An American Tradition
My wife and I are Platinum members who love reading American Way whenever we fly. Our most recent trip with American took us to LAX, where we grabbed a cab to Long Beach and then hopped on a ferry over to Catalina Island. During our flight we enjoyed reading many interesting articles in American Way, especially the ones describing new places we would like to travel to in the future. Your article “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” ( Feb. 15, 2012 ) has us ?planning a trip to Vail, Colo., for next Christmas. Our travel routine on American always involves working on the crossword and Sudokus found in American Way. Thank you for being a positive, reassuring tradition whenever we travel on American.
Bert and Laura Miller, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

Executive Senior Editor Chris Wessling responds: Glad to hear we could turn you on to the charms of Vail. We hope you get a good foot of snow while you’re there.

Funny Flight
Kudos to the flight attendant on my recent American Airlines flight from Portland, Ore., to Dallas. He was giving the safety instructions (which we have all heard a million times and few pay close attention to), but he kept throwing in funny commentary. Not corny humor but really funny stuff. He had the whole plane quiet and listening (laughing), just to hear what he would say next. In a time when attention spans are short, he used a creative and effective way to get the message across. Humor also goes a long way in setting a positive mood for the whole flight. It was a nice way to start my trip.
Christy Wood, Salem, Ore.

Editor Adam Pitluk responds: There’s never? anything wrong with a little in-flight comic relief. To prove my point, watch this: Pooh Bear.

Courtesy Change
My wife and I have always flown American Airlines to the Dominican Republic since we bought a home there 12 years ago. We always have a pleasant experience, every now and then a delayed flight, but that just buys a little more time in the Admirals Club, where they also take good care of us.

We made the mistake of driving to the Santo Domingo airport to catch a flight which we thought departed at 2:40, but we were actually on the following flight. We were all checked in at the airport when they called boarding. We used our priority status to board promptly, at which time the agent told us we were not on that flight, we were on the next one. Well, we already had our ride set up in Miami to pick us up (a one-and-a-half-hour drive), with our young daughter meeting us as well. The AA agent was so gracious that he not only changed our flight with no change fee but also found us a seat in the business-class section. This is the reason we always have, and we always will, choose American Airlines first if they are flying to our chosen destination. Thank you, AA, for keeping your customer-service standards as high as your planes fly.
Chester Marr, Key Largo, Fla.

C.W. responds: We couldn’t have said it any better, Chester. We do take great pride in keeping our customer-service standards as high as our planes fly. We’re glad you had a great interaction with an AA agent in Santo Domingo, and we hope you’ll fly with us again soon.

A Different Kind of Itinerary
Over the last 10 years, I have flown on ?American at least every other week and have had the chance to observe the evolution of the American Way magazine. I enjoy the articles, columns and interviews, but I must confess that my favorite feature is the small tidbits of information collected in the section now called “Itinerary.” Over time I have found tips on great business books, restaurants, gadgets, music and what to do at destinations. The variety of information and the bite-size texts are ideal for reading right after that “turn off all electronic devices” announcement, and I always take something away from it.

In the Feb. 15 issue, I learned about the SpotCheck app for the iPhone that allows you to send pictures of your skin to a dermatologist (it’s fascinating!), and I enjoyed the quick profile of actor/soldier Rob Riggle. Keep up the good work!
Renato Beninatto, Newburyport, Mass.

Associate Editor Jessica Jones responds: Thanks so much for your note, Renato. As one of the co-editors of the “Itinerary” section (along with senior editor Anna Fialho), I can tell you that we have made a conscious effort since our redesign in early 2011 to ensure that the section remains light, informative and entertaining. We — as well as senior art director Sam Solomon, who works tirelessly on the design, and design director David Radabaugh, who had the original vision for this overhaul — greatly appreciate your feedback and are happy to know we’ve been successful in our efforts. Plus, we really like Rob Riggle too.

Something For Everyone
Usually during a flight, I spend about 90 seconds on the airline magazines. This time I was captured by the professional photography and intriguing articles. I read every page. With such a broad spectrum of interests, I found myself feasting on a buffet of new information. There definitely was something for everyone. The flight went quickly. Thanks for caring about what the customers experience. Kudos to you.
Rindy Koukal, Savage, Minn.

A.P. responds: Our magazine was shaped and styled after other in-flight magazines — we basically try to do the opposite of everything they do. Since you’re based in Minnesota, we know which one you’re talking about.

Every Minute Counts
In August 2008, my husband and I moved from Plano, Texas, to Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. I miss my kids more than I ever thought possible, and last year my daughter gave me a beautiful grandson. I fly back there as much as possible, but even when I fly to other places,? I still get a quick lunch with them when I book a long layover at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Thanks for keeping your hub in Dallas.
Gail Conmy, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

A.P. responds: Great letter, Gail. Hug that grandson.

Expectations Met
I saw your Feb. 1, 2012, issue and read your article on Charles Dickens appropriately titled “Exceeding Our Expectations,” and it occurred to me how well-rounded your articles are, not only with this issue but on a consistent basis (I fly nearly every weekend). I am a professor of a small college in Fort Worth, Texas, where we emphasize the need for a great liberal-arts education. Judging by the multivalent nature of your articles, I believe your magazine reflects our approach to viewing the world beyond textbooks and classroom walls. I want to commend you all for looking at travel on a much larger human dimension than just the typical vacation hot spots. There’s much depth in the cultures your writers synthesize; they process a variety of experiences for us readers to consider. Thank you for enlightening our minds and especially for treating us to the literary world of Dickens.
Donald Kim, Assistant Professor of Bible/The College at Southwestern
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas

Senior Editor Anna Fialho responds: Thanks so much for your letter to American Way, Donald. We’re so glad you enjoyed the article on Charles Dickens. He’s one of our favorite authors, and it was our pleasure to be able to share an article celebrating his great life and literary talent with our readers. I hope we can continue to impress you with a wide range of story topics as you continue to fly on American.

poetry in the clouds
As I sit in the airplane on the way home from Miami:

The turquoise water smiled
Into my skin
And I am ocean.

The golden star pulsed
Into my veins
And I glow.

The tropical breeze rainbowed
My lungs to clouds
I am weightless.

Palm trees fanned the haze
From my eyes
And I am crystal.

The sand cradled my feet
In the softness of warmth
I melt.

And this brilliant powder-blue
Sky kisses me on the lips
All the way home.
Joseph A. Rondinelli, West Mifflin, Pa.

A.P. responds: Love this! We need more poetry on our pages.

A Selfless Act
I work for American Airlines’ ConciergeKey and Executive Platinum desk and received a call from one of our AAdvantage Platinum members. He called on the 29th of February, which is typically one of our busiest days due to the systemwide upgrades we reward our elite members with throughout the year. These certificates expire on the last day of February every year. That night, this gentleman calls me, coming onto my line stating that this would be an odd request. I jokingly said, “Let me guess, you want to upgrade.” He said yes but not himself; that he had these upgrades that were going to expire tonight.

I asked him if there was a reservation code for the persons he wanted to upgrade. He stated he didn’t have any particular person in mind; that he would like to anonymously upgrade a family of four. He said, specifically, not your typical businessperson or elite ?AAdvantage member but someone who had not necessarily ever experienced business-class travel. He told me he didn’t need to know who these persons were or their travel itineraries. He explained that he understands the travel industry and knows that I cannot divulge any passenger information. He went on to tell me that his father was a former high-ranking air-travel professional and had recently? passed away. I told him I was sorry to hear that. I couldn’t believe how difficult this task would be, as you would think it would be very simple to just pick four persons and upgrade them, but it wasn’t.

I finally found two persons in our DFW-LHR market. When I called them at the airport, they said they wondered how they got upgraded. They called every single one of their family ?members to see which one upgraded them, only to find out that none of them did. Two customers in our ORD-LHR market were the lucky other two. I upgraded these persons and set their tickets up for reissue. I advised their anonymous benefactor that that was a very nice thing to do, and he said it was in loving memory of his father. I told him his father would be smiling down at him for that and would be proud. He said he was doing this hoping that the recipients would become four new lifetime customers of American Airlines. I thanked him for his kindness, and we ended our call with the standard pleasantries. I then went on to contact our lucky passengers and notified them of why they received the upgrades. Both parties wanted to personally extend their thanks to their anonymous donor. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to call the customer and let him know that his random act of kindness did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Dori Dempsey, SERO Sales Representative

Managing Editor Travis Kinsey responds: Wow Dori! What a phenomenal, phenomenal story. This very kind customer is a true angel, and I can only imagine how wonderfully surprised and happy these families were to receive such a gift. Not a surprising story, mind you, as it’s this kind of act that we’ve always known our customers to be about.