After Staging, our next step was to get to country. There was 58 of us flying together form JFK to Vienna and then on to Chișinău.
We took a bus from our hotel in Philadelphia to JFK, where we waited to check-in for our flight. Austrian Airlines was super helpful and opened up a ticketing line just for us.
There were lots of discussions about our luggage as Austrian Airlines has a requirement on its website for carry-on luggage size and weight (less than 17lbs) as well as the standard requirements for checked bags (only 2 bags, less than 50lbs and total dimension not to exceed 62 inches). I couldn’t figure out why there was a requirement beyond making sure that people were not carrying on bags that should be checked. At the check-in desk, the attendants only asked to see our carry on and didn’t weigh our carry-on or our personal item.
Now, after flying with Austrian Airlines and seeing weight limit signs on the overhead bins, I think the issue is the risk that a few carry-on bags in one overhead bin may exceed the overhead bin’s maximum weight limit. So note for future fliers on Austrian Airlines, your personal item can weigh any amount as long as it fits under the seat and the carry-on should meet the size requirement for a carry-on but I wouldn’t stress much about the weight of it.
Our flight to Vienna was to be 8 hours; however, we landed early and found ourselves with extra time in the Vienna Airport. We walked the airport, grabbed snacks and changed into more professional clothes to meet our Moldovan contacts. I was able to view a VR content piece from Austrian Airlines about flying in business class. Interesting to find this new technology being used by the airlines.
Our flight from Vienna to Chisinau was a short trip and as we landed we could see the luscious, green landscape of Moldova. We arrived in Moldova to be greeted by the Peace Corps Moldova staff as well as current Peace Corps Volunteers. It was wonderful to have people clapping and greeting us with such big smiles.
My new friend, Michael P, had received the wonderful book “Oh! the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss as a Bon Voyage gift from his mom. She had filled it with blank pages for his friends to sign; such a wonderful idea and an inspirational story that I have always loved.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.