@United on FS Pet Waiver Requests: Emails Read, Now You Can Drop Dead

Via Government Executive | Diplomats demand pet parity

“We have a strong relationship with the military and it was not our intention to put a financial burden on them,” United spokeswoman Mary Ryan told Government Executive. “But the exception for military families is a ‘one-off.’ ”
United spokeswoman Ryan said the carrier’s pet-shipping rates seem high because they include the third-party fee for the freight forwarder. United’s own pet fees are competitive, she said. The emailed letters from the Foreign Service Association, she added, “are not being ignored, but we have no intention of extending” the waiver beyond the military.

Read  in full here.

If you tweet about United Airlines, do use the new Twitter handle @United – this is the new handle used after the merger with Continental.  @UnitedAirlines is still up but no longer current.

In any case, like I said before, the Foreign Service, even with AFSA’s full membership just does not have the number. The airlines recognize that and is not at all shaking in its boots.  The only way this issue will probably get the appropriate attention is if some real smart and witty social media user can create a video of pets mocking this policy and it goes viral.  No corporate entity wants to be laugh at by millions of folks, but it can tolerate a few hundreds unhappy clients as part of doing business.

Domani Spero




Lying in State: Wombats of Mass Destruction

by Brian Aggeler, via State Magazine

Our long time favorite cartoonist, Brian Aggeler is currently the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Macedonia. I think he has the best job an FSO can have.  He gets to be a diplomat and gets to poke fun at anything and everything:

Mr. Aggeler arrived in Skopje July 15, 2010, following Macedonian language training in Washington.  Before that he served as the Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.  From 2002 to 2004 he led the U.S. mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France during the U.S. reentry into the organization after an 18 year absence and served as the new mission’s first Charge d’Affaires.  He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1990 and has also served in India, Burkina Faso, and Hungary as well as Washington.

Those damn wombats, must be why W. could not find them anywhere.

Domani Spero



Officially In: Douglas M. Griffiths – from USUN to Mozambique

On March 29, 2012, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Douglas M. Griffiths as the next Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique. The WH released the following brief bio:

Douglas M. Griffiths is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the U.S.

Douglas M. Griffiths
(Photo from USUN)

Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.  From 2006 to 2009, he was the Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  Previous overseas assignments include: Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires, ad interim at the United States Embassy to the Republic of Haiti (2004-2006); Counselor for International Economic Affairs at the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Switzerland (2000-2004); and First Secretary of Economic Affairs in Rabat, Morocco (1996-1999).  In Washington, he worked on the South Africa desk during the South African transition to democracy.  He began his career in the Foreign Service in 1988 with overseas assignments in Quebec City, Canada; Lisbon, Portugal; and Maputo, Mozambique.

Mr. Griffiths received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.P.P. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

Mr Griffiths’ UN bio indicates that he speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish. He is married and has two children.

If confirmed, he would succeed career diplomat, Leslie V. Rowe who was appointed  Ambassador to Mozambique in 2009. No political appointee has ever succeeded in getting appointed to the US Embassy in Maputo since it was opened in November 8, 1975 after its independence from Portugal.

Domani Spero

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | March 29, 2012