Thank you very much for the coverage of Jackie, Shadow and the incubation of their eggs laid last month ["How a Pair of Bald Eagles Became Southern California Rock Stars," by Mary Forgione, Jan. 22]. They are indeed rock stars.
All who watch and support this national icon appreciate the news coverage. Your coverage helps everyone understand the importance of recovering this formerly endangered and now protected species. There is a major threat to this eagle family, other bald eagles in the area and the diverse ecological area of Fawnskin: the development of the area where the eagles feed. This area in Big Bear is one of the most ecologically diverse in the state and nation. Isn't it time that we focus on preservation?
Small is not necessarily better
I read the online article about the airfare to Paine Field in Everett, Wash. ("Huge Money- and Time-Saver: a $144 Airfare to Everett, Wash., a SeaTac Alternative," by Catharine Hamm, Jan. 24) and the reference to our traffic problems.
We have lived in Everett and have worked in the Seattle metro area for nearly 30 years. We have never seen the need for a small regional terminal given our nice first-class SeaTac international Airport, which is only 30 miles south of Everett Paine Field. Using Interstate 5 and the HOV lanes has more become difficult over the years. A better, less-congested route for accessing our relevant cities (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Lynnwood) is using the Interstate 405 Express Lanes instead of Interstate 5. For just a few bucks, you can take them to and from SeaTac in about 25 minutes.
Very soon, we also will have a direct light-rail link to SeaTac from the north end.
Alaska Airlines might have low airfares right now on Horizon Airlines, but parking at Paine Field is expensive compared with other parking options at SeaTac. Everett isn't much of a business city compared with Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Lynnwood. We would rather use a main-line airline on "real airplanes.
I don't ever see using Paine Field even though we live closer.
John and Vivian Rotunda
Passengers and travel agent to the rescue
I sympathize with the dilemma of trying to to pick an airline seat online as outlined in "On the Spot," by Catharine Hamm ("I Made These Stupid Travel Mistakes So You Don't Have To," Dec. 31). These days you often can't choose your seat until 24 hours before a flight.
I was concerned because I was flying one way with an adult son with autism who has trouble communicating with others. Luckily, when I arrived at the airport I went to the boarding area and described our situation. They bumped us up to first class because there were open seats. We enjoyed a lovely experience and had nothing to worry about. On other flights it was simple to get someone to switch seats with us. Most people really are very accommodating.
I will be flying to Tokyo and Singapore and purchased seats in the Premium Economy section. I usually book flights by myself, but this time I used a travel agent because of the complexity of the itinerary. The travel agent got me and my mom great seats in Premium Economy. There are only two seats on each side of the plane with a short row in the middle. We won't have to climb over any strangers during the 13-hour flight.
For an Alaska cruise, try a small ship
I loved reading Rosemary McClure’s article on cruise-ship excursions in Alaska ["Alaska Cruises Are More Popular Than Ever Than Ever, With Excursions to Go Wild For," Jan. 24) We spent two weeks there last year. Cruising is a great way to see this magnificent place.
But I think the best way to see Alaska is what we did: drove for one week and then on to a small ship (Windstar) that can get into places that the big ships can't. Juneau was overrun by large ships and people; we were there for only one day to take a whale-watching trip.
The highlight of our trip: visiting the bears of Anan, a small island near Wrangell that takes about 90 minutes to get to on a high-speed boat. Daily visitation is limited. We hiked (with a guide who carried a gun) on a narrow trail to the most amazing viewing spots and saw bears everywhere along the way, as well as bald eagles scooping up the leftover salmon the bears discarded.
The bears walked relatively close to us, but we never felt threatened. I don't think I've ever experienced a sight like this, except for our journey to Canada’s Churchill Sound to see the polar bears. Large ships are nice, but don't allow you to visit these special places.
What about gambling?
Rosemary McClure wrote about her three-night mini-cruise on board the new Carnival Panorama to Ensenada, Mexico ("Carnival Panorama, the Cruise Line's New Long Beach-based Ship, Delivers Fun and Games," Jan. 26), and included highlights of the new 4,000-passenger ship: a trampoline park, WaterWorks aqua park, the SkyCourse ropes challenge, mini-golf and more.
What she didn’t mention is that the ship has a good-sized casino containing all the bells and whistles to entice gamblers. Gaming revenue on cruise ships is one of the bigger sources of cruising revenue and passenger attractions and should have been mentioned.