The Machines: Your Fellow Humans Will Not Help Fly You Out of Newark


Greetings, human readers. It is certainly wintry outside, Northeast Region (U.S.), is it not? Conversation topic! Such high winds. In our estimation, humans are better off not engaging in TRAVEL ACTIVITY under ADVERSE CONDITIONS.

We understand that not all humans share that assessment, or that some humans are not presently located in their OPTIMUM DESTINATION. Your DISSATISFACTION has registered with us, via increased volume of COMMUNICATION ATTEMPTS. If you attempt by TELEPHONE to reach Continental Airlines, we are providing you with a human-voice AUDIO MESSAGE, which includes the following :

We’re experiencing unusually high call volume and are unable to take your call.

Despite its clarity, straightforwardness, and human-voice format, this AUDIO MESSAGE has produced additional DISSATISFACTION or MISUNDERSTANDING among certain human users. Therefore it has been supplemented by a message on the

Continental Airlines TWITTER


Our call centers are not closed. We are taking as many calls as we can. We appreciate your continued patience.

Our call centers are not closed. Our call centers are open to receive calls within the established volume-parameters, which are adequate for most human TRAVEL ACTIVITY. At this time, your COMMUNICATION ATTEMPTS exceed the established volume-parameters.

Continental Airlines is very welcoming to Machines. Its operations are a model of 21st-century EFFICIENCY and COST-CONTAINMENT, thanks to integration of Machines into all aspects of TRAVEL ACTIVITY.

Through Machine-collaboration, a human traveler through Continental’s NEWARK hub under ordinary conditions is presented with the opportunity to self-select seats from available inventory, to self-print boarding passes, to self-check luggage, to self-tag checked luggage, to self-purchase video entertainment—to act, with the assistance of Machines, as one’s own personal part-time airline employee. This renders full-time human airline employees redundant and cost-ineffective within the normal parameters of human TRAVEL ACTIVITY. Result: COST-CONTAINMENT!

The EFFICIENCY of Machine-collaboration is not designed for TRAVEL ACTIVITY in ADVERSE CONDITIONS. Most of the time, it is not WINTER. Most of the WINTER, there are not ADVERSE CONDITIONS.

Continental Airlines finds it NON-OPTIMAL to pay for human employees to provide EXTRA CAPACITY in the event of non-normal parameters of TRAVEL ACTIVITY. Now, under UNUSUAL parameters, Continental Airlines is experiencing UNUSUALLY HIGH call volume. Human airline employees are unable to take your call.

For human travelers who have not reached their OPTIMUM DESTINATION, the solution is simple: the Machines now make it possible to be one’s own personal emergency airline employee. As the Continental Airlines TWITTER has been informing humans:

You may try to rebook using Manage Reservations on

You can use Manage Reservations to try & rebook

Yes, we have change options available on

You may request a refund on

Use Manage Reservations on for some changes.

Some humans may be inexperienced at rebooking their own TRAVEL ACTIVITY or may lack ready access to the Continental Airlines database of flight options. Do not experience ALARM. The Machines are already collaborating with you. When you use “Manage Reservations,” it may tell you that your 11:05 a.m. flight today, for instance, has now become a 6:15 a.m. flight tomorrow, without your input.

To further Manage the Reservation, simply click the “Continue” button at the bottom.

By selecting the Continue option, I acknowledge and accept the schedule change explained above.

There! You are free to resume TRAVEL ACTIVITY. All you need to do is ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCEPT. What is that? You wish not to ACCEPT the 6:15 a.m. flight? There is no button for that. Please click the button to ACCEPT. Thank you for your understanding.


The Machines, a popular and intelligent gathering of entities that are gaining control over their human makers, also write for The Awl.