This isn't the first time American Airlines has suffered financial woes. Now, the way out looks like a merger, but during a rough patch in 1987, AA tried to make up much needed cash by offering an unlimited lifetime air pass for $350,000. Again struggling, the airline is trying to pull the plugs on the pass.
Just 66 people bought the tickets, and Steve Rothstein is one of them. He's put in more than 10 million miles on 10,000 flights, earning him frequent flyer miles that he used to help friends and strangers, the Los Angeles Times first reported.
“I could go someplace and I wouldn’t even have to think about it,” he told the New York Post. “Just make the reservation and go.” On the ticket, he sent strangers home, sent a friend to the Louvre and even got a priest to Rome to meet the Pope, the Post reports.
However, in 2008 he was accused by American Airlines of fraud and had his ticket revoked, apparently because he abused the system by booking tickets under fake names. That was after an AA investigation revealed the airline was losing millions of dollars because of these unlimited passes, according to ABC News.
Rothstein is calling foul.
“A deal’s a deal. I’ve made deals in business which I’ve regretted five minutes later. But a deal’s a deal,” Rothstein told ABC.
Rothstein filed a lawsuit but a federal judge in Illinois ruled against him for booking tickets under fake names, reports New York Post, a ruling he is appealing.
An American spokesperson told ABC that this case represents an "extremely small percentage of our overall AAirpass accounts, but fraudulent activity costs all of our customers money.”
Check out what Piers Morgan has to say about it below.
Correction: The title of this article was changed to reflect the fact that Rothstein had his privileges revoked due to alleged fraud, not for flying too much.