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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 2013 issue, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win 100,000 AAdvantage­ miles. Want a chance at the miles? Simply ­e-mail your thoughts to us at ­editor@americanwaymag.com.



APPROPRIATELY NAMED
Freedom to take great pictures, freedom to compose great articles and freedom to craft little intricacies into a magazine are the embodiment of a publication from the people, for the people — the deftly titled American Way. Having recently committed to flying only American Airlines or its partners wherever I go, I jumped into this something-for-everyone magazine, and it ended up becoming the first American Way I read from front to back. So keep the goodness coming, and I’ll be looking for the next issue soon.
Blake Hughes, Aurora, Ill.
 
Andrew Backover, American Airlines Vice President, Communications, responds: I just want to thank you, Blake, for your kind words about our flagship publication, American Way. Just like our people who are hard at work to deliver a great travel experience for our customers, we have a great team of publishing professionals who are doing their part to ensure a great onboard experience with interesting reading. Whether we are pushing pencils or baggage carts, our people are committed to delivering for customers such as you.



BORN TO FLY
My AAdvantage number was issued to me, along with my Social Security number, at birth. Since then, I have traveled to and visited 43 states, thanks in part to American Airlines. I have seen and experienced a nation of incredible beauty, history and people from all walks of life who left an impression that fills me with American pride. Although American Way was not exactly a primer for me while growing up, it is as familiar to me as is the American logo itself. I found articles about persons and places based on fact rather than on someone’s opinion. I hope that I’m able to see the seven other states soon and after that, the rest of the world. Your magazine has helped to open up that window for me. By the way, I’m 13 ½ years old. I’m sure I have a lifetime to come with you on my travels.
Ryan Woods, East Granby, Conn.
 
Editor Adam Pitluk Responds: You are without a doubt the smartest kid in your school, Ryan. And you’re wise beyond your years to boot. Keep studying, keep traveling, and maybe you’ll be colleagues with the rest of us here at ­American Airlines when you finish your Ph.D. And I hope you’ll be my boss (remember this letter and my reply when you are). See you in a few years!



PLEASANT SURPRISES
I’ve traveled and been a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage program since the 1980s. In the ’90s, I moved out of the D/FW area and experimented with other airlines because of flight scheduling. However, I always found myself coming back to American. I was recently making a trip to New York City and booked my flight with American, and as I read through ­American Way, it finally hit me that no one in the industry has the quality of articles that AW has. As I read the article “Full Steam Ahead” about the S.S. Badger (April 15), it finally hit me: When I read American Way, I always have an “I didn’t know that!” moment — and I love it! In addition to the ­in-flight people of American, I think ­American Way has brought me back to AA. Keep up the good work.
Larry Boyd, Katy, Texas
 
Senior Editor Anna K. Fialho Responds: We’ll let you in on a little secret, Larry: Most of the stories we assign come out of someone saying, “I didn’t know that!” when discussing a story pitch during our editorial meetings. We figure that if we’re that surprised (and intrigued) by something, then surely our readers will be too.



A STUDY BREAK
As the only airline that provides direct service to my current city of residence in ­Salvador, Brazil, where I am a student at Federal University of Bahia, American ­Airlines is truly my ticket home. After months of speaking Portuguese and reading Brazilian publications, it is always a breath of fresh air to sit down on the plane and pull out American Way. It quickly pulls me back into the world of my native country and gets me up to date on a wide variety of topics. It provides an eclectic mix of leisure, entertainment and current events for every passenger to enjoy. After reading “The Wild Coast” in the March 15 issue, I found myself daydreaming down ­Highway 1 in California where I grew up. Even though that particular trip didn’t take me back to California, American Way helped me feel closer to home.
Jamie Andreson, Salvador, Brazil
 
Associate Editor Jessica Jones Responds: Congratulations on your studies in Brazil, Jamie. I’m glad American Way can be the thing that connects you to home and inspires you to travel the world. Keep up the good work.



FIRST FLYERS
In February, my husband, my two girls and I were on the American Airlines inaugural flight from Curaçao to Miami. My compliments go to American Way, especially the report about the pilot and explorer Barrington Irving (“Taking Flight,” Feb. 1). My husband and I work as volunteers with young people, and like Irving says, it isn’t that kids don’t want to learn, “it’s that the current methodology of teaching doesn’t appeal to their attention spans.” This is true for the kids on our island as well. I believe our world needs more people like Barrington Irving, people who believe in the potential of youth. Thanks for all the other inspirational ­stories in American Way.
Sheloutska Martinus-Francees
Bonaire, BES islands
(Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba)

 
Associate Editor Jan Hubbard Responds: The fact that you would find inspiration in one of our articles is inspirational to us, Sheloutska. We look forward to providing good reading for you in the future.



A DECENT PROPOSAL
I am a frequent-flyer who is also a pilot, so the only way for me to propose to my girlfriend was in an airplane. She is a very private individual, so the proposal could not take place over the public-address system. I also needed enough room to get down on one knee, so upgrading to First Class was a must. We flew from DFW to Miami to connect for our flight to Lima, Peru, and the nice crew was more than willing to help. When we took off and arrived at the proper­ altitude, the seat-belt sign was turned off. I stood, took a knee and asked her to be my wife. The purser promptly took the best picture of us — her with a surprised look and me with a smile and on one knee. It was truly­ the best flight ever. And now, ­American Airlines flies direct from DFW to Lima, and my wife and I are looking forward to taking our anniversary trip on that flight.
Willy Vargas, Fort Worth, Texas
 
J.J. Responds: I’ve seen a lot of things at 35,000 feet, Willy, but a proposal isn’t one of them. What a unique and romantic proposal — I’m so happy AA could be a part of it. Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness.



ALL-AMERICANS
As U.S. citizens who have lived in Bolivia and Ecuador, we are in our own way an all-American family, flying between North and South America on American Airlines. American Way helps us with articles and ads about cities, tourist destinations and even specific restaurants, which help make us feel more at home in both our native and our adopted America. Thanks for that.
James McEnteer, Quito, Ecuador
 
J.H. Responds: Our mission is to highlight places­ big and small for people to visit and experience, James. It’s always nice to get feedback that information we provide is considered valuable.



GREAT MEMORIES
I read the April 1 issue cover to cover on a recent trip to Curaçao from Miami. From the Editor’s Note (“A Perfect Game”) to the article on Miguel Cabrera (“Setting the Record Straight”), you did a phenomenal job. I’ve been an avid baseball fan since my mom and dad enrolled me in T-ball when I was a kid. I played ball every day of my life through high school, and I still try to find time to play in charity softball games. Your issue was genuine, nostalgic and impactful. I can close my eyes and see my mom sitting behind the backstop, cheering with the other­ moms; I remember taking ground balls from my dad, then batting practice. And by the way, the answer to your question is an unequivocal “Yes.” Baseball is and always will be our national pastime.
Hector Quintana, Miami
 
A.P. Responds: Beautiful sentiment, Hector. You made me remember playing catch with my dad and how that was the greatest thing in the world. And thanks for answering that question. It’s great to know there are like-minded people out there.



TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I travel many miles each year for my job, so when I vacation I try to go to the unknown. This year, we booked our first trip to Roatán, Honduras, and there it was on the April 15 cover. Although I’d done research on the island, you have covered all the major points, and now I’m doubly excited to go. Please keep bringing us articles of places we, as business travelers, may not get to see.
Jan L. Cooper, Roselle, Ill.
 
J.H. Responds: We found Roatán to not only have a fascinating history, Jan, but also to be a unique vacation spot with great opportunities for fun and relaxation. Enjoy your vacation!



CHASING A DREAM
What a great and inspiring article about Kurt Warner (“Second Chances,” April 15). I graduated from law school 30 years ago, and I took the bar exam in my native Puerto Rico and in Florida, failing both. I started working and became complacent. I have a great wife and two wonderful kids, and we have instilled in them to never to give up. My oldest son told us recently that he would continue into law school after he graduates from Tennessee-Chattanooga next semester. He then said to me: “Dad, you have always said to never quit, but what about you?” As Warner said, “Life is filled with adversity, and either you defeat it or it defeats you.” I will defeat the bar exam in order to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a licensed attorney. I will show my son and daughter that if you persevere, you will succeed.
Pedro M. Roman, Goodlettsville, Tenn.
 
A.P. Responds: Kurt Warner inspired me when he was playing football, and you’re inspiring me now, Pedro. Best wishes to you on the bar.



CLIMBING ADVICE
While reading American Way on a flight to South America for a Patagonian trek, I was intrigued by Barrington Irving’s around-the-world solo flight and his goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (“Taking Flight,” Feb. 1). In 2007, for my 65th birthday, I climbed Kili for the third time. As usual, it was an extraordinary cultural experience. The Tanzanian guides quickly bonded with my Afro-­Ecuadorian son-in-law. They had never before had a black client. My son-in-law was awed by a country ruled by Africans who spoke their native tongue, not the language of conquistadors. As for the climb, there are a few steep sections, but no cliffs on any of the standard routes. To someone as competitive as I imagine Barrington Irving to be, I offer one bit of advice: By not trying to be the first in camp each day, you will almost guarantee being first to the top on summit day. Have a great climb, Barrington!
John E. Kurnick, M.D.,
 Verdes Peninsula, Calif.

Barrington Irving responds: Thank you for sharing your experience in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Dr. Kurnick. I absolutely appreciate your advice and would love your input as the expedition team coordinates the logistics in our attempt to make the climb. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my story in American Way.