Thursday, May 10, 2012


The ultimate frequent flyer: Air passenger who bought 'unlimited' American Airlines ticket 20 years ago clocks up 38 MILLION miles

Jack Vroom has completed enough flights to circumnavigate the world 1,600 times
American Airlines remove his 'unlimited' pass after realising it costs them $1m a year

An air passenger has staked a claim as the ultimate frequent flyer - after clocking up a staggering 38 million airmiles.

Jack Vroom made a long term investment in 1989 when he snapped up a lifetime, first class travel ticket for any global route from American Airlines for almost $500,000.

And the Texan air traveller has racked up a record amount of mileage for the two decades since thanks to his supposedly 'unlimited' air pass for himself and any companion.

But after amassing enough air miles to circumnavigate the world 1,600 times, Mr Vroom has now been grounded - after American Airlines accused him of selling his companion tickets.

Mr Vroom, 67, paid around $350,000 plus interest for the ticket 23 years ago, and at times travelled the world four times a week as he cashed in on his investment.

He would regularly take friends and family on worldwide trips as his 'companion', and even helped fly home AIDS victims to see their families thanks to his extra seat.

Mr Vroom bought the AAirpass in 1989 while working as a consultant for mail order catalogues.

He already travelled alot by plane on business and bought the pass after hearing about it from a friend.

Mr Vroom estimates that there are only around 40 people in the world who currently own the AAirpass, which the airline stopped selling in 2004.

When American Airlines calculated, however, that the AAirpass used by Mr Vroom and other frequent flyers was costing the airline around $1m a year, they grounded him over accusations of 'improper activity'

The incident in 2009 has bought to a halt years of air travel which Mr Vroom said was 'like a 9 to 5 job'.

Mr Vroom's staggering airmiles make George Clooney's, who clocks up a meagre 10 million miles in Up in the Air, look like a part-time flyer.

Mr Vroom travelled around the U.S., as well as Europe and other parts of the world, often staying at his destination for just a few hours before flying back again without spending anything.

He told CBS that during one flight he travelled to Milan just to pick up some exhaust pipes for a motorcycle.

While his son was in college in Maine, Mr Vroom flew 2,000 miles every Saturday to watch him play football.

His travel adventures have since ground to a halt following a flight back from London, where he had used his companion pass to fly his daughter's friend back to the U.S.

An American Airlines spokesperson said they still offer the lifetime pass, but have removed Mr Vrooms as they 'had issues' with him.

A spokesperson said: 'Our AAirpass program, including unrestricted, fixed-rate air travel to both domestic and international markets, is expected to remain unchanged.'

'In addition, all VIP AAirpass privileges, including complimentary Admirals Club membership, Priority AAcess privileges, companion travel benefits and AAdvantage mileage accrual are expected to remain intact during the Chapter 11 process.'

'As part of our ongoing security practices and normal business operations at American Airlines, we actively analyze all of our ticketing and program policies for any improper activity, including with our AAirpass accounts.'

'If we determine that any activity has violated our policies or is fraudulent in nature, including the non-fraudulent provisions that were included in these original contracts in question, we take the actions we deem appropriate.'

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