In 1987 Steve Rothstein bought a golden ticket from American Airlines for £250,000 plus a companion ticket for £150,000 more. This granted him a lifetime of unlimited travel. It’s safe to say that he got his moneys worth as he’s now clocked up more than 10 million miles and 10,000 flights. He has, however, used his power to fly the needy around the world.
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. He says:
I felt those random acts of kindness were exactly the sorts of things that we’re meant to do as people,” he said.
He booked the flights under fake names such as “Bag Rothstein”, incase he didn’t know who his companion would be on the day – a practice the airline later used to accuse him of fraud.
On Dec. 13, 2008, he checked in at Chicago O’Hare International Airport with a friend, (a policeman hoping to return to his native Bosnia), when an AA employee gave him a letter saying his pass had been terminated due to fraudulent activity.
Rothstein says he felt betrayed, the airline had signed a contract and he exclaims ” a contract is a contract” adding that “Its hard to fight [big companies who have incredible power to do what they want] “. But that is exactly what he is doing.
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