recent on-air advertisers

Now Playing

News-Talk 740 KRMG
Tulsa's 24-Hour News, ...
Listen Live

Posted: 5:34 a.m. Monday, May 14, 2012

AAirpasses cost American Airlines millions

AA still paying for program which ended in 1994

  • comment(1)

American Airlines Logo
American Airlines Logo

By Dan Potter

As American Airlines fights to survive bankruptcy, details are emerging about bad decisions the airline has made over the years.

The Los Angeles Times recently dissected American's AAirpass program, begun in 1981 and ending officially in 1994.

Read the LA Times article.

In '81, the airline offered something really special to it's most elite frequent fliers: for $350,000, you could buy a pass for unlimited first-class travel for life. The pass was good for you and a companion.

Only 66 people bought the pass. But, it ended up costing the airline millions.

In 1990, the airline raised the price to $600,000 and bumped it to a just over $1,000,000 in 1993. In 2004, American offered the unlimited AAirpass one last time, in the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalogue, at  $3,000,000 plus a companion pass for $2,000,000 more.  None were sold.

Some of the pass holders have cost the airline a million dollars a year or more. 

Since 2007, American has investigated the most frequent users of the AAirpass and has revoked some AAirpasses, claiming the holders were violating terms of the deal by re-selling their use.

Notables buying the AAirpasses included baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays, America's Cup skipper Dennis Conner and computer magnate Michael Dell.

  • comment(1)