purchase economy-class tickets.    The service fee will not apply to EliteAccess customers, including those seated in First or BusinessFirst, OnePass Elite and SkyTeam Elite members, customers traveling on full-fare economy (Y) class tickets, or military personnel and their families traveling on official orders.   The policy will apply immediately for tickets purchased for destinations within the U.S., and between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada for travel commencing on or after Oct. 7.  Checked bags must meet weight and size restrictions or will be subject to additional fees. Continental’s policy for carry-on baggage remains unchanged.  OnePass Program changes were also announced for Continental’s OnePass Elite mileage bonus program where members earn bonus miles based on Elite status in addition to actual flight miles on each flight.  Effective for travel on or after March 1, 2009, Platinum Elite members will earn a 100 percent mileage bonus instead of 125 percent and Silver Elite members will earn 25 percent instead of 50 percent for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15. Bonus miles for Gold Elite members will remain unchanged at 100 percent.  Additionally, for travel on or after Jan. 1, 2009, Continental will discontinue awarding its OnePass members a minimum of 500 base miles and Elite qualifying miles on flights where the actual mileage between origin and destination is less than 500 miles. Instead, customers will earn the actual flight miles for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, for travel on or after Jan. 1, 2009.    For more information, go to www.continental.com.

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