So we had quite a trying time getting our travel made for this PCS. First, an overseas PCS requires all your family to apply for No Fee Passports. Then when you are in a two month window of your travel date you must apply for visas to enter the country long term. We applied for the passports and received them in the expected timeframe. However when we applied for the visas, we were rejected because we have a child adopted from Russia and all his documents are in Russian. Our translation was not certified and therefore the Italian Embassy would not recognize it. They wanted the Russian embassy to translate the documents and certify them. Well, I don't know if you have ever dealt with Russians, but it just doesn't work that way. We called the Russian Embassy and their phone tree had three options. None of which fit our set of circumstances, however that didn't really matter because no matter what we selected, it just hung up on us!
We worked a few connections and got two translations, one from Russia and one from Washington DC. Finally with only days to spare for bookin travel plans, we received our visas.
On to booking travel arrangements!
My husband comes to the travel office to book our flights. He gets informed that there is actually a twelve day window in which you must look for a flight and if in that window there is a military flight vs a commercial flight your family must fly the military flight. Well, wouldn't you know, DAY 12 there was a military flight! Darn! So my husband who is very savvy in these things says to the man and woman behind the desk, "Well, just move the travel up one day and then there isn't a military flight in the window!" We'd still be honoring the orders by flying in June and we'll be able to fly commercial!"
The man said, "Oh no! That's crazy talk! I'm not doing that #%^*. No way! I'm not getting fired for that ^%#*." The woman said, "Oh I'll do it. Transfer his case to me. I'll handle it."
Then, in a whisper, she leans across the counter and says to my husband, "You know, we work for FOOD up in here."
"Food?" my husband says. "Like doughnuts? Or bagels?"
"Or chicken!" she whispers.
"Chicken?" he says in disbelief.
"MmmmHummmm! Chicken, bagels, it's all good!"
So my husband leaves the travel office and heads a block down the street directly to Church's Chicken and picks up two Deluxe Family buckets with four large sides and brings it back into the travel office. He sets it down on the counter and the two come right up to assist him.
"Oh yeah, I got you this time." says the hungry woman. "He'll get you next time!" referring to her coworker who wanted nothing to do with this #%^*. Later that day, Chris received a very nice email with all the details of our travel to Naples!
And that is how we got our travel booked! You want good travel service? Just show up with food the first time!