I ENJOYED reading "Hajj" [May 16]. It was nice to read a positive story on Islam. From what we usually get in the papers, you'd think the average American Muslim was a lunatic. Look forward to more of these cultural stories.
I COMMEND you on a fabulous piece. The perspective was one that an American-Muslim such as myself, who has grown up in the United States, could truly appreciate. The article shows how diverse our society has become; it is important for society to recognize and celebrate that diversity.
Fahd R. Khan
JOHN BRILEY'S detailing of the frustrations built into the Amtrak Web site [Worldwise, May 16] neglected to mention that once you've entered your entire life history into the site in order to be granted price information, as likely as not you get a message that the system is not working today. Why can't they tell you this before they've wasted your time? This is part of Amtrak's utter contempt for the customer.
John T. Harding
Flight Attendant Flak
IN HIS Q&A, "What Flight Attendants Really Think About You" [The Word On . . ., May 23], David Wallis asked soft questions and got soft answers. Flight attendants cannot possibly respond to air rage, especially when such rage is evoked by irresponsible corporate action. On a recent flight I took, there were several possible causes for air rage:
* No pre-boarding was accorded to a mother with three young children, nor to an elderly gentleman, even though both requested it.
* Once we were seated, the purser announced: "The space under the seat in front of you is the primary space for your carry-on luggage. The overhead is only for small and light items." Pray tell me, what is a passenger supposed to with his feet? Crew luggage is allowed to be stored overhead, but not passenger luggage?
* When seated in a 767 or 757, the kneecaps of any passenger 5-11 or taller will be tight against the seat in front of him. If you have the misfortune to be seated in the middle seat, you are so cramped that you can neither read nor use a laptop (as Dunham pointed out).
I do not condone air rage, but airlines have a responsibility to try to prevent it by removing the cause, not just by making the overworked flight attendants smile bravely.
Edwin M. Schmidt
EVERY TIME I travel, I wonder whether I should laugh or cry at some of the "carry-on" luggage people bring onto a plane. Suitcases so heavy that they can't lift them into the overhead bin. Bags that clearly were larger than the box at the gate. At least one person with three bags.
Is there a chance that the public can start exhibiting some common sense before the big, bad federal government steps in and tries to do it for us?
TRAVEL TIP 95 ["Emergency White Noise," May 9] recommended using the hotel room TV to produce "white noise." In order to reduce light from the TV set, decrease the brightness and contrast of the picture. This will eliminate glare and save energy.
AN EASY and darker way to duplicate "white noise" is with a channel not receiving a signal on the radio. This produces the same sound but eliminates the light of the television.
LIKE GARY Goldberg [Message Center, May 2, regarding Travel Tip 92, "Blow Dryers From Many Lands"], we also bought a converter with four adapter attachments to cover most of the world. Be forewarned, however. On X-ray, this collection looks like bomb paraphernalia, which got our luggage thoroughly searched in London's Gatwick Airport.
Next time, we bought a hair dryer for English current.
TRAVEL TIP 93, on using mailing tubes for carrying posters home ["Advance Poster Transport System," April 25], only goes halfway. Why schlepp the tube? Mail it home. It only costs the equivalent of a few dollars. And you get mail!
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