Delta Airlines boosts military free checked bags

Wed Jun 8, 2011 5:13pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - Delta Airlines has increased the number of free bags active duty military can check after soldiers returning from Afghanistan said they had to pay to check bags, some containing weapons used in the conflict.

Troops traveling in coach class can now check four items without paying an extra fee. The limit had been three. Those traveling in first or business class can now check five bags.

The policy change came after soldiers posted a video on YouTube to publicize their complaint. Soldiers identifying themselves as Staff Sgts. Fred Hilliker and Robert O'Hair said on the video made during a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta that Delta charged them for some luggage, including for weapons they said were used during the conflict.

Hilliker and O'Hair said in the video that even though their military orders said they could carry four pieces of luggage, Delta charged them $200 for the extra luggage, an expense the soldiers had to cover on the spot.

The unit had to pay as much as $2,800, the soldiers said.

Delta apologized on its blog, saying that there had been a miscommunication.

"Our men and women in uniform deserve ultimate flexibility when they travel, on orders especially," Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told Reuters."

Durrant said that Delta had contacted the individuals involved and was working to compensate them, perhaps with vouchers.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune)