Back in the 1980s, American Airlines decided to boost its corporate coffers by offering unlimited lifetime airpasses for $350,000. Only 66 people purchased them, but now that American has yanked the passes from some of those travelers, they’re suing.

AAirpass holders were entitled to virtually unlimited first class flights anywhere in the world for themselves and a companion, and more than a few took full advantage of the privilege.

Steve Rothstein estimates he flew from his home in Chicago to New York at least 1,000 times, between Los Angeles and San Francisco 500 times, and from Paris to Sydney 80 times — racking up a lot of frequent-flier miles in the process.

But three years ago, after American found it was losing millions of dollars to people like Rothstein, the airline pulled his pass, saying he’d abused the system by booking flights he never planned to use.

Rothstein denies those claims and has since filed suit to get his pass restored. Other AAirpass holders who had their passes canceled are also suing the airline.

“A deal’s a deal,” Rothstein said. “I’ve made deals in business, which I’ve regretted five minutes later. But a deal’s a deal.”

In a statement, American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Sanderson says the lawsuits brought by Rothstein and others like him are an “extremely small percentage of our overall AAirpass accounts, but fraudulent activity costs all of our customers money.”

[ABC News]