American Airlines Thinks It's "Generous" To Charge A $100 Excess Baggage Fee To Soldiers

Let’s say you are in the military and have to undergo some training before you are deployed to Iraq to fight in a war. Let’s also say that this training requires to you bring 3 bags of equipment. If the airline you’re flying charges a $100 “excess baggage” fee, but waives the $15 first checked bag fee, and the $25 second checked bag fee… is that “generous?”

American’s policy allows military personnel “one checked 100-pound duffel-type bag, one standard checked 50-pound suitcase and one standard carry-on suitcase of up to 40 pounds.” They’re getting “a total of 190 pounds of free luggage,” said airline spokesman Tim Wagner, in an e-mail to the El Paso Times.

Staff Sgt. Ashley Serrano doesn’t see it that way. He says that other airlines see his uniform and waive their baggage fees. “I have flown Southwest, Continental, and when they saw me in uniform, they didn’t even ask,” Serrano said. “I flew American a couple of times before, but I never had this problem.”

Serrano said he was confronted Friday at the El Paso International Airport with a demand for $100 for his third bag, and when he mentioned he was headed for Camp Bowie – where Texas Army National Guard soldiers train before deployment – he said they told him, without a smile, that the Army should have given him a voucher. Serrano’s fellow soldier and traveling companion had three extra bags and was charged $300, he said.

“I am not aware of any ability by our agents to waive an excess baggage fee, even for military personnel – since they already have the common checked bag fees waived in our policy,” [an American Airlines spokesperson] said. “Otherwise, our policy is very generous as you can see, and intentionally so. We’re very proud of our military forces – and many of our employees began their flying careers with the military – so we’re pleased to be able to help.”

Serrano doesn’t seem to think the policy is generous.

“You couldn’t fit it all into two (checked) bags if you tried,” he told the paper.

Airline baggage fees hit soldier flying out of El Paso for training [El Paso Times] (Thanks, Gabe!)
(Photo: benh57 )