Delta Charges Returning Soldiers For Extra Bags

WASHINGTON (AP) —  U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan posted a YouTube video complaining that they had to pay Delta Air Lines $2,800 out of pocket to check extra bags, prompting an onslaught of online comments critical of Delta and at least one boycott effort

The video went online late Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon — nearly 200,000 views later — Delta had posted a blog message saying it had revised its bag fee policy for troops. The airline had been allowing troops traveling coach class three free bags, but was imposing a $200 fee on a fourth bag. Now the Delta — in a statement attributed to an anonymous customer representative — says fourth bags will be free.

In the video, entitled “Delta airlines welcomes Soldiers home,” two soldiers who identified themselves as staff sergeants said their Army orders authorized them to bring up to four bags with them. After an 18-hour layover, they said they learned of the bag fees when they checked in at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Tuesday for a 7:15 a.m. flight to Atlanta.

One sergeant said his fourth bag was a weapons case containing an M4 carbine rifle, a grenade launcher and a 9 millimeter pistol that he had used in Afghanistan. The grenade launcher attaches to the rifle.

It’s not unusual for returning soldiers to check weapons when flying on a commercial airline if the weapons have been certified as unloaded, said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Washington office.

“A $200 bill for extra baggage by a government-contracted airline is the worst welcome home any soldier could receive,” Davis said. “We know this is a business issue and that the troops will be reimbursed if they are authorized additional baggage in their orders, but the shock of even being charged is enough to make most servicemen and women simply shake their heads and wonder who or what it is they are protecting.”

Army officials said Wednesday they were trying to identify the soldiers in the video and their unit. One sergeant in the video said the unit was returning from Afghanistan to Fort Polk in Louisiana.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • williejoe

    The only way you’re going to get your point across with these airlines, government tolls, rotten legislation such as illegals receiving tuition is to do a one day boycott of that airline, a mass drive & stop of traffic in the toll situation & a refusal of payment for tuition in advance in addition to picketing the campus. It takes work & coordination but the alternative is much worse.

  • Mike

    The army doesn’t dictate the airline policy. If other passengers are charged than everyone should be charged.
    Get reimbursed from the officials that stated they could have 4 bags!!

  • williejoe

    Most of these fliers are kids with little to no experience in the art of negoigation. They are 18-23 yrs of age & been shell shocked in combat for the most part. Our country which asked for them should now step in & insist that the airlines do right. I hate thoise pricks.

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