American Airlines charging troops for extra baggage
We have talked a lot of late about the cost-cutting measures of airlines, everything from eliminating meals, beverages and additional luggage to charging for headphones, blankets and pillows. American Airlines is now charging war-zone bound soldiers for extra baggage. In theory, the soldiers can be reimbursed by the military for the cost, but they have to fill out special forms and reimbursement is not immediate. Not to mention it is probably the last thing they are thinking about on the front lines.
American Airlines is charging troops for their extra baggage, a practice that forces soldiers heading for a war zone in Iraq to try to get reimbursement from the military. One of the country's largest veterans groups is asking the aviation industry to drop the practice immediately. American, which recently charged two soldiers from Texas $100 and $300 for their extra duffel bags, said it gives the military a break on the cost for excess luggage and that the soldiers who incur the fees are reimbursed. "Because the soldiers don't pay a dime, our waiver of the fees amounts to a discount to the military, not a discount to soldiers," said Tim Wagner, spokesman for American Airlines. "Soldiers should not have to pay a penny of it."
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) spokesman Joseph Davis said service members destined for Iraq should not have to spend the money out of pocket and should not have to worry about filing expense forms in a war zone. "That's a lot to ask when the service member has much more important things on their minds, such as staying alive and keeping those around them alive," he said.
The VFW is asking the Air Transport Association (ATA) to urge member airlines to exempt military personnel traveling on official orders from all excess-baggage fees. "This should not be a very difficult decision to make," Mr. Davis said.