In a move sure to capture the ire of Americans across the country, Delta Airlines has charged American troops returning from Afghanistan via Baltimore Washington International Airport $2,800 ($200 each) in extra baggage fees. There’s a video from soldier Robert O’Hair, explaining the situation, with which he is clearly not happy.
According to the soldiers in the video, a military contract between the U.S. and Delta says that four bags should be covered for travel without extra fees. However, this has not been acknowledged by Delta. One soldier who had to pay extra did so for a bag of weapons.
Delta has come forward with a statement apologizing and expressing deep respect and admiration for “the men and women who fight every day for our country.” But at the end of the day it’s about dollars, it seems…they add, seemingly ignorant to any sort of PR situation, that they will waive extra baggage fees for four bags in first and business class and three in coach. The implication, of course, is that anything extra will be charged for:
Currently, Active Duty U.S. Military Personnel traveling on orders may check up to 4 bags in First/Business class and 3 bags in Coach for free both domestically and internationally. Additionally, to help with the travel process, we allow each bag to weight an extra 20 pounds over the standard allowance. You can read more on this policy on delta.com.
While there’s no mention of a specific redress or repayment, Delta says, “We are currently looking further into the situation, and will be reaching out to each of [the soldiers] personally to address their concerns and work to correct any issues they have faced.”
Tough times for the airline industry, huh?
Update: Delta has changed its policy:
After careful consideration, effective immediately, U.S. military personnel traveling on orders in First Class and BusinessElite can check up to five bags at no charge and 4 bags in economy class. This change also adds dependents traveling with active military on orders. Each bag may weigh up to 70 lbs. (32 kg) and measure up to 80 linear inches (203 cm), which offers added flexibility over the standard 50 lbs. and 62 linear inches (157 cm) allotment. Because of weight, balance and space constraints, Delta Connection carriers will accept up to four bags at no charge. You can read the updates to the travel policy on delta.com.
Delta also says “we’re continuing to work with the soldiers individually to make this situation right for each of them.”