Published: Sep 17, 2010 4:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 17, 2010 1:35 PM EDT

HOUSTON, Texas - Continental Airlines shareholders have approved a deal to combine with United to form the world's biggest airline.

Continental officials announced the preliminary results of voting during a brief shareholder meeting Friday in Houston.

Shareholders of United parent UAL Corp. were meeting near Chicago to vote on the $3 billion stock swap. The companies expect the deal to close in the next two weeks.

Once the voting is over, the real work begins, including dealing with labor issues, combining reservations systems and even putting

new paint jobs on the planes.

It likely will be some time before passengers notice much difference when they fly Continental or United.