US travellers in need of urgent assistance can get help at the nearest McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the country
Losing a passport during your travels might be truly stressful. Usually, it requires finding out where the local embassy is and how to file for new travel documents.
However, United States citizens visiting Austria now have a much easier solution should they find themselves in such a situation. They can simply enter the nearest McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the country, report the incident, and get help.
The reason why McDonald’s has been selected for such a role is that McDonald’s is widely known among US citizens. Its restaurants are scattered around the whole country which makes the assistance for distressed travellers more accessible.
To announce the new measure, the US Embassy Vienna shared a post on its official Facebook page stating that the US ambassador to Austria, Trevor D. Traina, signed an agreement with the country’s McDonald’s chief, Isabelle Kuster. The Austrian McDonald’s restaurants will now serve as mini-embassies.
According to the Facebook post, visitors can enter a McDonald’s to “report a lost or stolen passport” or simply “to seek travel assistance” from today, 15 May.
The fast-food chain staff will also assist those in “distress” in making “contact with the US embassy for consular services.”
“We were approached with the request by the US Consulate. Firstly, because of the brand’s great fame among Americans, and secondly, because there are a lot of branches in Austria,” McDonald’s spokesman Wilhelm Baldia told the Independent.
He added that the aid team at McDonald’s will assist Americans in calling the 24/7 embassy hotline. However, the issuance of new passports or other similar consular services will exclusively remain at embassies and consulates.