#United Deeply Offends Diplomatic Tails – It Sucks, Really! Woof! Woof!

We previously wrote about AFSA’s appeal to United Airlines on its new pet travel policy that can cost thousands of dollars to pet owners in the Foreign Service.

About 2800 emails were sent to United in response to AFSA’s appeal. AFSA has a membership of approximately, 16,000 members, so the appeal came from about 17.5% of its membership. Even if every member of AFSA writes to United, the number pales in comparison to the military and the potential backlash from military families.

Here is an update from AFSA on that appeal–

“United’s Senior Manager for Marketing, Customer Service and Business Systems responded to my letter to United CEO Smisek on March 7. He said that United developed the waiver for the military “in recognition of the commitment made by members of our military and the family members (including the four-legged ones) who share in their sacrifice” and intends to limit this “special process” to military families only. United has sent a standard customer relations response to individual e-mails saying that concerns would be conveyed to senior management for disposition.”

There are two troublesome thoughts that crossed my mind after reading this official response. First, the possibility that United’s Senior Manager for Marketing, Customer Service and Business Systems knows squat about the Foreign Service. Try not to roll your eyes. After all, a medical doctor and Ivy League graduate once thought the Foreign Service is like the French Foreign Legion.

Second, and perhaps more troubling, United’s Senior Manager for Marketing, Customer Service and Business Systems may know about the Foreign Service, but may not consider civilian service overseas on behalf of the United States, while representing the people of the United States of America as real service and sacrifice.

As Google says it in French, oh, ça craint, or in simplified English — oh, that sucks! Even, the diplomatic pets are deeply offended.

So poor Fido and his overseas escapades from Albania to Zimbabwe; traveling the world as a diplomatic dog is not sacrifice enough.  It’s not even a sacrifice when the four-legged ones are left behind during evacuations, because current State Department policy allows for the exclusion of pets from evacuation.

And poor Miss H (and Miss Kitty) who once upon a time went on multiple trips with us. The last one, on a long trip after getting poked, microchipped, vaccinated (thank god, no tapeworm treatment for cats) and  issued their own EU passports only to suffer veterinary malpractice and death in a foreign land.  I supposed death overseas is not a sacrifice either.

Miss H. has been gone for two years now and Miss Kitty will not be going overseas again. But there are other cats, dogs, and a host of diplomatic pets who are all offended by United’s unfriendly skyride.

The diplomatic pets do not yet appear to have any Twitter account, although they are considering it and currently in a negotiation on which breed would make the best diplomatic spokespet.  For now, we may have to ask our scaly friend, @BronxZoosCobra  to tweet Miss Kitty’s most pressing question: Dear United, what do you have against diplomatic pets?

Cat writes to United Airlines about misguided pet travel policy affecting diplomatic pets

Um, no answer yet.  Miss Kitty now needs to get off the podium and get her beauty sleep.

Domani Spero

Note: Photo above is of Socks the Cat from the Clinton White House.

US Embassy Mali Urges U.S. Citizens to Shelter in Place

via the US Embassy in Bamako, Mali:

U.S. Embassy Bamako, Mali Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens Political Instability in Bamako
March 21, 2012

U.S. Embassy Bamako, Mali (NEC Photo)
State Department

Today, the Embassy received reports of gunfire in the Kati area.  There have also been reports of gunfire in Bamako’s residential areas, and reports that the radio and television stations’ transmission signals are dead.  All U.S. citizens are encouraged to shelter in place; further updates will follow via SMS.

There are reports that a demonstration planned by military service members and their families will take place on Thursday, March 22; it will reportedly proceed from Kati to the Presidential Palace.  A separate demonstration is planned to start at approximately 9:00 a.m. near Gabriel Touré Hospital and proceed to the Niarela Cemetery.  This demonstration will be in memory of protestors killed in the March 1991 protests against the dictatorship of Moussa Traoré.

The American International School of Bamako and Liberté A (the French school) will be closed on March 22.  Because of the current political instability, the U.S. Embassy will also be closed for business on Thursday, March 22.

We are encouraging U.S. citizens to remain off the streets between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on March 22, especially in the above-mentioned areas.  Avoid all protests and demonstrations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly become violent.  If you are in an area where a demonstration is occurring, you should seek to leave the area as quietly and quickly as possible.

Read in full here.