Continental Airlines today is joining the Star Alliance, which includes United and 23 other carriers. Continental's migration from the SkyTeam alliance to the Star Alliance is the most significant switch since airline alliances started more than 10 years ago, according to industry observers. Analyst Darryl Jenkins notes that Continental's membership in the Star Alliance gives the carrier the "chance to be a bigger player, and also the chance to have a merger and be the biggest player."

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