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True Road Warriors

Recently, American Airlines published their 10th annual Road Warrior Contest results which highlights and rewards a few individuals who fly many thousands of miles each year (and do the necessary to participate in the contest). As I sat on a four-hour American flight from California to Illinois, I thumbed through the American Way magazine and read some of the details of these winners. While the “Road Warrior” title was well deserved after flying so many miles, I could not help but wonder who the real road warriors were. I say this because every year thousands of vegetarians from all walks of life fly this airline and cannot get a vegetarian meal. Such was my situation on this particular flight. I was sitting in the first class cabin awaiting the meal service and a very cheerful stewardess leaned over and repeated words I have heard before from the same Airline: “Mr. Rodriguez, today we have a turkey sandwich or a chicken breast salad”. There was a time on this airline when you could request a vegetarian meal. However, this “complimentary amenity” (and that is a whole article by itself considering the cost of a ticket) was done away with. I have contacted the airline on more than one occasion to voice my frustration and the

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answer is the same. American no longer serves “special meals” unless you are flying to Europe, Japan or “some Latin American destinations”. And in this most recent complaint, they added in their response that “the cost savings identified by this reduction in service are significant for us and will help us focus on those of our products and services better valued by our customers”. So, who are the true Road Warriors? I would say respectfully that it is not those who fly and successfully manage the contest details. I submit that the true Road Warriors are those who fly the miles but must quietly endure “meal-less” trips of up to five hours in some cases (not counting ground delays) —because the airline has not learned to value an important segment of their customer base. Yes, there is still much work to do. Elvis Rodriguez Founder and Editor, Vegetarian Spotlight Magazine

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