So got my email Wednesday morning last week for staging! Very very excited although a bit light headed from the fasting from Ramadan. So have to make sure I don’t get over excited and faint!
So I will be leaving from Oakland on September 11th at 6am to get to Philadelphia, PA by 3:30pm so that I will be on time for the next day’s staging meeting at noon. Yes.. apparently there is no direct flight that would make it the same day to Philly so I get to go a day early. Good news – I don’t have to pay for the flight!
The bad news is the baggage fees because I am booked on United. As long as you fly coach with them you have to pay for each bag you check starting at $25 and the second bag is $35 with a weight limit of 50lbs a bag. I even asked by calling customer service if because I am a Peace Corps volunteer and thus a member of a government service program if I would be eligible for the military baggage fee waiver. Answer – no.
Really United should be ashamed I mean.. Peace Corps Volunteers are doing an act of service just like individuals who serve in the military except we don’t have weapons, combat training and we are on what is an essentially humanitarian mission in the true sense of the phrase.
I don’t even care that we will get refunded by the Peace Corps if we don’t go over the baggage weight limit. Its the principal of the thing. Even if I wasn’t shipping out with the Peace Corps I would still be pissed just because I am not wealthy enough to pay for the next level seat on United – I also get shafted with baggage fees. Where is the decency in that?
I mean they get you going and coming because your not getting a cheaper flight than you can get on Southwest AND you get charged the baggage fees.
As disoriented as I was and currently am writing this post fasting – I emailed our Morocco desk person asking for any tips.. or suggestions on what to say to United to see if they would play nice. Sadly no helpful suggestions from the Morocco desk
But back to the staging email. We need to wear “business casual” clothing at our staging meeting. We also need to have all our paperwork from the invitation packet completed and our online training we were assigned as well – with the certificate printed for staging.
After our staging meeting on the 12th – we get loaded on to a bus and driven to JFK airport were we will board our 6:45pm flight to Casablanca, Morocco. Hopefully – no one gets slammed with over weight fee because of a sudden urge to pack masses of souvenirs from Philly – as it is the home of the liberty bell and the Philly cheese steak.
I wonder how many of those would weight 80lbs?
I am also looking into exploring the city – hitting up Saad’s Halal Place for a Halal Philly cheese steak or maybe John’s Roast Pork – not halal but the best reviewed Philly cheese steak on Yelp.com
Oh and I am gonna snap a picture of the liberty bell, maybe rub my hand on it a few times because I can and maybe hit up some other places to see and or eat at? I don’t know.. what is the thing to do in Philly well besides staging for the Peace Corps?