I appreciated Catharine Hamm's article on the dilemma of families wanting to sit together on a flight and the airlines' "game" of extorting more money from them in order to sit with their young children ["Togetherness Has Its Price When Flying," Feb.8].
My wife and I faced this problem several times when our kids were younger. Five options were listed that may help the situation.
I respectfully submit our chosen option, which is No. 6.
Don't pay extra to find seating together. Simply bring a coloring book, some crayons and a bag of graham crackers — and hand them to the gate attendants. Tell them to please give the items to whomever is sitting next to your child — and mention that your child likes to be told stories as well. You can give them a few tissues too, if the child's nose is runny.
They will find you seating together very quickly at no extra charge. It's called "calling their bluff."
I had the opposite problem. We purchased tickets and chose seat assignments months in advance.
As my husband and I turned in our tickets to board, the gate agent at that time gave us each a seat reassignment. We were split up. I was put in the middle of several families with children. They broke up my family to accommodate another family.
I complained to an agent and explained what happened in a survey, but clearly, no one cared.
Churchill in war
A recent letter [Feb. 1] responding to a Travel section article on Winston Churchill criticizes Churchill as "the architect of the Bomber Command" in World War II and states "even great men have the capacity to be evil." The letter's author, whose mother endured Bomber Command bombing in Berlin, states that Churchill approved the bombing, "thinking it would end World War II faster."
My father, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, flew missions over Germany when Bomber Command was taking 50% casualties. After the war, my father wrote articles about Bomber Command in which he acknowledged that it is important to critique and learn from what the Allies did in the horror and confusion of war, but he also pointed out that for much of the war the concern was not so much about ending the war faster but on whether the war could be won at all.
A very different perspective on Bomber Command came from a friend who was in a Nazi concentration camp: He said the Allied bombings gave him hope.
In reflecting on the lessons of history, we need to balance the strategic mistakes of democracies against the murderous political calculations of brutal dictators such as Hitler. We must balance our moral judgments against cold facts: Who started World War II and who was the real "evil"? With all sympathy to the author of this letter and what his mother suffered, would he want to be living now in a Nazi-run world — which is what Hitler envisioned for all of us?
Elizabeth Emmott Hoffman
Rancho Palos Verdes