Imagine yourself sitting on the couch flipping through tv stations and there’s nothing on, you call up your friends and realize you don’t have any, well, you say to yourself, lets get the F out of here! You look up the American Airlines flight schedule and book yourself a seat 100% free of charge! All thanks to their pass that lets you fly first-class for free for your entire lifetime.
Well, technically you can’t buy one anymore, but you could have grabbed the opportunity if it was the 1980s once again! American Airlines introduced the AAirpass in early 1980s which allowed a traveler to take unlimited first class flights as long as they are alive, for onetime payment of $250,000. To this day they still honour the tickets they sold in the 80s.
You have to consider the passes were aimed at frequent travelers who spent around a ton of money on flights during the coarse of a year. Most of the business call travellers who are on flights daily could easily repay this ticket back, and then use it during retirement to go wherever the heck they wanted. It was a great investment and enabled them to save a lot of money in the long run.
Many celebrities and rich people in USA applied for the passes including the American investor and NBA’s Dallas Mavericks co-owner Mark Cuban. The passes were highly popular but soon people began to sell them for higher prices. The prices of the passes increased to $600,000 in 1990 and even reached $1 million by 1993.
Of course, American Airlines had to cancel many of the passes and later withdraw it altogether. They also launched investigations and initiated lawsuits against customers who allegedly sold their passes or were involved in related frauds. In many of the cases, the passes were withdrawn after passengers had taken hundreds of trips, availing of the facility for themselves and even their family members.
Although these tickets are no onger around, American Airlines offers a transformed version of AAirpass for customers who spend $10,000 annually on their flights. Nothing comes free but you can enjoy standard rates on your flight bookings and get the privilege of carrying two luggage bags for free. That means you don’t end up paying $900 for a flight ticket at the last moment which would have cost $500 if booked in advance.
These new tickets shouldn’t even be compared to the AAirpass’, it’s almost an insult to do so, but I definitely have one more item on my list of “things to do if I ever travel back in time”.