"vortex realm world of a father who treated an airplane like a bus"
July 24, 2019 10:59 AM   Subscribe

The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket "My dad was one of the only people with a good-for-life, go-anywhere American Airlines pass. Then they took it away. This is the true story of having—and losing—a superpower." by Caroline Rothstein
posted by readinghippo (52 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, on one hand he pretty clearly violated some of the terms and conditions. On the other hand, [censored] American Airlines.
posted by yhbc at 11:27 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


i am delighted to learn that another lifetime pass holder was apparently named Jacques Vroom.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:32 AM on July 24 [50 favorites]


Oh, this was excellently told. I had heard of the AAirpass and have often daydreamed about what unlimited flight would change in my life.

I got on my first airplane when I was 10 (American, to Hawaii) to visit my dad. I flew with my little brother. I still remember the first time I set foot in LAX and realized that from that location, I could be anywhere in the world within a day. As an adult, I'm one of the only people I know with a genuine love for LAX - to this day I'd rather fly to it from my home in the Midwest and drive 3 hours in traffic than have a 45 minute layover to fly into a closer airport.

I went to school in Europe in 2005/2006 and by that age I was a seasoned traveler and had firm opinions about airlines and flying, so I always took Virgin from LA to London and then hoppers to whatever city was my final destination. By the time I left school, I had grown familiar with the staff on both ends of the LA-London route, the customs agents, the desk agents, the flight attendants. I understand exactly that sense of community she writes that her father experienced. When I got the call in Greece that my mom was entering hospice, I called Virgin in tears to see if I could move my flight up to be with her sooner, and the agent who answered the phone recognized my name (I would have recognized her too, if I'd seen her face). She was so kind, and she made sure I made it home in less than 20 hours, and I've never forgotten it.

I wasn't a jetsetter, just an art student with some loyalty to an airline that had first flown me across the Atlantic in 1997 on a nearly empty flight. But I felt cared for, and catered to, and safe, and I think that must be what it feels like to have so much privilege.
posted by annathea at 11:33 AM on July 24 [27 favorites]


I feel like the family's position is that American Airlines didn't really do much oversight until they realized how much money they were "losing" and wanted to shut down every airpass. It's not a tragedy, but it sucks! I was surprised to hear that they were still flying American. I'd probably stop flying an airline if my family was engaged in years of legal battles with it...

I loathe American Airlines because our family's most racist experiences have always come from AA staff. (But I understand a lot of people have had their most racist interactions with other airlines, so...)
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:37 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


That was a riveting read—thank you for posting it. I really did not think I’d feel such a pang for a wealthy man who worked for Bear Stearns and could spend half a million dollars on two lifetime first class airline passes. But I definitely did. It didn’t hurt that he was so generous with his companion passes—I got a little choked up reading some of the cases of people he helped.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:53 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


On January 13, 1998, American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall wrote my father a letter after they’d seen each other on the Concorde (a transatlantic supersonic aircraft, which traveled twice the speed of sound, and operated from 1976 to 2003; I flew it once).

Now that makes me feel old. Having to explain what Concorde was.
posted by Devonian at 11:54 AM on July 24 [37 favorites]


Well I felt sorry for him until the end, "of the 3,009 flight segments Dad booked for himself from May 2005 to December 2008, he either canceled or was considered a “no-show” for 84 percent of those reservations." We later found out that he would call up AA as a therapy hotline and then order tickets he clearly had no intention to use. Their argument that AA should have notified them they were out of compliance rings false too, that's a courtesy at best.

There was nothing in the excerpts in the contract of what percent of no-shows constitute fraud but 84% is pretty extraordinary. I wonder what his no-show rate was in the past and if during his depression it shot up? There's a fine line between being generous with your AA Pass and using it to cultivate friends, which it sounds like he was using it for.

First class domestic is cheap, but international can easily be $10k+. I can see where this would have got out of hand quickly.
posted by geoff. at 12:04 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Now that makes me feel old. Having to explain what Concorde was.

Fun fact, the youngest person to have walked on the Moon is now *checks notes* 73.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:05 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


There was nothing in the excerpts in the contract of what percent of no-shows constitute fraud but 84% is pretty extraordinary.

I don't know that no-showing constitutes fraud, though. If you want to take a flight, and then you no-show it, it's not a fraudulent use of a ticket. Fraudulent use of a ticket in my view would be giving it to someone else. American made a bad deal, and they should have stuck with it.
posted by corb at 12:07 PM on July 24 [15 favorites]


Interesting read, thanks for posting! I had read a little about him, but getting the first-hand account brings another dimension to it.

Searching for other stories from AAirPass holders, I found a public radio program, The Story, had an extended interview with him in 2012:
here

It's a shame the article didn't talk at all about the environmental impact of all that traveling.
posted by typical npr listener at 12:18 PM on July 24 [10 favorites]


We later found out that he would call up AA as a therapy hotline and then order tickets he clearly had no intention to use.

I feel bad for the guy considering what happened to his family, but this is a clear case of “Sir, this is a Wendy’s.” Customer service isn’t your therapist. I’ve spent a lot on Nintendo products in my life but I don’t call their 800 number to talk things out in my personal life when tragedy strikes.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:24 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


What a complete bunch of entitled dickheads, profligate overconsumption of the earth’s resources is his “identity”, is it? I liked the story when I first heard it years ago, but times have changed. This is a story of how some humans will extend their privilege infinitely if they can externalize and impose the costs on others. Fuck him and every one of his genes.
posted by bookbook at 12:31 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


I had such mixed emotions about this. On one hand, it does feel like American invented a violation on the fly to eliminate his ticket. Everything he did and every flight he took was with the active involvement of American; they could have, at any point, given him guidance that what he was doing was abusing the rules.

On the other hand, I keep reading this as a Zeroeth World Problem. He bought a first class ticket for $250,000 ($563,694.98 in 2019 dollars), then another $150,000 in 1989 ($309,850.40 today) for a companion ticket. So, he spent almost a million bucks, by today's standards, to be able to fly at his whim (and that's ignoring his personal carbon footprint that resulted).

I land on him being screwed by American, but not over something I can get too worked up about.

There was nothing in the excerpts in the contract of what percent of no-shows constitute fraud but 84% is pretty extraordinary.

Not having seen the contract, I'm struggling to see how no-show constitutes fraud. Unless I have a refundable ticket, if I don't show for a flight, they have my money--the best I can hope for is working out some sort of change fee to apply the money elsewhere. They can sell the seat to a standby customer, upgrade someone who has the miles (and take care of a debt on their books), or something else.

I suppose you can argue for a refundable ticket (or in the case of this pass), there is an opportunity cost: they refund my money, and there is the opportunity cost of a full fare from someone else.

Basically, absent a clear definition in the contract, the case for fraud is, to me, unclear.

I was surprised to hear that they were still flying American.

I'm not.

Air travel isn't like almost any other business. When looking for a flight, in order, I look at:
  • Start/End Locations*
  • Dates/Times
  • Price
  • Number of Stops
  • Baggage Fees
Basically, to avoid a particular airline, often you may pay more, have a less convenient schedule, have more connections, or all of thee above. It may just be that to get where they want to go with the least hassle, American is the best choice.

My personal airline-of-hate is United, as they have all sorts of hidden fees ("You bought economy. If you want a carry-on, you need Economy Plus. You also need that if you want to ensure you'll sit with your child...").

I feel bad for the guy considering what happened to his family, but this is a clear case of “Sir, this is a Wendy’s.” Customer service isn’t your therapist. I’ve spent a lot on Nintendo products in my life but I don’t call their 800 number to talk things out in my personal life when tragedy strikes.

The difference, one that was made early on, is that over the course of the first two decades of this pass, he developed a tight connection to many at American, Lorraine in particular. They talked a lot, he sent them mementos, and some attended a family funeral.

In practice, he probably crossed a line, and "nice" would have been Lorraine or someone recognizing this and guiding him to proper help. But I wouldn't regard it as the same thing as calling Nintendo.

*In Cincinnati, it's not uncommon to save half or more by driving an hour or two.
posted by MrGuilt at 12:35 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


(Also I don't believe American lost a ton of money to this guy's ghost seats or whatever. Until recently, airlines were bad at booking full flights. Unless he was booking a ghost seat every week on NY-LA or NY-London, those first class cabins were mostly empty. It doesn't surprise me that American decided to go after him at a point when the entire industry was trying to get better at reaching full capacity and hawking premium upgrades.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:36 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


It's a shame the article didn't talk at all about the environmental impact of all that traveling.

Yes, that thought definitely crossed my mind more than once as I read the article.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:41 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


vroom!
posted by poffin boffin at 12:42 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


It's a shame the article didn't talk at all about the environmental impact of all that traveling.

I'd be more surprised if it did; it would be a pretty serious self-indictment, and indictment of the author's father.
posted by supercres at 1:01 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


That 84% number on cancellations and no-shows is pretty damning, but it's worth noting that he later describes booking a ticket one day and cancelling it the next. It doesn't say how many times he actually no-showed a flight, and holding a first class ticket for less than 24 hours is barely inconveniencing the airline. So, if that's 83% booking/cancelling and 1% no-showing, that's a lot different than no-showing 50%+ of his booked flights.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:26 PM on July 24 [10 favorites]


I made what I like to think is a good-faith effort to read the actual words in the article rather than just CARBON FOOTPRINT over and over. But then I got to:
“After they told me not to buy an empty seat they knew that I was in a huge depression in the actual MEDICAL SENSE. IT WAS A SERIOUS DEPRESSION. I was incoherent, crying several times daily, drinking liquor which I never did before and if I got in a seat I didn’t want to explain why I was crying to anyone.” So he wanted it empty. He wanted to be alone, just as had always been his booking practice on many airlines, even well before the AAirpass days. He liked his space. He liked access to bringing extra carry-on bags. He liked some privacy.
So, you have unlimited travel in first class. And you're reduced to a whimpering husk because you might have to enjoy this unparalleled luxury adjacent to another human being?

That pushes it well over the "fuck that guy" event horizon.
posted by sourcequench at 1:32 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


You can be angry and empathetic at the same time. I do it frequently.
posted by amtho at 1:53 PM on July 24 [32 favorites]


So, you have unlimited travel in first class. And you're reduced to a whimpering husk because you might have to enjoy this unparalleled luxury adjacent to another human being?

That pushes it well over the "fuck that guy" event horizon.

I think that's a pretty harsh take when you consider that the dude's 15 year old son was killed in a freak accident shortly before this time. He wasn't wanting an empty seat because he couldn't deal with the plebes, he was wanting an empty seat because he was getting drunk to deal with the pain of an epic loss and didn't want to explain to a rando why he was sobbing at 9 am on a flight.

It's not the best or healthiest way to deal with grief, but damn, we all make some epically stupid decisions in the fog of loss.
posted by teleri025 at 1:54 PM on July 24 [37 favorites]


To the tune of “On the road again,” b/w “Bloody Mary morning.”
posted by spitbull at 1:57 PM on July 24


What a complete bunch of entitled dickheads, profligate overconsumption of the earth’s resources is his “identity”, is it?

Still has to be less than basically any owner of a private jet, no? It's not as if they were chartering the planes just for him.

I also don't think that one passage really says that he was depressed because he couldn't reserve an empty seat. I'm pretty sure it's trying to say that he wanted to reserve an empty seat because he was depressed.

I don't actually find it very easy to sympathize with him either because it's just - clearly he got quite a run out of it, and I like to think I would be more equanimous about something like that coming to an end. And there's a lot about his behavior that's odd in a way that's not entirely likable. But it's also a story in which his antagonist is more-or-less in on most of the less socially and environmentally defensible aspects. And it seems like a big part of why he took the cancellation so personally was that he felt like he was always operating via personal relationships with the people at AA, with their approval, when suddenly some bean-counter from another department came in and shut him out without a thought.
posted by atoxyl at 2:49 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


What a complete bunch of entitled dickheads, profligate overconsumption of the earth’s resources is his “identity”, is it?

That was my first thought too, but then I realised he was costing an airline millions of dollars (I make it about 5 million over 21 years) at a time when they were facing bankruptcy. Climate change protesters could only dream of sticking such a knife into a business that's based on polluting the atmosphere.
posted by Lanark at 2:51 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I thought the story walked a pretty narrow line in making Steven simultaneously a dashing free spirit, a slick operator gaming the system, a heartbreakingly bereaved father, an entitled one-percenter generating more CO2 than any fifty of us will, and a cosmopolitan Mad Men archetype.

The airline’s handling of this will probably be a literal textbook case, but not in the column they hoped for.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:55 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


i found it to be a beautifully written and engaging article. the only thing that really got me was that the dude didn't seem to have any appreciation for what he was able to accomplish on that pass for so many years, and he certainly got more value out of it than the initial sticker price.
it seems to me that someone that upbeat and that worldly should have a more balanced perspective, but i have not experienced the type of loss that he had, and due to timing, the loss of his son and the aairpass situation were kind of bundled together (and layer in the separation on top of that).
posted by rude.boy at 3:10 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


> I also don't think that one passage really says that he was depressed because he
> couldn't reserve an empty seat. I'm pretty sure it's trying to say that he wanted to
> reserve an empty seat because he was depressed.

I definitely read it the former way prior to posting my comment, and on review I can see your point.

The latter is definitely a more charitable interpretation, and paints the subject in a better light.

On the gripping hand, he can still go straight to the back of the empathy line, behind everyone who's dealing with intense personal tragedy but who doesn't get to sit in a recliner in the sky being waited on hand and foot while they do so.
posted by sourcequench at 3:11 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The empathy doesn't benefit him.
posted by amtho at 4:07 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


And you're reduced to a whimpering husk because you might have to enjoy this unparalleled luxury adjacent to another human being?

I think the sentence was badly phrased but it seems he’s in a depression because of his son’s death and his divorce, and not because they told him to stop booking a seat. It’s just that they told him to stop while he was depressed.

Also the blame for environmental impact from air travel rests squarely on the company and not on its customers. I don’t think American put any more planes in the air than it was already flying because of this guy.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:14 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I think zeroeth world problem, as mentioned above, is about as succinct a way of nailing this as can be voiced. I wonder if the author can even see how much, how very much, privilege is documented here.
posted by maxwelton at 4:15 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


It's pretty hard to see your own privilege. One could suggest the editor might have fallen down a bit on the job here.

I had two reactions. One was to realize what a horror story Up In The Air would have been if Clooney's character had had kids. The parts where the mom was so insistent that her spouse was there really hit me, in that the entire family restructured around this obsession. Very few people's obsessions are so elite but lately it keeps hitting me over and over that it's such a human problem, how to balance family and personal goals, and yet it's so often a particular sort of man who just...doesn't, and gets lionized for his freakish commitments to other things, even by his wife and kids. And...maybe it's true that it was all kind of great for them, I dunno.

The second was that really, can you get more of a modern fable than an elite stockbroker who buys a lifetime corporate pass to a particular sort of weird freedom, and then has his ticket to freedom removed by...financial analysts in a company? I mean, this is like, better than Oedipus Rex.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:08 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


The article doesn't really delve into this too much, but American's bankruptcy almost certainly contributed to the guy losing his lawsuit.
it's worth noting that he later describes booking a ticket one day and cancelling it the next
The industry generally calls this a void rather than a cancellation (although I don't know how the terminology would have worked for AAPass holders), so it's possible that those instances weren't even covered by that 84% figure. You can, um... definitely get in trouble with an airline for voiding an excessive number of tickets. It would not have been unreasonable for American to have banned him or charged a service fee for all those cancellations.
posted by schmod at 5:17 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


It's a shame the article didn't talk at all about the environmental impact of all that traveling.

What impact? The plane flies with or without him.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:43 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


It would not have been unreasonable for American to have banned him or charged a service fee for all those cancellations.

I would entirely agree with you if they had started with a warning. "Hey, you have been booking and cancelling a lot of tickets and that's not really the intent of this program. We're going to start charging you X/If you continue to do that, we will cancel your pass after Y more cancellations." is all it would have taken to set the groundwork for this in a fair, appropriate way. But to let him do that for years and then just abruptly cancel, well, I'm fairly surprised the courts let them get away with that.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:56 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I will pay thousands per year for the right to get on any train anywhere in the world any time I want. I don't need luggage, I'll just have a backpack, and I don't need a seat, I'll just crouch in the doorway and hold on or something, and sit when there's a free seat. I'll be quiet and won't call customer service, and I won't spill drinks on anyone.

Instead, I have to pay per use and schedule things, but this mook got to fly around and act like a drunk hobo. Why.
posted by saysthis at 6:17 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Especially given that he always booked with an agent, he should have been given an ultimatum rather than a sudden cut-off. I don't think that anyone's entitled to sort of thing, but AA did sell the pass.

It was a gamble they took. There are myriad programs that expect that you'll spend more than you'll cost the company. If they can't afford someone taking advantage of it, they shouldn't offer it. The only thing I hate more than an entitled rich person is an entitled corporation.

The data was there. They should have known he was calling often and spending an hour to book flights. They had all they needed to tell him to cut it out and use the program "as intended," or perhaps charge for voids/cancelations above some threshold.

Maybe he wasn't entitled to the damages he requested, but being left with nothing at all is bullshit too.
posted by explosion at 9:08 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


I feel for him. Whether or not flying all over the world was ridiculous/wasteful, it was a secure part of his identity, that was suddenly taken from him (just as part of his fatherhood had already been taken from him). And assuming he’s not lying about the conditions of the contracts, it sounds like the pass was revoked unfairly. By a company that felt like family, no less.

Zeroeth world or not, he got to experience something zen masters tell us to strive for as the pinnacle of self development, which was a sense of true abundance, leading to great generosity. How heartbreaking it would be to realize that the abundance wasn’t his after all. I hope he’s able to find another way back to that feeling, in a more sustainable way that is gentle on the earth and can’t be snatched back by anyone.
posted by mantecol at 11:17 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


What impact? The plane flies with or without him.

It turns out that there's an impact to having even one person more (or less) aboard.

In level flight, a plane is developing exactly as much lift as it weighs - otherwise it would start to climb or descend. Its engines will be developing enough thrust to equal the drag on the plane, and that drag comes from two sources: the drag of air on the aircraft itself, and so-called 'lift-induced drag' from the wings. The more lift the wings have to produce, the more lift-induced drag there is.

If a plane is carrying the weight of an additional passenger (and baggage) then it needs to be generating enough extra lift to counterbalance that weight. This results in slightly more lift-induced drag. (What actually happens is that the pilot, or these days autopilot, flies the plane with its nose ever so slightly higher, which increases lift but also increases drag). That means slightly more thrust, which means the engines are burning fuel slightly faster, which means that more fuel is burned on the journey. For that matter, the plane now has to carry slightly more fuel, which of course itself adds to the weight of the plane...

(The technical explanation is here; I recall having to work out the maths for this once! Also, I have simplified things and in practice an airliner may indeed change altitude during long flights rather than maintain purely level flight, but the point remains - more weight on board means more lift needed, means more drag, means more thrust, means more fuel consumed.)

So yes, it makes a small difference, but not an insignificant one, especially if you add up hundreds of flights.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:00 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Is there a written judgment of court available anywhere? As a lawyer I don't tend to give too much weight to any report of legal proceedings until I've seen what the court actually decided, because so often reporters or even the litigants involved don't explain it well.

I ask because as someone who practises in contract law (albeit in England) I was surprised to find that AA won on the facts as described here. 'Fraudulent' has a pretty clear (and extreme) meaning in English law, and it is hard to see what Mr Rothstein did as encompassing it. We have tended towards a fairly literal interpretation of written contracts and my understanding was that the contract law of most US states worked broadly the same way. Also, if 'summary judgment' means the same thing as it does here, then that's the court accepting that one side's case is so hopelessly weak that it has no real prospect of success at trial, which again seems an odd decision to have reached if matters are as presented here.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:10 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


It turns out that there's an impact to having even one person more (or less) aboard.

Also presumably his presence contributes to the demand for flights on some level, especially since he's got two seats in first class (!). At the same time as I said above I imagine many operators of private jets are worse.

I ask because as someone who practises in contract law (albeit in England) I was surprised to find that AA won on the facts as described here.

This is just a guess but my assumption reading the piece was that he was clearly in violation of the letter of the contract, while not believing himself to be in violation of the spirit of the contract due to the relaxed enforcement of the rules by AA employees and his compliance when asked specifically to desist from certain uses.
posted by atoxyl at 1:30 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]




atoxyl, thank you, that's very interesting. On the one hand it includes some factual information that I don't think was in the article, including that Mr Rothstein was warned about his booking habits and that there was a (quite commonplace) clause providing that he couldn't rely on previous waiver by AA of its terms if it then sought to enforce them. It also seems that he didn't respond to AA's filed evidence at one point and so was deemed to admit some of the facts that might have been in dispute. On the other hand, I can imagine the reception I'd get in an English court if I tried to argue that the intention of the parties had any bearing on the interpretation of a contract, and a party seeking to invoke 'fraudulent' behaviour would in my jurisdiction likely have to persuade the court that the Royal Brunei Airlines v Tan test for dishonesty (in effect, 'would the ordinary reasonable person consider this behaviour to be dishonest?') had been satisfied.
posted by Major Clanger at 4:11 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


How is booking two seats then turning up to travel alone so heinous when airlines literally force anyone over a certain size to do exactly that?
posted by Dysk at 4:18 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Instead, I have to pay per use and schedule things, but this mook got to fly around and act like a drunk hobo. Why.

Because American sold the pass and he paid the asking price for it?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:49 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


The unlimited AAirPass was a classic piece of bad math. It was obvious even then many people would recover the entire lifetime cost in a year or two of first- and business-class travel. What wasn't obvious to American was that between the increase in demand, the increase in sophistication in selling premium class travel, and the need to create upgrade opportunities in frequent flyer programs, that the excess first and business class inventory that made them feel like the AAirPass was free money would quickly vanish, and they'd be feeling most of the tickets used as a real debit to income.

American could easily have rejected the unlimited AAirPass's in its bankruptcy and chose not to do so. American's bankruptcy recoveries ended up being high, so rejected passholders would have received a lot of American Airlines stock in compensation, but I doubt that's what many wanted.
posted by MattD at 8:00 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I feel sorry for him because in the end he was a chump. The thing he bought got yanked away before he died, that is not not a lifetime pass, it is not what he bought.

Never believe it, "extended super bonus" is always a scam to get more $$$ out of you. "Lifetime" is meaningless in the current legal climate. Don't be a sucker, pay as you go.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:21 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


On a thematically related note: for years I worked for a membership-based organization. As well as one-year and two-year membership cards, they sold lifetime memberships.

Roughly once a week for a decade or more, I was asked by prospective purchasers how long a lifetime membership was valid for.

Occasionally I would peer at them and respond gently, “Until June 29th next year. I am so sorry.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:01 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


About half way through this story I suddenly realized that this guy spend 250K in the 80s, plus another 150K a bit after that so he could fly all over...and i realized I have been working for 20+ years saving all the money I could and I don't have 150k saved up.

Its pretty hard to feel sad for this rich guy. He and his family got to fly all over the world for decades because why? Because he had a finance job...which is really just another way of saying "screwing poor people over for large amounts of money"

At that point all the sympathy I could muster evaporated.
posted by stilgar at 1:10 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Occasionally I would peer at them and respond gently, “Until June 29th next year. I am so sorry.”

Clyde Bruckman?
posted by atoxyl at 1:46 PM on July 27


It's a shame the article didn't talk at all about the environmental impact of all that traveling.
It didn’t talk about gun control and toxic masculinity, either.
And it didn’t mention Gilgamesh, history’s greatest hero.

I thought it was pretty interesting. I imagine some guy (it was undoubtedly a guy, back then) ended up cleaning the AA executive shitters with a toothbrush In recognition of his brilliant “all you can eat ticket” idea.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:15 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


atoxyl: "Clyde Bruckman?"

Hugo Pinero.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:58 PM on July 28


It didn’t talk about gun control and toxic masculinity, either.

I believe that environmental costs are inextricably tied to travel, and an article with travel as a central theme is doing a disservice to readers (and is generally less interesting) if it ignores those costs. (I do think there is a connection to toxic masculinity that could be interesting too!) I would be happy to continue discussing, but I'm afraid this is veering off-topic -- I'll be happy to discuss over mail, but I won't be able to continue this discussion here.

I did enjoy reading the article. It is amazing to see what sort of ideas big corporations can come up with, and actually sell, without someone along the way exercising some better judgment.
posted by typical npr listener at 12:43 PM on July 29


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