The Real Story Behind the Man Who Had (and Lost) Unlimited First Class Flights on American Airlines

Posted in American Airlines, Domestic US, In the Air, Media

If you’re an airline enthusiast, you probably know about the American Airlines AAirpass that was first sold in the ’80s. For $250,000, you could buy a pass that entitled you to unlimited first class flights for life. FOR LIFE. One of the people who bought the pass was Steven Rothstein, a stockbroker from Chicago. In 2008, American revoked his pass, citing “fraudulent activity.” On its face, it seemed like a story about a rich guy who had abused his golden ticket. In reality, though, the story is so much deeper.

Luckily, Rothstein’s daughter Caroline became a journalist and her deep dive into what actually happened is worth your time. It’s long, but filled with wanderlust and the joy of being up in the air and what happens when the escape you’ve relied on for decades isn’t enough to get away from tragedy at home. It’s the best story I’ve read in a long time. Give it a read:


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. Found it on an AA Executive Platinum page. Would love to meet your family some day.

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