The Record Frequent Fliers

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article on Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom, who are above and beyond what one would consider frequent fliers. Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines. Each had paid American more than $350,000 for an unlimited AAirpass and a companion ticket that allowed them to take someone along on their adventures. Both agree it was the best purchase they ever made, and their life hasn’t been the same ever since they bought the golden ticket.

In the 2009 film, Up in the Air, the loyal American business traveler played by George Clooney was showered with attention after attaining 10 million frequent flier miles.

Rothstein and Vroom were not impressed.

“I can’t even remember when I cracked 10 million,” said Vroom, 67, a big, amiable Texan, who at last count had logged nearly four times as many. Rothstein, 61, has notched more than 30 million miles.

But all the miles they and 64 other unlimited AAirpass holders racked up went far beyond what American had expected. As its finances began deteriorating a few years ago, the carrier took a hard look at the AAirpass program.

If you’re wondering whether you can still get the AAirpass today, the answer is no. In 2004, American offered the unlimited AAirpass one last time, in the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog. At $3 million, plus a companion pass for $2 million more, not one sold.

World’s Longest (And Most Expensive) Taxi Ride

Over the past 13 months, Paul Archer Archer and two college buddies, Leigh Purnell, 24, and Johno Ellison, 28, have traveled more than 32,000 miles around the globe from London to New York in a hired London Black Cab—which they’ve christened Hannah. They want to set a new world record for world’s longest and most expensive taxi ride.

The previous record was a 21,691-mile, four-month taxi ride from London to Cape Town, South Africa, and back, set in 1994 by Jeremy Levine and Mark Aylett, of the U.K., and Carlos Arrese of Spain. That trip ran the meter up to $64,645.

The Wall Street Journal summarizes the trip so far:

Since leaving the U.K. in February last year, the team has plowed into a snow bank inside the Arctic Circle in Finland, dinged a fender on a lamppost in Dunhuang, China, blown the radiator at an Iraqi border crossing, dodged the Taliban, and ran afoul of police officers, military personnel and armed mercenaries from Moscow to Tehran to Texas.

They were also forced to take a thousand-mile detour around much of the Middle East during the height of the Arab Spring—avoiding Libya, Egypt and Syria for a “safer route” through Iraq, Iran and Pakistan…

By the completion of their trip, Paul Archer and his team will have traveled nearly 50,000 miles through 39 countries. They’ve already eclipsed the $100,000 barrier on their fare.

What an adventure they’re having!