Delta changes baggage fee for military after outrage

June 8, 2011 1:30:24 PM PDT
Delta is changing its rules because of an incident involving U.S. soldiers that sparked outrage over the internet.

Two Staff Sgts. returning from Afghanistan on military orders did not get the welcome home they were expecting.

They were forced to pay out of their own pockets to check their military gear. The story coming to light after the soldiers posted their experience on YouTube.


U.S. Army Staff Sgts. Fred Hilliker and Robert O'hair pulled out their cell phone camera and recorded their story from their seats midflight from Baltimore to Atlanta yesterday.

Both steaming mad after having to each pay an extra $200 dollars out of their own pockets to check their military bags.

The men were traveling on orders with their unit, 34 members in all. They all thought they could check up to four bags, but when arrived, a Delta agent told them the fourth bag was not included and the cost would have to come out of their pockets. A total cost of $2,800 for the entire unit.

Some bags were holding weapons that the soldiers used to protect themselves with.

Once the video was posted, it set off a storm of criticism against Delta airlines.

The airline apologized and said it was sorry for any misunderstanding. A spokesperson wrote that U.S. Military personal traveling on orders can check up to four bags but only when traveling in first or business class.

Three bags is the limit when traveling in coach. Other airlines, like United and U.S. Airways, have similar policies. A spokesman for the military told a CNN affiliate any extra bag fees charged by the airlines will be reimbursed by the government.

But that does not help Delta with it current public relations problem.

On its blog the carrier said it deeply respects and admires men and women in uniform and added that it has worked hard to ensure that military personnel get "additional flexibility" when they travel on the carrier.