Delta 'Welcomes' U.S. Soldiers Home With Steep Luggage Fees

Kim Conte

delta planeYou think you're pissed off about airlines charging exorbitant baggage fees -- check out what happened to 34 Army troops who just returned from Afghanistan on Delta.

According to the soldiers (two of whom posted a video on YouTube with their complaints), their orders allowed them to bring four bags on board for free. But Delta only allows three for free in coach -- anything over three bags, you have to pay for. All together, the troops ended up paying almost $3,000 in baggage fees out of their own pocket (which may be reimbursed by the military depending on their orders). Still.

Really, Delta?

A Delta spokesperson defended the airline's decision, explaining that its standard policy is to offer "active duty U.S. Military personnel traveling on orders up to four complimentary checked bags in First/Business class, and three complimentary checked bags in coach." But let's consider what's in those "fourth" checked bags, shall we? According to one soldier:

It was a weapons case holding my grenade launcher and a 9 millimeter, the tools that I used to protect myself and the Afghan citizens while I was deployed in the country.

As a rule, airlines shouldn't have to eat the cost of excess baggage. But in this case -- especially when we're talking about servicemen and women coming home from war -- maybe an exception could be made?

For its part, Delta has issued an apology to the soldiers saying:

... we would like to publicly apologize to those service men and women for any miscommunication regarding our current policies as well as any inconvenience we may have caused. We are currently looking further into the situation, and will be reaching out to each of them personally to address their concerns and work to correct any issues they have faced. 

But this is merely an acknowledgment that the soldiers had been misinformed about the airline's standing policy; it sounds like any returning troops are still going to have to pay.


Image via Andrei Dimofte/Flickr

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