Much has been made of airlines charging for checked baggage. Most people have grudgingly accepted this trend with a “what else can we do” shrug.
What else can we do indeed. It seems that even soldiers on their way to a war zone are not immune from these charges. Military personnel have been hit with fees as they have tried to check heavy rucksacks for flights overseas. Some airlines, like American Airlines, have made allowances for troops, letting them check twice as much baggage as average passengers.
Also, the military is supposed to issue passes exempting troops traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan from baggage charges. Apparently, though, these aren’t reaching everyone.
According to a CNN report, many soldiers have been charged as much as $100 to check their rucksacks and field kits. American Airlines, for one, has promised a refund for those who had to pay up front.
I wonder how long it will take for that $100 to get to the war zone and how much longer it will take the soldier to cash the check.
The VFW has been lobbying the Air Transport Association of America to wave the fees, but a spokesman responded by saying that the organization had no control over the baggage fees charged by individual airlines.