Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WP: We growled, they listened

Al Kamen of the Washington Post's "In The Loop" covered United's decision to extend the pet waiver to Foreign Service personnel PCSing overseas on official orders.

We growled, they listened

Score one for Fido!

United Airlines has told the State Department and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) that it will extend its military rate for pet travel to Foreign Service officers assigned abroad.

An April 18 Loop item noted that UAL had given a waiver to members of the military when it newly classified dogs and cats as cargo instead of excess baggage — a change that could run transport costs from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Because of its size and federal requirements that officers use U.S. carriers, United is often the only option.

The AFSA members protested that they should be included in the waiver. Former commerce secretary Gary Locke, now ambassador to China, weighed in with a letter to the airlines.

Members of Congress, including Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) , Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), wrote UAL executives last week urging they extend the waiver to the Foreign Service.

The effort apparently paid off. A senior UAL official called Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy on April 18 and AFSA President Susan Johnson the next day to tell them the military waiver would be extended. 

AFSA’s not been talking about it, one official said, because they were “still waiting for something in writing before we make it official,” and that the organization hoped to get written confirmation this week. Unclear if the new policy also applies to employees of other agencies who are stationed at embassies.

You can read the whole piece here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"Unclear if the new policy also applies to employees of other agencies who are stationed at embassies." WOAH! Let's not stop the fight if this waiver doesn't apply to USAID and DOC FS Officers. I know that sometimes we get a narrow State perspective but your AID friends have puppies too!