The United States Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense. This distinction probably wasn’t what a U.S. Airways employee had in mind when refusing to waive Jennifer’s baggage fees, though. Jennifer was returning to her station from a trip to visit family, but the employee insisted that she had to pay a baggage fee like civilians do, because the Coast Guard isn’t part of the military. A manager agreed, but they were both wrong. Jennifer didn’t need to pay to check her bags, and members of the Coast Guard have served in just about every war in American history. They certainly are part of the military.
I had a flight booked home today through US Airways. I am a member of the US Coast Guard and was returning to my station from visiting family. While doing the self check in at the kiosk, I got to baggage and clicked the button for military. It said to see an attendant so that the baggage fee could be waived. So I found an attendant. She took my military ID and then told me I was not military. She said “You’re Coast Guard. If you were military, you’re ID would say
‘Military.’ Yours says ‘Uniformed Services.'”
I explained to her that was inaccurate and that the CG is a branch of the military (all IDs say Uniformed Services). She insisted it is not and told me “the services are Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines”. She then went to speak to a manager. She said the manager also said it’s not and she then picked up the phone to call someone about it. I told her I had the baggage fee waived on my flight at the beginning of the trip and she said “Well whoever did that for you was wrong and you should have paid for your checked baggage.”
I started to feel offended that she’s telling me I’m not in the military and explained this to her, she continued to be rude and insist the CG was not military. I said “I can’t tell you what your policy says for baggage fees, but I can tell you the CG is a branch of the military and if CG is not included, you need to change what your policy says to reflect that the free checked bag is not for ALL military.”
In the end, whoever she called on the phone told her she was “not sure” and she would have to look it up, but to go ahead and waive my baggage fee for now. The woman did so with obvious resentment towards it. I cannot believe how rude she was.
It is the first time I have ever felt offended by how I was treated. I proudly serve my country as an active duty member of the Coast Guard.
Well, we thank you for your service, Jennifer, and will pass along this link that you sent to any airline personnel who happen to be reading this site.
Not all of the Uniformed Services are part of the Armed Forces, but the opposite is true.