Steve Rothstein is a frequent flier of American Airlines, before they took his unlimited lifetime ticket away.
Steve Rothstein purchased an unlimited lifetime airpass from American Airlines for $250,000 plus a companion ticket for an additional $150,000 in 1987. A total of 66 people made the $350,000 purchase for the unlimited lifetime air pass when American Airlines was having financial problems in 1987. They were wanting to get some instant cash by offering the lifetime pass.
In which now, they are reviewing its AAirpass program to find ways to terminate the 66 lifetime contracts. They say it’s costing the company millions of dollars a year.
Since 1987, Steven Rothstein has flown nearly 40 million miles, all on American Airlines’ dime. Rothstein told ABC News, “I would put in little pins when I went to places. Here’s Zurich. Frankfort. Munich. France. All places that I went to dozens and dozens of times. London. Probably five or six hundred trips in my lifetime. My shampoo all came from London for the last 30 years.”
He has flown more than 10 million miles and 10,000 flights. He used his power to fly hopeless strangers home, a friend to the Louvre, and a priest to Rome to meet the pope. Because of the AAirpass, his daughter went to boarding school in Switzerland. He was able to take his son to dozens of sporting events nationwide including the Yankees-Mets Subway Series.
He traveled 18 times in July 2004 alone, flying to Nova Scotia, Maine, London, Los Angeles and Denver. Some days he would fly to Providence, RI, just for his favorite baloney-and-Swiss-cheese melt from a place called Geoff’s. “A very fun Saturday would be to wake up early and fly to Detroit, rent a car and go to Ontario, have lunch and spend $50 or $100 buying Canadian things,” Rothstein said. All in time to be back for dinner with his wife and friends.
On December 13, 2008, Steve Rothstein checked in at Chicago O’Hare International Airport with a friend, a policeman hoping to return to his native Bosnia when AA accused him of fraud and snatched his bottomless boarding pass. An AA employee gave him a letter saying his pass had been terminated due to fraudulent activity. He was booking flights under fake names such as “Bag Rothstein” if he didn’t know who his companion would be for that day.
“I feel betrayed,” Steven Rothstein said, adding that he helped sell AAirpasses to firms and spoke at the carrier’s events. “They took away my hobby and my life. They essentially destroyed my persona.”
Steve Rothstein filed a lawsuit and a federal judge in Illinois ruled against him for booking under phony names. The case is now being appealed.
“Our country is almost captive to big companies who have incredible power to do whatever they want to do. It’s hard to fight them. AA signed a contract and a contract’s a contract,” Steven Rothstein told New York Post.
So what about the other 66 people that had the unlimited lifetime passes? Well, another AAirpass Jacques Vroom is also suing the airline.
In a statement to ABC News, American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Sanderson says cases like Rothstein’s and Vroom’s are an “extremely small percentage of our overall AAirpass accounts, but fraudulent activity costs all of our customers money.”
Steve Rothstein’s American Airline’s AAirpass program since 1987:
* 10,000: Number of flights
* 10 million: Miles traveled
* 40 million: Frequent-flier miles earned
* 500: Trips to England
* 70: Trips Australia
* 120: Tokyo flights
* $21 million: Cost of the flights to American Airlines
* $250,000: What Rothstein paid for his AAirpass in 1987
* $3 million: Cost of an AAirpass in 2004, the last year it was offered
* 0: Number that sold that year