Gail Morgado

Gail Morgado is an Advocacy Project Peace Fellow working this summer with the Women in Black Network from Serbia, an AP partner organization in Belgrade, Serbia. She has recently finished her first year in the MSFS program at Georgetown University where she is concentrating in foreign policy and international security. In 2004, Gail received her BA in political science and Spanish with a minor in Portuguese at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She was awarded highest honors in political science for work as a Henry Rutgers Thesis Scholar researching Cuban-American relations and its influence in a transitional post-Castro regime. Selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Portugal, Gail served as an "ambassador of goodwill" from 2004-05 and earned a post-graduate diploma in European studies that specialized in the political economics of Euro integration and community law of the European Union. Here, she also organized fundraisers and community activities, which helped to raise AIDS awareness and to increase national literacy and educational standards in Portugal. Gail is working with Women in Black, a women`s feminist - anti-militarist peace organization that has been advocating against militarism, nationalism, war, sexism, and all forms of hatred, discrimination and violence since 1991. Gail will be working with this courageous group of women to further their mission of peace and justice in a post-conflict society.

“Lost in Translation”

27 Jul

“Sorry. The flight to Prague is closed. There is nothing we can do. Please walk to the other side of the terminal and speak with someone about rebooking a new ticket.”

As the Czech Airlines attendant plainly stared and unapologetically said these words to me and ten other people, I realized my trip to Belgrade was not going to be easy…

I had already struggled to make the flight from Newark to Brussels: Continental had been experiencing technical difficulties and personnel changes and what could have taken half an hour took two hours instead. I even had to chase down a supervisor at the other end of the airport in Newark just to beg her to allow me on the flight. Sprinting like a mad woman, I made it just in time to hear the flight’s last call for boarding.

Now, I was stuck in Brussels…

After two hours of roaming aimlessly through the airport, I finally found the tiny Continental ticket counter where I patiently waited my turn for another 2 ½ hours. Everyone else had found a flight that day to Prague. I was the only one whose final destination (Belgrade) posed a problem. Czech Air only scheduled one flight per day to Belgrade from Prague, and that flight was long gone. Because I had used frequent flier miles to purchase my flight, no other airline would take me.

My only option was to leave the next day…

This would have been great—if the flight the next day to Belgrade hadn’t also been canceled. All flights were full thereafter. What now? I was stuck. Continental Airlines in Houston Headquarters said there was nothing to be done. They would return my miles to me and send me back to New Jersey. What? This couldn’t be possible!

My only saving grace was Danijela, the Continental representative, who went above and beyond to try to help find me a way to Belgrade. Not only did she help me find a hotel, but also she showed me around Belgium and eased my anxiety by promising me she would find a way to Belgrade. Danijela followed through on her promise and persistently called everyone she knew.

After several hours, Aeroflot, the Russian Airlines, agreed to take me as their passenger. I was re-routed to Moscow and finally arrived to Belgrade Friday morning, 62 hours after my departure from Newark. Needless to say my bags also had a fun trip—they arrived two hours after I did on a flight from Milan.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this: First, always fly with caution when flying with frequent flier miles. Second, leave more than one hour layover when connecting international flights. Third, and most importantly, always pack a change of clothes and a toothbrush – because you never know when you’ll see yourself acting like Tom Hank’s in “The Terminal.”

Posted By Gail Morgado

Posted Jul 27th, 2007


  • Mary

    July 17, 2007


    Gail! I’m so glad you finally made it all the way to Belgrade — word around the office is that you are busy busy (really hit the ground running, like you said!) and enjoying yourself. I hope this is all true and you are having great experiences and meeting wonderful people (those women you describe in your blog really do seem “fiercely” independent and powerful) — keep us all posted!

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