The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket

In The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket, Caroline Rothstein tells the absolutely compelling and heartbreaking story about her father, Steven Rothstein, and his travels. Specifically, his travels using the very rare American Airlines AAirpass, which granted him free plane flights, to anywhere in the world, for the rest of his life.

A quarter of a million dollars gave him access to fly first class anywhere in the world on American for the rest of his life. He flew so much it paid for itself. Often he’d leave in the morning for a business trip, fly back, and I hadn’t even known he’d left. Other times, I remember calling his office to find out what country he was in.

While the details of the story and the Aairpass are fascinating, the article is a deeper essay on the role of travel within the Rothstein family. The mechanics of the rare AAirpass drew me in, but the deeper story of how travel shaped the members of the Rothstein family really took my breath away.

The manner in which the Aairpass, the “superpower” as it’s described in the essay, was taken away from Rothstein’s father… was just wretched. It’s a difficult thing to convey, the shift and change, from being able to travel in such a matter to having that ability snatched away. And the timing of that loss, made things that much worse.

It’s a long essay, but just a fantastic read all the way through. It’s a love letter to her father, as well as to his love of travel.

The Turn: Elegant, Mysterious and Deceptive

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