First Lieutenant John Rader, a National Guardsman, claims he was hit with a $200 charge for an overweight bag fee on his return flight from overseas deployment.
According to Rader, he had to pay $200 to get his military-issued duffel bag on a United Airlines flight out of El Paso, Texas while making his way home from serving 21 months in Afghanistan this past Monday.
United Airlines’ official policy is that active military personnel can travel with up to five bags for free, but each bag must be 70 pounds or lighter. Rader’s military-issued included a Kevlar vest, two helmets, and boots. All are items he wore while in Afghanistan.
Via Fox 7:
While preparing to board a United flight from El Paso Monday night, he was told his bag was too heavy to qualify under the airlines’ free military baggage policy.
“I was told point blank that I’d have to pay $200 for the overage or find another bag to siphon stuff off with,” said Rader. “Well, I didn’t have another bag so I was caught in a bind, do I go home without my stuff or without it?”
“There was no empathy to the situation. I’m not looking for sympathy, but some form of empathy in the situation. There was none of that. It was just cold. I had to either pay or leave the bag.” he said.
Rader reluctantly paid the fine. He says another soldier traveling with him had to pay as well.
You can read United’s full policy on military personell here.