Five Dates
With the amount of time I spend traveling, I tend to refer to American Airlines planes as my second home. I am the Bose-headset-and-iPad sort who keeps to himself. Except, of course, during those precious 10 minutes just before takeoff and before electronics are permitted in flight. During that electronic lull, I am an avid American Way reader. While I was in the midst of an article about Kellan Lutz (“Itinerary,” Nov. 15) and his new movie Immortals, the woman next to me made an odd noise, something of a gasp. When I glanced at her, the first two things I noticed were her beautiful eyes and alluring smile. She immediately apologized for the outburst and admitted to having been eavesdropping on my reading. She went on to explain what a big fan she is of the Twilight series and Kellan Lutz. Long story short, our conversation continued for the next five hours of the flight. No Bose, no iPad. We especially enjoyed flipping through the American Way discussing every article. Since reaching our final destination, that beautiful woman from the plane and I have been on five happy dates, with more to come. Thank you American Way and Kellan Lutz.
Mark Williams, Los Angeles

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And the winner is …
Cecil Bilbo from Champaign, Ill. Mr. Bilbo is the 2011 winner of the 100,000 AAdvantage miles for your thoughts contest. His letter, entitled “Reaching Out,” ran in the April 1, 2011, issue of American Way.

Editor Adam Pitluk responds: American Way is proud to be the best matchmaking in-flight magazine around. Make sure you keep us posted on the progressing relationship … we would love to update our readers if this is the real thing.

A Picture’s Worth …
As a graphic designer, I was absolutely thrilled to see Glin Dibley (one of my favorite illustrators) featured in the Nov. 15 “Final Approach” column on my flight home to Colorado for Thanksgiving. In an age of stock photography and clip art, thanks for keeping at least one designer’s rent paid for the month. It’s refreshing to see a large company that still helps the little guy.
Devon Morgan, Asheville, N.C.

Design Director David W. Radabaugh responds: One of my favorites too. In fact, you’ll find the work of many talented illustrators in our pages — John Cuneo, Mark Matcho, Graham Roumieu, Bob Staake, Matt Vincent — just to name a few. I sincerely hope no corporation is ever too big for smart, evocative communication.

Small World
I fly from Chicago to Kalamazoo, Mich., about six times a year. I always reserve seat 1A for these short flights, and I sometimes share dialogue with the captain and the flight attendant. This time I was listening to the captain, and I immediately got chills down my back. His accent was one I had heard for the last 40 years! I asked him where he was from — Manchester, England, was the response. I said, “My wife is from Manchester … what one calls a Mancunian.” It turned out he grew up less than one block from my wife of 40 years.

I’m not through, though. I noticed that the flight attendant (keep in mind that this is in Chicago/Michigan territory) had a distinct Texas accent. As we gained altitude, I asked her where she was from. “Austin, Texas,” was the reply. I’m from Austin! It turns out she worked 20 years for an individual who back in the 1970s worked for me. We exchanged stories and had some great laughs!

Needless to say, this was one heck of an experience on American Airlines. It is indeed a small world. I hope all of your readers have as much fun on American as I did!
Dan Sowards, Austin, Texas

Managing Editor Travis Kinsey responds: Both myself and editor Adam Pitluk can appreciate your story in ways only you could believe. Adam and I are both from Cleveland. When we started working together a few years ago, we discovered — via a quick exchange of dates, high school info and other information — that back in the day, Adam went to a junior-high dance with my younger sister! And when I told my sister about this shocking discovery, she completely remembered Adam! Adam and I didn’t know each other back then, but now, all these years later, we happily trade Cleveland stories while cheering on the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers.
So Dan, your note brings especially big smiles to our faces, for the coincidences you encountered and, more importantly, because of the joy you got by flying with us.

A Definite AAdvantage
Thirty years ago, on a New York-to-Chicago flight, I listened as the flight attendant announced details of a new program whereby members could earn points for free trips or upgrades. She called it the AAdvantage program.

She explained that if we enrolled now, American would jump-start us with enough bonus points for a complimentary domestic flight. Plus, it was free to join. So, at 30,000 feet above Pittsburgh, most folks on the plane enrolled. I did too.

Fast-forward to 2011; I’m now an 80-year-old globe-trotting grandma who is retired and traveling just for fun. I’m aiming to get every page stamped in my passport and reach the 1 million mile status with American Airlines within the next two years.

To boost my miles when I’m not on a plane, I shop SkyMall, dine at restaurants in the AAdvantage Dining Program and get miles from hotel partners.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, is my next destination to celebrate my 81st birthday. Adios, amigos!
Marlene Lamm Spigner, New York

Associate Editor Cheryl Krzywicki responds: It is loyal passengers such as yourself, Marlene, who keep American flying high. Thank you so much for staying with us for all these years. We hope you have an amazing journey while celebrating your 81st birthday!

Dining Delights
Working in international sales, I use American Way articles featuring restaurant reviews as my guide when I dine with clients. I look like a connoisseur in front of my clients and have never been disappointed by any American Way recommendation.
Miguel R. Rossie, Weston, Fla.

Associate Editor Jessica Jones responds: If there’s one thing we know, it’s food! And when we find a place we love, we like to share. Glad to hear our recommendations have served you — and your clients — well.

Why i Love AA
Many times in the past 18 years, on my way to almost 3 million miles with AA, I have questioned why I fly so much and, truth be told, sometimes my relationship with AA is less than perfect. Let’s just say it is like a marriage. Some days I love AA, some days I want to move out, and some days I just feel that I am the luckiest flyer in the world.

Today, as I fly my 110th segment of the year, I am doing so with my 8-year-old son. We are on our way to London to watch two soccer matches. Your magazine inspired me to do this (“Manchester: Loud & Proud,” Oct. 15), helped by some award tickets from my favorite airline, all while taking advantage of the oneworld alliance.

Today I am deeply in love with AA … and you can bet my son is too.
Jorge F. Velasco, Boerne, Texas

A.P. responds: You hit the nail on the head, Jorge. We are like a marriage, the airline and our passengers. And although there are sometimes squabbles, at the end of the day, we’re very much soul mates.

Recently I had to fly another airline for business. That reminded me of why, at Thanksgiving, American Airlines is on my list of things I am very thankful for!
Pamela Bryant-Meeks, Burleson, Texas

A.P. responds: And we’re thankful for people like you, Pamela. Happy New Year.