I love the idea of an unlimited first class ticket as a passenger, but it is obviously a terrible idea for the airline. You could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs just by taking a few flights around the world. The CEO needed to be fired for this poor decision since it resulted in lost money for the airline.
The CEO of American Airlines should not have been fired for offering this unlimited first class ticket because only 64 were sold, and this will not spell a huge loss for the company. Additionally, the airline industry is not a stable one, and various business model changes and promotions have emerged amidst its climate of instability, growth, and change. Failed promotions can simply be swept aside in favor of more successful ones.
The decision to offer an unlimited lifelong first class ticket for $350K was a decision that was made and should be honored. Looking retrospectively at the decision now and say that the CEO should be fired is wrong. When the decision was made, there was no way to predict the ticket would be used more than expected. That is just the reality of the situation but not a fireable offense.
The CEO of American Airlines that oversaw the sale of unlimited first class tickets should not have been fired just for that mistake. Yes, the program did not end up being very lucrative for his airline. However, it certainly was not the reason that American Airlines filed for bankruptcy a few years ago. The CEO cannot be blamed for a small mistake like this, when there are much bigger issues going on with the airline industry.