Air Mail postal mark stamp

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.



OPA! MEMORIES
I have been a frequent flyer with American Airlines since the ’70s and have read and enjoyed many issues of American Way. But it was not until your June 15 issue that I was inspired to write. I was especially moved by Tom McNamee’s story about his Greektown pilgrimage to sample all the local restaurants’ flaming cheese saganaki (“A Greek Hurray in Chicago”). I was born and raised in Chicago and went to the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, as well as to the University of Illinois College of Dentis­try. Both campuses are a stone’s throw from Greektown, and I fondly remember going there to celebrate after an important test or milestone. I moved to North Texas in the ’80s, but every visit to Chicago (now with my wife and children) includes a visit to ­Greektown to savor the “Opa!” It is an experience that I have passed down to my children just as Tom did with his sons. Thank you for bringing back all of the happy memories.
Arthur C. Morchat, Gladewater, Texas

Writer Tom McNamee Responds: Thank you for taking the time to even send such a kind letter, Arthur. My experience in journalism is that folks are more likely to write when they disapprove of something they’ve read, and I’ve always thought that it takes the best kind of people to make the effort just to say something complimentary.



TOO POSITIVE
On a recent flight home from California, the opportunity to win 100,000 AAdvantage­ miles for getting a letter published in ­American Way caught my attention. As I scanned the types of letters chosen I was stricken by the fact that every letter uniformly praised the virtues of the magazine. While the magazine is very good — providing­ a good balance between ads and interesting content designed to appeal to the broad base of people who fly American — I found it a little disturbing that you choose not to print any letter with an opposing point of view. This editorial policy comes across as dis­ingenuous. Have your readers figured out that to get a letter published they need to toe the line? I believe that by pursuing such a policy, your staff will deceive themselves into thinking that the magazine is at its pinnacle and that there’s no room for improvement. Healthy debate driven by criticism given in the spirit of positive intent will serve to keep raising the bar of journalistic performance and provide editorial balance and integrity, which currently don’t exist.
Phil Sanfilippo, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
 
Editor Adam Pitluk Responds: We publish a variety of letters, Phil, and what you read is a ratio of the positive/negative letters we receive. We don’t receive very many negative letters, most likely because we’re not covering overly controversial subjects. A quick look through our archives will show you as much. But we’ll be sure to scrutinize our balance more.



TEAM AMERICAN
Since the first time I traveled to the U.S., American Way has provided me entertainment and useful information so that I can prepare for my next trip. It has been my companion during my long trips because I live in South America. My last trip was with my daughter to Leadville, Colo., where my brother ran a 100-mile race, and we were part of the crew (Team Vivanco.) The race lasted 30 hours, and during that time, the crew was waiting for my brother in every aid station with food, clothes and encouragement. My daughter and I were able to participate in this amazing opportunity thanks to AAdvantage miles. On the long trip from Peru, American Way provided us entertainment and information, so it became a part of Team Vivanco at the Leadville 100.
Nancy Vivanco, Lima, Peru

Associate Editor Jan Hubbard Responds: We like to think we are part of a great team at American Way, so we were honored to find out we also were a part of Team Vivanco. We appreciate that, Nancy. And we are in awe of anyone who runs 100 miles in 30 hours.



REAL HEROES
As I browsed the letters written to you in the June 15 issue, I noticed many of your regulars travel for business, vacation or some other exciting life experience. My mind immediately turned to Holly, my sister, who is currently living in Pittsburgh, and my parents, who fly back and forth from Chicago to support her. In February 2011, Holly had an emergency liver transplant. Complications required her to endure three additional surgeries within nine days. While the liver was successfully transplanted, her new liver was not a long-term solution, and she is currently waiting for a second transplant. She has undergone at least 30 endoscopic procedures to help alleviate discomfort, and since December 2012, Holly and my dad have been in Pittsburgh hoping that a new liver would soon be available. Dating back to Feb. 4, 2011, when she was first admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, Holly has not complained once. Because deep down, Holly, my family and I all know that as bad as Holly has had it, there are others out there who have it worse. And that brings me back to the purpose of this letter. We’re not all flying on American Airlines for business or pleasure. Some people travel to care for and support loved ones. Like the firefighters Adam Pitluk wrote about in his June 15 “Editor’s Note,” it is these heroes who deserve credit. In the case of my mom and dad, their weekly flights to and from Pittsburgh allow them to care for and support Holly.
Jason Shiffman, Chicago
 
A.P. Responds: This is a very humbling letter, Jason. You’re absolutely correct — not enough credit is given to good folks like the Shiffman family, always there to support loved ones. Blessings to you, your family, and especially to Holly, a truly brave lady.