The very first modern frequent flyer mile program…it’s usually credited as being American’s AAdvantage in 1981, but it was actually Western Airlines in 1980 with its ‘Travel Pass’ program, according to Western’s vintage anniversary video from 1986. Texas International Airlines created a mileage based program in 1979, but it was short lived, while Western’s Travel Pass survived to become part of Delta Air Lines’ program when the two merged in 1987.
There are some great anachronistic gems here (starting at 4 minutes, 30 seconds), as well as some things that feel the same, like…
This was just before the advent of travel credit cards. Delta acquired Western a year later, and it’s now all part of the SkyMiles program. Which we can sadly say today doesn’t claim to have the most first class award seats.
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