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In the May issue of American Way, I read the most moving story by First Officer JC Baltz (“A Pilot’s Perspective”). In a global world where everything is fast, digital and somewhat soulless, reading how much he cared for his wounded-warrior passengers, his father and his son made me think of the human factor behind such a big company as American Airlines. I am the daughter of a South American airline pilot, and this story will linger in my memory and help not only me but also others understand what’s behind each flight and the multicultural and human team that helps the airline be successful.
Hits and misses
I enjoyed the May issue cover to cover, and here are some comments on the articles: “Bath, Cambridge and Brighton” — I am going back to vacation in London in 2015, and now I have my three English escapes planned. “The Chicken Sisters!” — I wish you had added some of the fabulous vegan and vegetarian chefs who, like the Cuellar Brothers and Alice Waters, have also been innovators. Grounding the Blue Angels (“The Return of the Blue and Gold”), international ambassadors of goodwill for Marine and Naval aviation, is equivalent to the closure of our National Parks as a low moment in our nation’s history due to sequestration. “Famous Last Words” — you missed Robert Goldsborough, who has written several novels carrying on the tradition of Rex Stout’s creation, the great Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. And finally, “Breaking Through” made me realize that I really need to get tickets to see Bryan Cranston play LBJ. Thanks and keep up the good work.
A fit airline
Being the CEO of YogaFit, the largest yoga school in the world, I am constantly on the go and traveling to each of our offices. Whether I am flying from L.A. to Toronto, or from New York City to Tokyo, I always choose American Airlines. I even recommend it to YogaFit trainers and students. When I first started YogaFit in 1994, I wasn’t the biggest fan of traveling. No matter which airline I was on, I was always disappointed with the service I received. Then I started flying American, and I learned that maybe flying wasn’t all that bad. I now have 9 million miles logged globally, and I look forward to reading American Way every time I fly.
Beth Shaw, Los Angeles
A change to monthly
I love American Way and look forward on my frequent flights to the informative and entertaining articles. I was disappointed to find in May that you have moved to a monthly publication versus twice monthly. Is that a permanent decision? For those of us who fly frequently, that means we don’t get our additional dose!
I am a recent college graduate in my first year of employment, and I found Sarah Zobel’s article “Creating a Gap” (April 15) interesting. While I believe her intended audience was younger students, it also appealed to me. My first year of employment has given me a profound sense of respect for my college education, but it has also tainted my assessment of those four years with a constant “imagine if you had taken this course” or “you should have been more engaged in that class.” Now that I am in the working world, I have found that I am happy but not passionate about my job. Right now, it is simply what pays the bills. The article suggests finding something you are passionate about so you can make your education more meaningful. It has given me the idea of taking a gap year, finding what I am passionate about and pursuing that passion in graduate school. Thank you. You’ve given me a new path to follow: my own.
An American Traveler
We travel a few times a year as a family, and I travel almost weekly for business, always on American. We have two sons who love to vacation, and we recently had a debate about a destination. Our youngest son (age 12) has autism and limited verbal communication, so we weren’t aware of his level of interest until, as part of his speech therapy, he was asked to list things that fly. We were imagining he would list birds, insects, etc. As you can see by the attached picture, Christian surprised us again by listing, “Airplane, American, airlines, plane, planes and air.” We always knew he loved to fly, but clearly it is time to book another trip. Thought you would like to know your airline has another loyal customer in our household.
My wife and I recently read your May article on “The Rentership Society,” and it really added to the smooth running of our flight. As the housing situation in Ireland is very similar to that in the U.S., it was of great interest to us. I am retired for some two years, and my wife and I have been in quite a dilemma on whether to sell our three-bed bungalow and buy a smaller property — or rent. As we both visit the U.S. a few times a year, having read the excellently balanced piece by Suzanne Wright gave my wife and me much more food for thought regarding the future for our home.
American Way is always interesting, but the June issue? Wow! You seemed to kick it up a notch. I loved reading about Gary Vaynerchuk (“A Social Animal”), “A Weekend in St. Kitts,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s newest album (“In the Long Run”) and especially the love problems of the flamingos (“Love Doctor to the Pink Flamingos”) at Hialeah Park. It’s now on my list to go there and see them. It’s like you made this issue just for me. Keep up the fine work.
I am writing this note in the air, on my way from Chicago to Colorado Springs through Dallas. This is a somewhat bittersweet trip in that it is my last business trip before retiring. Over the last 35 years, and in particular the last 12 years since I’ve lived in Chicago, I’ve counted on American Airlines almost exclusively to get me where I’ve needed to go to get my job done, and you did a great job in doing that. In the countless hours I’ve spent traveling on American, I’ve really enjoyed your magazine and have valued it as a great resource for getting the most out of the cities I visited. I particularly looked forward to Adam Pitluk’s frequent references to his life growing up on the east side of Cleveland. We share that legacy, and I would love to debate him on where the best corned beef sandwich can be found (I’m a Slyman’s guy).
I was delighted to read your article about the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Julia Child exhibit (“The Chicken Sisters!”) in your May issue. I’m a licensed Washington, D.C., tour guide, and I spend my springs with America’s 8th graders as they visit the capital of our country. This exhibit is overlooked during the middle school academic season, but it’s one of my favorites. Students today do not have a grandma with appliances or household goods similar to Julia Child, and they struggle to relate. I also lead food/chocolate tours of Georgetown, and I mention Julia Child as well because she lived there and also because we visit Dean & Deluca (the place where Julia in the movie Julie & Julia spends her paycheck on ingredients). Thank you for keeping the legacy of Julia Child alive.
Writer Cathy Booth Thomas responds: When I was at the exhibit, I overheard parents explaining some of Julia’s appliances and utensils to their kids — but no matter the age, everybody seemed to relate to her sense of humor. That’s what I loved about her: She didn’t make cooking food such a stuffy, exacting science. Keep taking the kids there, Kate. As for me, I hope to be on one of your food/chocolate tours someday!
I found Adam Pitluk’s column “Win-Win” (March 15) hilarious. What a predicament, being locked out on his balcony in his boxers. We can relate. We somehow locked ourselves out on our balcony in Maui (I know, Maui is hardly a predicament). Embarrassed, we threw our room key down to strangers to rescue us. On our flight from Maui, I noticed a military family obviously being deployed home. Along with two babies, they were carrying car seats, diaper bags, etc. An American crew member met them boarding and said, “How can I help?” They pointed, and without hesitation, he picked up a load. As he passed me, I noticed it was the pilot! It’s common and commendable. I guess to answer Adam’s question, “What’s the true mark of a road warrior?” It is either being in a predicament or helping someone out of one.
A mother’s tribute
In 2013, I became a mother for the first time. For those who have kids, it is easy to always remember the feeling of unconditional love. Some days ago, I traveled to Las Vegas for work. During that flight, it was extremely joyful to read the article in the June issue about the mother and daughter who now work for American (“All in the Family”). While reading, you could tell the love and admiration they feel for each other. It is very impressive that the mother has worked for the company for 40-plus years. Now she has a daughter on the same path. Wonderful.
J.H. responds: The story of Clara and Traci Luck was a favorite for all of us, Gabriela. Clara established the tradition in the Luck family at American and Traci carries it on into the future. We feel fortunate to have both of them at American.