A Few Quick Ones for Thursday…Larry Ellison Buys an Airline & More

I’m back from a quick work trip to Palm Springs, and I thought I’d catch up on a few things:

– I was upgraded on 3 legs on United, but on 1 leg on an A320 I sat coach in the exit row. The exit row in coach had the most legroom of the 3 aircraft I flew on in business class (A320, 757, CRJ). Am I crazy, or is that exit row a more comfortable experience? (especially with the middle seat empty).

– Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, has purchased Island Air, which will fit in nicely with the island of Lana’i, which he also owns.

Frontier flights are no longer for sale on Expedia because the two parties cannot agree on costs.

– California Pacific, the Carlsbad-based startup that has been trying to launch for a year now, has requested an extension until March 10th from the FAA to finalize some paperwork and hire a operations director. They hope to be flying by the fall.

– United Airlines has officially canceled all 787 flights through June 5th.


  1. Three out of four on UA? Are you a 1K? I am, and the only time I got that upgrade perentage was travelling at Thanksgiving time (when almost all my fellow flyers were no status leisure travellers).

    I agree with you that an exit row — or even UA economy plus with a middle seat open — can be quite competitive with domestic first class. In the past year, I’ve been an AA Executive Platinum through status match. They give their EPs a free drink and snack/meal in coach. This seems like a brilliant marketing idea for UA, as there are obviously too few FC seats for all the high elites, and these folks would be reasonably happy with a drink and free snack in coach. So far, though, I’ve had no success convincing UA of this wisdom of matching this benefit.

    • I’m 1K, but this was an impressive ratio. I flew at 10am, 6am and 11am midweek. I think that helps.

      I don’t care much about the food/drink, but 1 interesting thing came up: woman sitting across from me up front asked (before takeoff) if she could have a snack box instead of a meal. They told her they would have to sell the boxes first and she could have what was left over. That sounded odd to me (and to her). Have you ever gotten a snack box instead of a meal in domestic first on United?

      • I keep strictly kosher, and when I’m upgraded and they don’t have a meal for me – which is always, since they don’t serve kosher meals on domestic flights – I’m pretty much always given whatever I want off the a la carte menu. Most of which isn’t kosher, either, but the Pringles, M&M’s, and cinnamon rolls are. My suggestion to UA is to make one of the snack boxes kosher. It wouldn’t be hard – half the items in the salsa one are kosher already, and there are easy kosher substitutes for the rest.

  2. Hmmm, mid-week flights. I think that’s literally “the ticket.” On a recent Thursday evening (primetime for consultants) I was still 17th on the upgrade list to IAH when the plane left (there were 50 folks still on the list in total).

    I haven’t heard about the snack-box-in-first-class thing. Maybe there’s a flyertalk thread on this. My assumption (a few years old) was that the airlines had to account for the for-sale food, and couldn’t give it away to FC passengers (who could buy it, if they wanted to). But maybe that’s changed now.

  3. Coach exit aisle can actually be better than first when a) the person in front of you leans allll the way back – they can’t lean into your space at all in an exit row or b) you’re in domestic first at the window, you want to get up, the aisle passenger falls asleep, and the person in front of them has leaned back. You’re trapped.