We love letters. Maybe it's because our grandmas always used to tape a quarter to our birthday cards when we were little, and we now have this Pavlovian thing going on. Regardless, we want to hear from you. Sing our praises, bust our chops, or just tell us what's on your mind. Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
SOME PEOPLE LIKED IT ...
I laughed while reading "Roads Scholars," in your January 15 issue. It reminded me of a time before I had status on American and I would try to sneak on with Group 1 so I could get my overhead space (I am 6'7" and certainly don't have room under the seat in front of me).
... AND SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T
I was shocked at the pompous attitudes of some of my fellow travelers as expressed in your "Roads Scholars" story. Those lists reflect a great deal of self-importance. There were many items in those lists that were true, but I could write rebuttals to many of the others. For instance:
1. Since when is it wrong to get to the airport early? How does that prevent another, less early passenger from getting where they want to go? I regularly encounter people who leave too little time in their travel plans and dump the responsibility of being on time to those around them. They arrive at the off-airport parking lot far too late and then complain when the shuttle driver doesn't get them to the terminal on time. They expect that they'll be allowed to skip ahead at security. The mark of a good passenger is planning for unexpected delays.
2. Getting a middle seat. This can happen to anybody. It doesn't make you a newbie or a rookie; it just means you got a less-than-desirable seat assignment.
3. Reading the safety card in the seat-back pocket or paying attention to the flight attendant's instructions. No matter how many times I fly, I try to at least look like I'm paying attention, just because I hope it makes the flight attendants feel a little better about what they're doing.
I agree with some of the complaints listed, but I tend to think that many of them are not necessarily a sign of a rookie traveler. I think it's sad that it at least appears that many of these frequent fliers look down on the people around them.
Dear Aaron and Mark: Both sides of the aisle weighed in for our "Roads Scholars" story. Many took issue with it, while others found it downright amusing. Window or aisle, First or Coach - it takes all kinds.
I want to apologize to American Airlines. As I flipped through American Way, I noticed something odd. Wait, I thought. Go back to that page. I could have sworn I saw ... no, that can't be right. Was that my name? It turned out to be "The 100K Club" in your Road Warrior issue [January 15]. While I did travel 100,000-plus miles on American Airlines, I did not "tell you that I logged" anything. My mind went into overdrive, disappointed that AA would use my name (not that I have anything to hide, but aren't there some sort of personal-data-handling laws?).
As I told my wife the story, I began to hear that crying laugh. You know, the one where you think the person is going to need to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom? My wife then reminded me that she had noticed a Road Warrior call to entry on a flight we were on, and when she'd asked me about it, I had said, "I don't have time." So my wife decided to enter me into the Road Warrior contest herself.
I am sorry, American Airlines, that I lost confidence in you for about 12 hours. I will continue to entrust you with my information and business. As for my wife, thank you for always being there for me and taking care of the kitties while I'm away. Thank you for always believing that I am special. Please, AA, do not let my wife know that there were 1,200-plus other people mentioned in four-point type on pages 70 and 71.
Dear Todd: That was actually eight-point type. If it had been four-point type, it would have looked like this. Can you read it now? If it had been that small in the Road Warrior issue, you might not have spotted your name at all.