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?
Um, no answer yet. Miss Kitty now needs to get off the podium and get her beauty sleep.
Note: Photo above is of Socks the Cat from the Clinton White House.
- AFSA Appeals to United Airlines on New Pet Travel Policy (diplopundit.net)
- New pet-travel rule may give soldiers sticker shock (overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com)
- United Airlines Discriminates Against Certain Dog Breeds (newenglandpetguide.wordpress.com)
- United says pets not in cabin to fly as cargo (travel.usatoday.com)
- Delta Highest in Dead Pets in 2011, More Than Half of All Airline Pet Deaths (inquisitr.com)
- Dogged by military families, United puts pause on pet policy (mysanantonio.com)