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100,000 AAdvantage miles for your thoughts.
We enjoy hearing what you think about the magazine — so much so that if your letter to the editor is published in a 2014 issue, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win 100,000 AAdvantage­ miles. Want a chance at the miles? Simply email your thoughts to us at editor@americanwaymag.com



A DIFFICULT CHOICE
Two summers ago, my husband and I ­traveled to the Canadian Rockies with dear friends. The challenging hikes, conversations and hot springs, coupled with the spectacular, awe-inspiring views, could be called a life-transforming experience. I learned something about myself by reading about the Hippocrates Health Institute (“The Art of Body Cleansing”) immediately after reading the article on Canada’s Big 3 (“Excellence in the Canadian Rockies”), both in your Jan. 15 issue. As tempted as I am by the thought of being cleansed and pampered into transformation, I think I would go back to the exertion and the awe of the Rockies for constitutional change and a sense of well-being. The Canada article made me yearn to return to that area, even though I am not much of a skier. If my husband disagrees, I could force myself to try a Life Transformation Program in West Palm Beach! Thanks to American Way for always giving me something to think about in planning future travels.
Nancy Kasten, Dallas
 
Editor Adam Pitluk Responds: Thank you for drawing my attention to a very real, very important point, Nancy: Sometimes the work we need to do on ourselves — or the work that we can do to help others — is right there for the learning, either through the teachings of others or from the beauty of creation. As the learned Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas once wrote: “The message of welcoming the outsider is fundamentally linked to the imperative for engagement.”



A LIFE LESSON
Traveling from Greece to the U.S. and also to my favorite little paradise, Puerto Rico, the last four years is truly great, but I’m also happy because American Airlines every year makes our flights more and more comfortable.­ Traveling from San Juan to New York, I enjoyed some of the American Way articles, but especially “The Art of Body Cleansing” by Orion Ray-Jones. As a Greek, I know well that my ancient compatriots had solutions for many issues despite the lack of technology. The Hippocrates Health Institute is doing a great job as I can see, for surely we all have to improve our nutrition and our life. But for many of us who cannot afford to pay thousands dollars per week to get this therapy for a better life, remember that you can find many life lessons for free, just searching in the history of my country. And as Hippocrates said 400 years B.C.: “Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food.”
Nikolaos Kapiris, Piraeus, Greece
 
Associate Editor Jan Hubbard Responds: Thanks for the compliment and the suggestion, Nikolaos. You are no doubt correct: Life lessons are available in many places, especially in history and especially from a man such as Hippocrates.



BACK TO SAN JOSE
On a recent trip to visit my wife’s family in San Jose, Calif., I was thoroughly surprised to see the article “More Than a Stopover” (Jan. 15) by Jill K. Robinson in American Way, which highlighted some of the interesting attractions in San Jose. As someone who has visited the city a handful of times and who has often headed toward her more glamorous sister, San Francisco, I realized that we had overlooked San Jose and missed out on some interesting sights and experiences that she has to offer. Thus, we made it a point to stay in the city this time around and enrich our experience with some of the sights recommended in the article. To our surprise, our family was also excited and thoroughly proud to show off their own city.
Toan Van, Fort Worth, Texas
 
Writer Jill K. Robinson Responds: Thank you so much for your kind words. I grew up in the Bay Area, and while I adore San Francisco, I have often been guilty of forgetting about the wealth of history and culture that the other cities offer. I enjoyed reacquainting myself with San Jose, and I continue to find experiences there that surprise me even since writing the article.



AADVANTAGE ADVENTURE
In 2013 I completed an around-the-world trip thanks to my AAdvantage miles. My 16-segment, 50,000-mile itinerary took me to 12 countries spanning every continent except Antarctica (I’m awaiting service to there in the future!). While I did fly on a few oneworld partner airlines, I always felt relaxed and at home when I had an American Airlines flight. I have always enjoyed picking up a copy of American Way and reading about new destinations that eventually influenced my itinerary. Both before and during my trip, I was lucky to have many wonderful agents help solve my unique issues with my type of multisegment e-ticket. I am happy to be a member of the best airline loyalty program in the world and because of you, I was able to see a lot of that world last year.
Eric DeLone, Philadelphia
 
Senior Art Director Brian S. Smith Responds: What an amazing trip and terrific use of your AAdvantage miles, Eric. It sounds like you were able to read several issues of American Way, since we’re the only semimonthly in-flight ­magazine, and hopefully, we helped you with future trips.



THE NHL IS THE BEST
As an avid Washington Capitals fan living in sunny South Florida, the title of your Jan. 1 article “Palm Trees and Ice (Hockey)” resonated in my mind. I was pleased to see the topic of NHL hockey grace the American Way library of articles, particularly following numerous articles written on other major American sports like the NBA and Major League Baseball. I particularly enjoyed how the article illustrated the growing popularity of hockey in America. The NHL Winter Classic and shows such as HBO’s 24/7 are two examples of hockey as a major North American sport. Next year, I look forward to attending the NHL Winter Classic, which is set to take place in Washington. I have no doubt it will be a sports memory that will remain embedded in my mind, as well as in the hearts and minds of countless other Capitals fans. As it has been for the past 23 years, American Airlines will once again be my airline of choice to get me to the game.
Dr. Seth Wollman, M.D., Aventura, Fla.
 
J.H. Responds: Outdoor hockey in Los Angeles was obviously a fascinating subject for us, Dr. Wollman, even if it happened in January. Elliott Smith gave us a good picture of what the NHL did to make it happen. Thanks for your thoughts.



Choose Chicago



GOOD ART
I was delighted to see Tom McNamee’s piece “The Picasso vs. the Bean” (Jan. 1). Public art in Chicago is a long-­standing tradition. As a Chicago Greeter, I always make sure that my guests see both The Picasso (it is always “The Picasso”) and Cloud Gate (now affectionately always “The Bean” ). They represent a beautiful contrast in artistic styles and demonstrate a progression of public art being incorporated into outdoor urban spaces. In 1967, it took ­Chicagoans awhile to warm up to an undefined steel sculpture — eventually its most recognizable icon. Cloud Gate might owe a little thanks to The Picasso for how quickly it has been embraced. They each are symbolic of Chicago’s history: The Picasso stands as a strong, steel icon of perseverance and endurance, while Cloud Gate reflects what the city has become, shining proud for all to see.
Billy Kuczek, Chicago
 
Writer Tom McNamee Responds: I wish I’d met you while I was doing my reporting for this article, Billy, as I probably would have quoted at least half of what you said in this letter. It’s great to receive confirmation from somebody so well informed about the central point I was making: that The Bean and The Picasso represent two eras in Chicago history, one evolving from the next. Still, The Picasso is fading fast for many. I mentioned it to my 23-year-old son and he didn’t immediately know what I was talking about.



GOOD BAD ART
Lisa Lubin’s piece entitled “Art Too Bad To Be Ignored” (Jan. 15) was a much-needed splash of perspective. Living in New York, I am one of many spoiled by the constant flow of accessible world-class art. After awhile, it’s difficult to remain enthusiastic. When everything is first-class, true appreciation starts to escape you. A counterpoint is important. If I’m ever burdened with the volume of artistic genius present in my NYC museums, I’ll turn to MOBA for perspective.
Brian Saplicki, New York
 
Writer Lisa Lubin Responds: Great point and perspective, Brian. We are fortunate nowadays to have almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to access to high-quality arts, music and food. If you can’t make it to Boston to see the galleries, listen to their wittily interpreted works on the MOBA YouTube channel.



POETRY WITH A PUNCH
Editor Adam Pitluk’s column, “The Growl of Poetry,” (Jan. 1) was an unexpected pleasure. It piqued my curiosity about an unfamiliar poet, Jimmy Santiago Baca. Back on the ground, I had the extended pleasure of reading several of his poems on the helpful ­website Poetryfoundation.org. Thank you, Mr. Pitluk, for the introduction to Baca. Thank you also for not marketing anything more than appreciation, compassion and your wish for 2014: “Happy New Year, humanity.” It is in such individual, creative ways that each of us can aspire to lift up all of us.
Sarah Scott, Ashford, Wash.
 
A.P. Responds: I’ll submit that Jimmy Santiago Baca’s poetry is an uncannily accurate portrait of contemporary American society in all its incantations from the 1970s to the present, Sarah. That you also found him inspiring is all the validation for this column that I need as a writer. Thank you.



LOVE THE SNOW
Seeing Lake Louise legend Sandy Best on the cover of the Jan. 15 issue of American Way reminded me of my recent Colorado snowboarding adventures. Your cover story resonated with me, a 26-year-old snowboarding traveler. Also, I found the articles revealing the cultural depth and diversity of San Jose, Calif., and the dining delicacies of the West End in Portland, Ore., enticing and inform­ative. American Way is adding kindling to my fire of curiosity for exciting travel and lifestyle destinations.
Michelle Marki, Harrington Park, N.J.
 
Writer Crai S. Bower Responds: Great to know you appreciated my article on the Canadian Rockies, Michelle. As a Colorado shredder, you will go nuts when you check out Alberta’s Big 3. Make room for ice climbing, glacier romping and, my personal favorite, Jasper’s Marmot Basin.



ALL SIDES
I’ve been flying American Airlines almost exclusively for four decades. I attained ­Platinum status back in the late ’80s after two back-to-back, round-the-world business trips on American and its partners. I still enjoy flying American (mostly for pleasure now) with my family. There is no question that you can count me as a loyal fan through thick and thin. And it is in that vein that I write this letter to the editor. As an avid reader of American Way, I am all too familiar with the “Air Mail” section. Although I have not penned a letter to you previously, I could have easily written many that are similar in nature to ones you’ve published.

My suggestion to you is simply this: Add a section (or, at a minimum, one letter each issue) that serves to strengthen American by way of constructive criticism. While I find a letters section that mainly publishes congratulatory, supportive or otherwise uplifting messages enjoyable, I believe some honest self-reflection in the form of customer feedback would only serve to enhance the magazine and the airline.
Rich Weiss, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
 
Managing Editor Travis Kinsey Responds: Thanks very much for the letter, Rich. Your thoughts on printing constructive criticism are spot on, and we strive to print such letters whenever they come in. In our Dec. 15, 2013, issue, we published the comments of a reader who disagreed with our Road Warrior selection process, and in our Feb. 1 issue, we had a note from a gentleman who had significant issues with our Dec. 15, 2013, cover story on former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. And now your message. Thank you for keeping us honest and on our toes.



COMING TO THE RESCUE
Your story on the crew of flight 654, “Saving a Life at 30,000 Feet,” (“Gearhead,” Feb. 1) was a great read. It really shows teamwork and why it’s so important to always pay attention, whether one is a crew member or just a passenger. I am happy for Ray Jensen, whose life was saved, and your story shed light on the heroes we all can be.
Jørn Johansen, London, United Kingdom
 
Associate Editor Tara Titcombe Responds: Thanks so much for your note, Jørn. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. All too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of travel and we forget that our crew members are first and foremost safety professionals. They can, quite literally, be lifesavers. Thanks again for your readership.