An American Airlines marketing gimmick is turning into a major public relations problem for the carrier and its parent, AMR Corp., notes Grumpy Editor.
The airline, starting in 1987 and through 2004, offered a lifetime AAirpass that, with a companion ticket, allowed unlimited travel at home and abroad for $350,000. It attracted 66 people.
Now, the carrier is focusing on ways to terminate the lifetime contracts.
Steven Rothstein was one of the AA pass holders. But the airline snatched his lifetime pass, saying it was due to fraudulent activity --- booking flights under fake names if he didn’t know who his companion would be for the trips.
He filed a lawsuit but a federal judge ruled against him. The case is being appealed.
In the meantime, Rothstein has been making the media rounds, including an appearance Monday night on Fox News’ “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren. It followed an ABC News interview and a New York Post piece. In far-off Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald last Thursday picked up a lengthy Los Angeles Times story on the revoked pass saga.
Such negative news is not exactly what AMR, which filed for bankruptcy protection last November, seeks in the competitive air travel world.
As Rothstein told ABC: “AA signed a contract, and a contract’s a contract.”