NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Delta Airlines increased it its free checked baggage allotment for U.S. Military personnel today after U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan took to YouTube to complain about being charged $2,800 to check bags onto a flight.
Now, soldiers on active duty can check up to four bags free of charge when flying coach and up to five bags free of charge when flying in first and business class. The change also applies to dependents traveling with active military on orders.
Delta made the change to its baggage policy after several soldiers returning from active duty in Afghanistan took to YouTube to express their dissatisfaction with having to pay out of pocket for additional baggage their military orders authorized them to carry.
According Staff Sgts. Robert O'Hair and Fred Hilliker, who filmed the video on board their Delta flight, soldiers traveling with a fourth bag were required by the airline to pay a $200 baggage fee out-of-pocket, despite what the soldiers said is an agreement between the government and Delta to allow soldiers to carry four bags.
In the video, O’Hair says that the fourth bag he was charged for contained the weapon that he used to “protect myself and Afghan citizens while I was deployed in the country."
Previously, Delta's policy allotted three free checked bags in coach and four in first and business class for military members traveling on orders.
American Airlines, U.S. Airways and the recently merged United and Continental all have similar baggage policies to Delta in regards to military personnel.
Prior to its formal change in policy, Delta apologized for the incident.
“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,” a spokesperson from Delta wrote on the company’s blog after the video was posted. “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.”
The apology did little to quell public outrage as U.S. residents posted comments of support on the video’s YouTube page.