Man Buys Airline Ticket That Allows Him To Fly Free Forever
Did you know that there was such a thing as an airline golden ticket? Well, not really a golden ticket, the difference being that an airline ticket will cost you - but it's worth it, as Steve Rothstein's story will teach you.
In 1987, Rothstein bought a lifetime unlimited first class American Airlines ticket for $250,000. That meant that he could fly wherever, whenever he wanted for FREE! He also bought a companion ticket for $150,000.
Rothstein flew over 10,000 flights and cost American Airlines over $21,000,000 over a period of 20 years.
From the United States, he flew to England 500 times, Tokyo 120 times and 70 times to Australia.
However, Rothstein used his golden ticket for good, not just random travel. He used his power to fly hopeless strangers home, a friend to the Louvre, and a priest to Rome to meet the pope.
He would also jump on a plane just for a baseball game - once even for a sandwich to Brown University for a baloney and swiss cheese melt from a place called Geoff's. He could just book and go, without even having to think about it! Imagine that!
Because of his golden ticket, his daughter even attended boarding school in Switzerland and he took his son to dozens of nationwide sporting events.
“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. He’d be home in time for dinner with his wife and friends.
However, he still felt the need to pay it forward. He gave away all of his 14 million air miles. If a stranded traveler was crying — such as one woman desperately trying to return to Bronxville, NY, because her children didn’t have a baby sitter — he’d offer her his companion seat.
“I felt those random acts of kindness were exactly the sorts of things that we’re meant to do as people,” he said.
“[I] became a hero at the airline,” Rothstein, 61, a Manhattan investment banker, told The Post. “I could just show up and get a seat.”
However, in December 2008 American Airlines revoked his lifetime airticket, accusing Rothstein of fraud.
Mari Chesse - Il abuse de son billet d'avion à vie avec plus de 10 mille voyages: En 1987 Steve Rothstein achè... http://t.co/K27Q23WJej— Lome Live (@lomeinlive) July 6, 2015
Rothstein was just about to board a plane with a policeman friend who was hoping to return home to his native Bosnia when an American Airlines employee gave him a letter saying his pass had been terminated due to fraudulent activity.
“I feel betrayed,” 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.”
Rothstein filed a lawsuit and a federal judge in Illinois ruled against him for booking under phony names. The case is now being appealed.
“They signed a contract, and a contract’s a contract," he said.
Steve Rothfield's impressive stats:
* 10,000: Number of flights
* 10 million: Miles traveled
* 40 million: Frequent-flier miles earned
* 500: Trips to England
* 70: Trips to 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