DENVER (CBS4)- Delta Airlines has changed its luggage policy regarding U.S. Servicemen and women. The policy change comes after soldiers returning from Afghanistan claim the airline charged them hundreds of dollars in extra baggage fees.

Staff Sgt. Robert O’Hair of Lochbuie is one of the soldiers expressing his displeasure with Delta Airlines. He told CBS4 by phone the response to the YouTube videos is unexpected.

The soldiers said they just “wanted to vent.”

O’Hair and other members of his unit were on the final leg of their return from Afghanistan, taking a Delta flight from Baltimore to Atlanta to get back to Fort Polk, La.

They were told they had to pay an extra $200 for a fourth bag as excess luggage.

This is a portion of their conversation that appeared on YouTube:

“What was that fourth bag for you, for me it was a weapons case holding my M-4 203 grenade launcher and 9mm, tools I used to protect myself and Afghan citizens while I was deployed,” said O’Hair.

“Good business model, Delta. Thank you. We’re actually happy to be back in America. God bless America. Not happy, not happy at all. Appreciate it, thank you,” said Staff Sgt. Frederick Hilliker.

Delta Airlines issued this statement, “We would like to publicly apologize to those servicemen and women for any miscommunications regarding our current policies. We will be reaching out to each of them to address the concerns.”

The airline officially changed its policy regarding U.S. servicemen and women Wednesday morning. The policy allows one additional bag for soldiers traveling under orders.

Comments (114)
  1. Carl says:

    When a military member returns from a deployment, he fills out a travel voucher, where he lists the expenses he had. After it is processed, he will get re-imbursed for the baggage fee.

  2. su winn says:

    Delta is horrible with their greed. It has taken them a long time to acknowledge this huge mistake. Mind you, they did not want to but could bear all the bad publicity.
    Personally, I think all active duty soilders should fly free and all their bags!
    They are the only one defending this Country. Certainly not D.C. folks.

  3. Jim Drake says:

    About 50 years ago I was flying in uniform on an Eastern Airline flight and they up graded me to first class. I have never forgotten that kindness and told everone about how nice they were. Then on a Continental flight about 25 years ago I was again flying in uniform and because I had a red eye ticket they said I couldn’t have a meal yet they served both people next to me. I have also never forgotten that and to this day I will not fly Continental and I have told many people about that and they don’t fly Continental. This Delta $200 stunt is far reaching more than they realize. Delta wake up you just lost another customer.

  4. Airman Somebody says:

    These aren’t Obama’s rules or doing people. The POTUS is not to blame. Our DoD and Congress bit off on this deal that was in practice before Obama took office. I’ve been in the AF for over 11 yes and anytime I’ve flown anywhere on orders I’ve had to pay for my excess luggage. I agree we shouldn’t pay which is why the gov’t subsidizes our gear when we fly.

    Two tours in the mIddle east and each time I went I took eight bags. My ordera had amendments that stated I was authorized eight bags for all my Pro Gear and subsequently I was reimbursed. No issues.

    These Soldiers weren’t educated on the process and they disgraced Army by posting such a petty video. Be happy you made it back to the states where you’re privileged enough too fly in defense of your country. Service Before Self is one of my Core Values and we as a country have departed from that sentiment for far too long. Sad!

    Airmen Somebody

  5. Grenade Man says:

    Miscommunication? There wasn’t one. Delta was just trying to fleece our warriors as they get home, tired but happy to be here…then they face this rapacious company who insensitively try and get rich out of the poor fate of a soldier having to ride on that piece of grunt that Delta has become.

  6. Jim Drake says:

    Delta you are very sick. Go back to school and learn what the military did for this nation…. $200.00 for a bag? That’s not a baggage fee. It’s a total rip off. I have sent your rip off story to everone I know. Delta, you need to fire the person that dreamt up your scheme to charge $200 for military personnel flying on your airliner. The next time you are at one of your fat cat coctail parties instead of shafting military you should be thinking of how to repay the men and women who give their lives for this country. Don’t know how? This is how you do it. Any military man or women flying in uniform on Delta should get a 25% discount on their ticket if meals are served they should be free to military and an upgrade to first class if a seat is available. Why don’t you try and be a good american instead of how to shaft the military. You don’t have any problem taking bailout money. I’m totally ashamed of you Delta and you have lost my business and I hope everone I can tell about your sleezy scam. I guess your so high you couldn’t think of the service men who have to be on food stamps and can’t afford to pay yous rip off baggage fee. Charge a $1,000.00 a bag if you want for people who want to fly. That’s their choice. BUT not the military who are forced to fly because of their job. Serving our nation and keeping it free. Think about what you have done and get out of your big fancy glass office. They shoulldn’t owe you. You own them or have you gotten to high that you forgot what is making this country free. Don’t forget these are the service men who are dying for this nation. Delta you’re sick, sick, sick and this should have never happened in the first place. The people who dreamt up this military man rip off in the first place should be FIRED. Don’t know if you have figured it out but by treating service men with respect and kindness that they would tell their familles and friends and Delta would probably make more money than the rip off baggage fee is putting in your fat cat wallets. .

  7. Dutch says:

    Stop with the crocodile tears. The additional bags were crammed full of personal items that they had purchased in Afghanistan. They should have sent the stuff home instead of whining like a bunch of schoolgirls when they were asked to pony up like everyone else has to. Crybabies.

  8. Kolbe Wolfe says:

    Fix the quote, it’s “M4 [an assault rifle], [M]203 grenade launcher [attachment], and 9mm….”

    There is no M4 203 grenade launcher. It’s an M4 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher attachment.

  9. Kamon says:

    Thankyou for your service all men and women of our armed forces . It immediately raised my ire reading about this. Anyone traveling with a uniform is a comfort to my heart.

  10. smileyguy says:

    Having been a Delta frequent flyer for many years now, I can tell you that for the most part, customer service agents try to take care of military (with Delta’s blessing), especially when being deployed or returning home. I have seen countless times military being checked in and never a question of how many bags or the weight. I’ve always been impressed at how the agents treat the military, so I hope that this incident is just a fluke, Delta will make it right, and that deserving soldiers will be treated as they should be, with utmost respect.

  11. Brian says:

    Every employee is responsible for and should follow policy. I’m sure it is also policy that if a situation arises outside the control of that employee that a supervisor be brought in. Soldiers returning not from training but directly from a war zone to home for the first time in awhile might be a good reason to get a supervisors opinion on the matter. Hopefully there pilots are trained well enough to seek assistance on a matter when needed then just following exactly what is says in a handbook.

  12. DG says:

    It’s not delta’s responsibility at all. The US government should cover the cost or make sure the soldiers can follow orders.

  13. wwd says:

    So, was Delta hoping to rip off tax payers if the soldiers get paid back their travel expenses?

    Of were they just ripping off the troops?

    Either way, Delta should be facing massive fines for this.

  14. Freddylee says:

    Regardless of what happened, Delta or the soldiers…………it’s Bush’s fault.

  15. SSG JGarrett says:

    I as a Soldier still do not understand this whole deal, I have been deployed and flew on a charter flight there and back. All weapons and other bags not needed where shipped separately either in shipping containers with all unit equipment. I even mailed items home that i paid out of pocket and then was reimbursed. So my confusion is why these particular Soldiers had all this equipment.

    I would not have even wanted to carry all this gear and would have found some other alternate shipping method. When i got home I did not want to worry about a bunch of bags I had to gather and get to my transportation , I wanted to see my family and go.

    In my view there is something more disturbing in why these Soldiers were required to carry all this gear.

  16. ted siok says:


  17. Denny says:

    GW did not fly somewhere everyday like the Obomanation does and he did not rent foreign countries for his bi-monthly vacations

  18. Richard_FL says:

    This whole situation is absurd at best…………….Delta should be ashamed of themselves as should any carrier that would have the nerve to charge our brave service men and woman one dime for anything.

    I have a better idea…………..if Delta thinks they need to make money off the luggage of our returning military, how about they send a bill to Obama and his cast of idiots……………..they seem to have plenty of money to throw around the world for any cause de jeur!!

  19. Matt says:

    As a civilian I fly for business. Generally I see the airlines treating service men and women very well. I fly American a lot and if there are seats available in 1st class they give them to servicemen. I don’t think Delta went out of their way to make servicemen miserable. They had a contract with the U.S. government that allowed for 3 bags. I flew Delta recently and I had to pay $25 to check one bag. So I think 3 bags for free seems like a good deal. If the new policy allows for 4 bags, I guess the next thing we’ll hear is that some service man will complain when they charge him for his 5th checked bag. I would assume the service folks will be able to fill out an expense report and get reimbursed by the government for the 4th bag charge anyway. However I’ll admit I don’t know how that works for military people.

  20. Jimmy says:

    Is the CEO of Delta a military veteran? Why didn’t the CEO step forward, admit the company’s mistake, take responsibiliy and announce the corrective policy? Perhapes the CEOs should accept the high standards of the ancient code of Bushido. A catastrophic “loss of face” would mean there is only one honor saving ceremony……seppuku…

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      Ummm – he did. They reversed the charges and changed the policy. Again – no one wants to follow the real story. Just bash Delta. Sad.

  21. Pammie says:

    I will NEVER fly on a maggot Delta plane again. Got rid of Exxon. Got rid of BP. NEXT?

    1. Toothless Dawg says:

      Good, it will be a pleasant trip not having to listen to your whining and complaining. Thanks … idiot

  22. Marc says:

    How about discounted first class accommodations, free bags and drinks for ALL United States Servicemen and Servicewomen?? I think they deserve it. If it wasn’t for them, Delta wouldn’t have the ability to gouge every other paying customer – even though all the other paying customers bailed them out after 9/11 with $15 billion in tax payer dollars.

  23. david says:

    all their bags should be free on all airlines. for what they all do for your country, this is a no brainer

    1. Andy says:

      All Bags should be free on ALL airlines REGARDLESS of who the traveler is. It used to be that way in the not too distant pass.

      If travelers start using this and the TSA as reasons to NOT fly on those POS planes, then the attitudes of the corporations will quickly change.

      But until then.

      baaa baaaaa baaaaaaaaaa

  24. airforcedave says:

    For those of you that think it would be smarter to use the Air Force cargo planes to transport back personel and equipment, you’re right. However, it actually costs America more money in order to do that and at the current time those aircraft are being used to transport equipment downrange and back to home station. Delta employees were just doing as they were told and the DoD should have had this figured out a long time ago. The important thing is that both parties have figured out what to do for the next time so that it will be a much easier transition for the next group to go in or out.

  25. Izzy812 says:

    I don’t understand what the problem is…pay it on your government issued credit card and then claim it on your travel voucher. I used to have the same issues when I deployed. This isn’t anything new and it doesn’t come out ot any serviceman’s pocket in the end…stupid story

    1. Sandra says:

      Not EVERYONE has a Government credit card. This hits Junior Enlisted, as well as Reservists and National Guard the hardest. If you do not have the cash, or a personal credit card, or a personal credit card with enough “open” on it to charge the fees, you can be SOL.

      Also, other personnel with a Government credit card by regulations/instructions CANNOT pay for other people using their Government card. So your suggestion that the “Troop Commander” (highest ranking person in the troop movement) use their Government card is ILLEGAL. I know of more than one Senior NCO that has given an Art. 15 for travel voucher violations, for doing exactly that. (No good deed goes unpunished)

      1. Izzy812 says:

        I am not sure what service you were in but the AF issued all members a credit card as part of their mobility package. And as a SNCO I would have paid for any one of my guys stuff and then gotten it back from them. You just go to the ATM machine and give them cash to pay the fee. Finance can be a pain about reimbursements for another member you are correct about that. But I never saw one TC or SNCO get an Art. 15 for helping someone on a TDY…its just a complete pain in the arse to get the money back.

  26. snapperman says:

    Delta is not an agency of the federal government. The US military should be paying the cost for the baggage, not Delta.

    1. Neo48 says:

      who pays the military?

      oh yeah. The taxpayer.

      So, yes, Delta IS stealing from the taxpayer.

  27. Odins Acolyte says:

    Another way to steal from the taxpayer. Delta: just like the Feds only legal.

  28. bound2drift says:

    This wasn’t Delta’s fault. Delta had a contract with the Army that allowed 3 bags without charge. Was $200 excessive for the 4th bag? Probably, but that was the agreement with the Army. The soldiers should have been made aware of this by the Army, the real culprit in this. And I’m pretty sure 2 bags is plenty for a soldier to pack clothes in, so 2 plus the weapons bag seems perfectly reasonable.

    1. CEC2 says:

      You take your weapon into a combat zone and it leaves with you. It is issued to you at your home base.

      You say 2 bags is enough. Have you seen the list of items that you are required to take with you? The list is a mile long. To get it all in 2 bags, they would be too big for the airline to accept.

      1. Deb says:

        Doubtful that bound2drift knows what they are talking about when they say 2 bags are enough.

      2. Jason W says:

        I have been deployed six times since 2003 and I have never needed more than 2 bags and a weapons case, and anything above and beyond that was shipped in shipping containers that the unit sent over separately. I have had times where I was never charged for my bags and there have been times where I was and the government reimbursed me – NO BIG DEAL!!!

    2. Izzy812 says:

      Sorry, but you have no idea what your talking about. You carry what your requirement is and it fits in what it fits. Thank god the AF started issuing body armor in the AOR instead of making us carry in back and forth…that was another bag.

    3. bound2drift says:

      Sorry, but if the Army requires so much gear to be transported, then they shouldn’t be contracting with a civilian airliner to transport it. And they shouldn’t be signing contracts that leave the soldiers paying for it. So, like I said, it’s the Army’s fault, not Delta’s. I hope Delta sticks the Army with a nice fat bill for this.

  29. George says:

    I am shocked by some of these comments. Good thing the soldiers put thier life on the line for us. You people need to remember your comments the next time you get on a plane with some idiot who wants to turn it into a guided missle. Maybe the airlines should remember they are part of the reason these men and women are over there.

    1. MOMOFFOUR says:

      AMEN GEORGE !!! Calling fellow soldiers whiney complainers, do people realize , they are young , stressed and not loaded with money when the travel. I heard a son had to call home for his mom to put extra baggage charges on her credit card . yes , she was reembursed , but why put these men and women through this ? As for the old time Veterans , God Bless you all, but today these soldiers carry, computers, and equiptment we can’t even imagine. The Unites States isn’t what it used to be !

      1. Deb says:

        TOTALLY agree with you both! I can guarantee I wouldn’t have been as civil as these soldiers were. I can’t understand people calling these guys whiney either. Delta may have the contract but let Delta directly bill the government for the extra bags and not inconvenience these guys anymore than they already have been inconvenienced. They were a reserve group that had already put their lives on hold.

      2. Izzy812 says:


        I carried four bags many times and I was always charged for the excess bags…your in the military and they issue you a credit card for these reasons. They need to pay the fee and put back on their travel voucher…life is hard but this is an easy fix. Claim it, they will pay you back. USAF MSgt, RET 1985-2008

    2. Josh says:

      You may notice the “chocking” comments are being left by other tropps who know better. Each troop has a Govt. Travel Card, or their SNCO will, and will be fully reimbursed.

      1. Robert S says:

        Well Josh, I have 21 years in and am currently deployed. I do not have a gov’t card nor does the other soldiers in my section. Some commanders are wise enough to see the dangers that cards bring towards clearances. And when the government pays travel vouchers on their own time, the hell with paying for it. I would call the IG long before I would get stuck with that.
        Plus I am sure Delta has gotten bailed out before or at least gets top dollar for “Joe’s” tickets so the hell with them too.

      2. George says:

        USMC Expeditionary 1985 – 1994 I never got a credit card.

  30. OldArmy says:

    What in the world are these troops hauling around that they need four bags?
    Do they still have class A uniforms or has our army gone the way of the homeless? Their travel, baggage fees included, are paid for by the government so whats the problem? Poor whinney troops.

    1. Sandra says:

      If they are in Afghanistan, Cold weather gear (one bag) Combat gear (amour, and the harness and all the gadgets) (one bag) their issued weapons (one bag since they have to be shipped, not carried aboard) and uniforms, extra pair of boots and personal toiletries (one bag). I know thins from MY deployments, my husband’s deployments and the recent deployment of our son. Three bags were JUST the issued gear.

      1. chow says:

        Thank you Sandra for clarifying to these people what you have to carry when you deploy. Also I might add that he body armor in itself is around 30 lbs I know that because I was present when my son deployed last and I wanted to help carry his bags. Also they carry other items in their backpacks.

    2. Neo48 says:

      Are you serious? How about YOU try and live on only 3 bags worth of “personal items” for a year half way around the world…… because the 4th bag is your weapons to keep you from being shot at.

      Maybe instead of whinning, you can sign up and get your rear end over in the combat zone yourself.

  31. MOMOFFOUR says:

    Lets leave out the the cursing ! Delta has always been an a better than avarage airline. They had the opportunity to act correctly to the brave men and women serving this country and didn’t . I don’t care about Delta , however I care about our military. Stop defending Delta and start defending our military. The DOD should make sure they get home without any stress and delta or any airline should take into account what these brave souls experience and make their travel back to the country they fight for freely comfortable and free of stress over baggage. Some of the soliders don’t have hundres of dollars in their pockets to dole out to a rich airline. GIVE ME A BREAK !!!!

    1. Josh says:

      Get your facts straight. Even if you “don’t care about Delta” you should at least care about the truth.

    2. olegunny says:

      Delta Airline is the bottom of the barrel. Do not fly this out sourcing outfit

  32. Garr Obo says:

    Delta has always completely sucked.

  33. Bobber says:

    Since when do you bring your weapons home from a combat zone?
    This was done during Vietnam but usually ended in jail time.

    1. Josh says:

      They are transporting them to their home station… not their “home”.

  34. Thomas Jones says:

    I think the real stories are being missed:
    1) after having spoken with several military people, 4 bags is the standard number of bags that they need to carry. These guys are NOT carrying souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower. This is their required gear and personal clothing. Who wrote this contract that Economy gets 3 and First Class gets 4 bags? Isn’t that the problem? Did the Army and/or DOD think that the majority were going to be traveling First Class? I dont know too many military men/women who travel First Class. My brother and 2 uncles never did. They flew in cargo planes, sitting on crates.
    2) Why is the US military trusting Delta crewmen to handle delicate weaponry? Isn’t this just crazy? Have you ever seen how they handle the luggage from the plane’s cargobay to the luggage vehicles near the hangar? They frequently get thrown 10-15 feet. Do we really want expensive weaponry handled this way?
    3) public outcry got a private company to change their perfectly legal and valid contract agreement into a more reasonable policy. Cheers to youtube. I think this was resolved in a very equitable way. I hope that Delta and the Pentagon take more care in making their contracts in the future.

  35. Josh says:

    This story is a classic example of media irresponsibility and ignorance on the populations part. Those whiny soldiers will not pay a dime out of pocket EVERY cent is reimbursed on their travel voucher and the DoD orders should have reflected the proper # of authorized bags per the contract; 3. Delta is an EXTREMELY military friendly company. I’ve gotten free 1st class upgrades when in uniform and an all-volunteer crew waited in Qatar 4 days on their own in order to get us back to the States. The media owes Delta a huge apology.

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      Amen Josh and thank you for your service. I live in Dallas, TX – home of American and South West and chose to fly Delta. I hate that this story has been so poorly handled by all reporting agencies and am saddened that two soldiers took it upon themselves to show a complete lack of judgment and understanding with the situation. Their video should have been addressed to the DoD but they know better than to bash the chain of command so they did the chicken thing and bashed a private company that was actually doing exactly what it was supposed to do.

      1. gary says:

        jeff are you a delta shareholder or an employee?

      2. Jeff Swartwout says:

        Gary, neither – I fly over 150,000 domestic miles per year. I know the REAL story on the airline industry – not just what I get from a video and poor reporting.

  36. Pat Erickson says:

    Regardless of how many bags you travel with, it’s a rip off when you see how your luggage is handled. I recently returned from a cruise and at the Miami airport, I was in a Delta waiting area and saw one of those conveyor lifts dropping bags right and left. It even took off with a two-suiter hanging off the side. It returned a couple minutes later with the bag still hanging. Then the worker lifted the bag away from what it was hung up on and just threw it up into the belly of the plane. All this time more and more people in the waiting area were gathering and a few were very upset when they saw “their” bag fall to the tarmac and get slammed back onto the machine. I only wish I had videoed this occuring so I could play it back to the ticket agent that charged me 60 dollars for my extra bags. RIP OFF!!!

  37. vet66 says:

    Jeff; Delta may have been correct in their interpretation of the agreement. However, it fails the “do the right thing” test when the company missed an opportunity to say thanks to our heroes.

    Like crossing a street on a green light without looking both ways I can be right – dead right. In this case, they put money over Patriotism and that is a PR nightmare for them. For a few bucks, it will cost them much more in lost revenue as punishment for missing an opportunity to be a Patriotic Company and support the troops. I am a Veteran and I have a good memory. I add Delta to the list of those companies who are out of touch with their customers. I read many stories where customers in First Class give up their seats as a way of saying thanks to our military.

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      See – that is the problem. Had Delta waived this fee (went beyond the contract) which they did for quite a while at their own cost there would have been no video saying “wow Delta is great” and you wouldn’t be saying “I have a great memory and will fly Delta”. Why? Because you wait for this one issue and base your whole judgment on it.

      Who wrote the orders, who signed the deal, who left these guys in a situation of confronting a PRIVATE company who was just following the agreement they had with the DoD? Delta shouldn’t be paying for this – we should be. Delta didn’t send our troops into war our DoD did and it is THEIR responsibility to bring them home via our tax dollars. If they cannot plan accordingly then the focus should be on them – not Delta.

      And again – I ask where your praise was when Delta did the charity for years with no praise? Aklso, just so you know – Delta actually upgrades them to first class quite a bit. No one giving up a seat – Delta doing it voluntarily. But you will only point out the people that give them up – not the instance that Delta gives it away many times. You are proving my logic.

      1. gary says:

        jeff, people like you make me really regret sacrificing the better years of my 20’s away from my friends and family … thanks jeff. thanks for your support.

      2. Jeff Swartwout says:

        Gary, service men and women like you who “expect’ free things for serving make me sad. You have my total support and total praise for serving. Had I been in line with these soldiers I would have pulled out my credit card and payed it all. But to expect a private company to manage military affairs without any hitches and then go online with a viral video shows poor judgment on their part. How do they get a pass and not Delta ? Where is the follow up thank you video now that the fees have been waived and the money returned to the soldiers. something Delta didn’t have to do.

        Its a pity – but thankfully a few other servicemen and women have expressed their feelings on this and and agree that Delta cannot be at sole or even primary blame on this.

        Thank you for trying to make me feel bad by voicing my free opinion. Looks like all that freedom you fought for and served for went to a great cause. Ridiculing a patriotic American speaking freely and honestly about a situation.

      3. Adog says:

        Jeff, you sound like a typical liberal a hole. Picking fights you can’t win. Show some respect you ignorant ass.

      4. actually says:

        Jeff doesn’t sound like a lib to me at all. As an active duty Marine myself I absolutely agree that Delta shouldn’t be cruixified for this. They made a mistake, they apologized and are making it right. When we’re traveling on orders it becomes a pain in the butt to have a beaurocratic system hold us up. That system may be a gov’t or a private one but its still aggrevating so I don’t blame these Army guys for being ticked about it. But service members need to gaurd ourselves and police our own when it comes to feeling entitled to stuff just because of what we do. I do it because I love it so I guess I’m just selfish like that.

      5. Jeff Swartwout says:

        A Dog – I have voted Republican / Libertarian my whole life. I am the definition of conservative and consider myself a patriotic American. Becasue you do not agree with me you can call me anything you want. It doesn’t make it true .

      6. Jeff Swartwout says:

        Actually, Thank you for your service and for your understanding. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  38. Gmony says:

    Why have limits on Bags returning from war! Delta you SUCK!!!!!

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      Why have soldiers haul 4 bags all the way home from the Middle east when we have military cargo planes? Again, I do not understand all the hate being aimed at Delta. They were following orders and they have given the money back.

      Why isn’t anyone questioning the DoD and their ability to get our soldiers and equipment home? They only have a multi-billion dollar budget to work with vs. an airline industry that is running on broke 99% of the time…..

      1. aplacky says:

        Thanks, Jeff, for adding some perspective. I likewise sympathize for the soldiers who were victimized by the DoD’s incompetent negotiations. If the DoD can’t accurately forecast the amount of baggage its soldiers will require to board and properly inform Delta that is no reason to throw Delta under the bus. You think check in lady had the authority to waive 2,800 in revenue?

      2. Sandra says:

        We simply do not have the AIRFRAMES to do that any more. Even with Viet Nam, commercial airlines were contracted to fly troop movements to and from the West Coast of the USA.

        There are only four bases in the USA that have LONG-HAUL military air transport, And a few overseas. There are only a few HUNDRED aircraft total, not nearly enough to move “hundreds” of people AND cargo. Most are already committed to hauling supplies and cargo into Afghanistan via an “air bridge” because there are FEW roads that can be used to haul everything in or out.

      3. David says:

        It’s also a hold back from the cold war, They never have done things that would make the airplanes more efficient moving heavy equipment for fear of “increasing tensions with Russia.”

        Instead of moving a tank division in months (water shipping) fly them in less than a week?

  39. Jeff Swartwout says:

    The contract allowed for THREE bags. Their orders said four bags. Now who is to blame for that? Not Delta – they do not issue orders, the DoD issues orders. So instead of blaming Delta why not blame the DoD? They shipped these boys over there and then didn’t make the proper accommodations to get them home without any issues.

    I fly Delta almost weekly. I love the arm chair quarterbacking that is going on. Anyone who thinks they treat our soldiers poorly hasn’t flown them. They bend over backwards to accommodate and care for them. This issue has even been resolved. Even though it wasn’t Delta’s fault they stepped up and corrected it and VOLUNTARILY gave the money back. They were under no contractual obligation to do so. So they fixed the situation and still the hate? And still no questions as to why the inefficient and incompetent DoD allowed this to happen…..

    1. Sandra says:

      No, the contract for troops deploying to, or returning from hostile fire / combat areas is four (4) bags. The Three (3) bags limit is ALL OTHER GOVERNMENT ORDERED travel.

      The Government DOES pay for the contracted seats. Because these are TROOP movements, not individual travel. Folks at TRANSCOM (Transportation Command, made up of personnel from all 4 branches) make the “travel arrangements” and a funding citation (like a check) is cut and paid directly to the airline(s).

      Where the trouble comes, is passenger service (check-in) personnel of the airlines NOT KNOWING the details, (an airline training and education problem) for higher ranking personnel, many DO have a Government credit card and DO put the fees on it. Junior Enlisted, many Reservists and National Guard DO NOT HAVE a Government credit card. So they have to PAY OUT OF POCKET with their own money FIRST and then file paperwork and wait up to 30 or 45 days to get repaid.

      1. Jeff Swartwout says:

        Hmmmm – according to Stars and Stripes “By Wednesday afternoon, although Delta had been following the terms of its contract with the government, the airline decided to amend its policy. Soldiers traveling in coach will now be allowed to check four bags free instead of three, the airline said in a statement.”

        Stars and Stripes “Stars and Stripes exists to provide independent news and information to the U.S. military community, comprised of active-duty, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families. Unique among the many Department of Defense authorized news outlets, only Stars and Stripes is guaranteed First Amendment privileges that are subject to Congressional oversight”

      2. DOH says:

        you are wrong Jeff, deal with it

      3. Jeff Swartwout says:

        DOH, Actually you are saying Stars and Stripes is wrong and I choose to believe them over “Sandra”. Where is she coming up with this?

    2. Andy says:

      You know, what you and everyone else are missing here, is the fact that as SHEEP, you are being led to financial slaughter by the airlines.


      You bought a ticket didn’t you? Do you really think that this is about space or weight?

      It’s not, it’s about GREED and will always BE about Greed.

      1. Actually says:

        The reason they are charging for bags is so they can hide the actual cost of a ticket. In order to maintain the appearance that their costs haven’t gone up as much as they actually have, thereby increasing the cost of your ticket, they keep ticket prices lower but charge for luggage. The same thing is happening at the grocery store…a box ofcereal costs the same as it did a few years ago but it’s now a smaller box.

      2. John Fox says:

        You are being charged for a bag because *I* don’t want to bring one. Why should *I* have to pay for *YOUR* bag moron….

        Delta is right to charge people for each additional bag. Delta is also right to determine how many bags folks can bring on for free. Delta did the right thing by clarifying what the rule is. Until someone speaks up, like these soldiers did, Delta may not even know there is a problem with a significant number of soldiers having to pay extra.

        But so many love to blame big business .. those same businesses that they depend on for so many things they don’t need but want.

      3. YoMamma says:

        Amen. Well said. I agree completely.

  40. Disgusted says:

    This whole ordeal just goes to show the greed of American companies. After putting in the service years in unmentionable conditions and putting their lives at risk for the country, and if I may add indirectly for these money hungry companies; how are the troops repaid? A USD200 charge for their personal belongings and equipments that they used. And what’s with the restrictions? IF anything, these companies should be unconditinally flying them home for free as a token of appreciation. How tasteless of these companies to charge the very (wo)men that indirectly protected them and their assets – their plane??? How much is enough money for these CEOs and fat cats??

    1. Mark says:

      These Soldiers just wanted to bring there stuff home faster and that’s all there is too it. They should have put their gear in a container and shipped it home like the rest of the Army. Yeah it gets there a month or two after you do. Your orders say how many bags you are authorized and who wants to redeploy with more than One or Two bags? I have to carry that stuff. And who puts a weapons case in a A-Bag? That’s probably the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Weapons cases are carried separate, or weapons are hand carried, or loaded into a Quad-Con and shipped home. I guess that’s what us Active Duty folks do, not Reserve or NG.

      1. Gary says:

        Mark, weapons have to be in a locked container on civilian airliners for domestic flights. this is the norm across the military

      2. Timo says:

        Just because YOU had the option of shipping some of your gear as palletized cargo or in a ConEx doesn’t mean that everyone does. I am Active Duty, just deployed, and my required items alone filled two big bags, plus a full weapons case, plus I had special approval to mail two 50 pound boxes off official gear to myself downrange via USPS. I brought only 1 set of civilian clothes that are required in case the rotator gets delayed in Europe on the way. I had NO option of shipping gear with my unit. I had to travel commercial air in CONUS to get to BWI for the rotator. No way I could fit all that as three bags.

        That being said, the video should not have been made. It was unprofessional. Official travel expenses are reimbursed on the voucher filed upon return. An item should be included for “Additional Baggage Fees” and it is paid back to the traveler. Military travelers are only personally on the hook for non-official expenses. Shipping 4 sets of ABUs and battle rattle and MOPP gear, etc is certainly official.

        And now THAT being said, the Gov’t should make sure to fix this problem on the FY2012 GSA City Pair contracts. All contracted routes should include up to 3 bags plus a weapons case for military traveling on DEPLOYMENT orders. Then let the airlines bid to get the route. Delta was in the right, but being a bit silly PR wise. United has always treated me well and they have ALWAYS waived baggage fees when i am traveling in uniform on official travel orders.

    2. Terry says:

      Delta should NOT have changed the terms of the CONTRACT for a small group of whinny GI’s!

      1. Deb says:

        Terry, You are a WHINEY citizen….at least I’m assuming you’re a citizen. How about King Obama flying commercial???? His limo goes with him.

      2. Baraksi Obamanov says:

        Terry. Please learn to spell before you post your inane and stupid comments.

      3. Army Dad says:

        Terry-You are an embarrassment to Americans. Our troops do more good in one day than you have ever done in your entire life. You have absolutely no clue what they do on deployment. Please feel free to move to liberal land and take the man child with you.

      4. Pru says:

        Did anyone ever ask GW to fly commercial?? HOO AAAA!!

      5. Swibbie says:

        “Whinny GI’s”??? You have got to be kidding me. These “whinny GI’s” have pledged their lives so that you can say stupid things on the internet.

        The stupidity of liberals like you never cease to amaze me.

    3. Andy says:

      FInaly someone gets it.

      It’s about Greed

  41. Derek says:

    Just returned from Iraq and though I have sympathy with the situation, my group travelling from Atlanta to Phily, needed to repack our bags to meet the requirements negociated by the US GOV & Delta else we would have had to pay $300 in excess fines.

    Bottom line – soldiers didn’t follow the rules on their orders – no its not delta’s fault, uncle sam agreed to that deal

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      Amen and thank you for your service. I always like to hear stories about soldiers that make it happen instead of complaining. It is what makes our military great. You do your service and your country proud.

    2. MOMOFFOUR says:

      Derek, God Bless you and thankyou for your service to our country. All of you Brave men and women shouldn’t have to worry about your bags or anything else .Uncle Sam needs an overhaul too. I wasn’t aware of this pact with Delta, SAD.

      1. johnd says:

        What do you rxpect when we have a Commander in Chief who feels the military should cover their own medical expenses when they are wounded, should loose their pay when there is a gov’t shutdown becauses he refuses to stop excess spending and just generally hates the military. Delta is just taking a play out of his playbook/

      2. ARHinVA says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but you could claim the excess baggage charge on the travel voucher, couldn’t you?

        In AF anyway there is a section in DTS that allows it. All you need is the receipt.

    3. leah says:

      Regardless of this situation, I want to thank you, Derek, for serving. My dad is a veteran too so I get it. Thank you so much for your sacrifice, and for protecting me and my family. I really appreciate your service to America!

    4. Swibbie says:

      I concur with the other posters. THank you Derek for your service. And thank you for telling the “other side” of the story. Too many times the internet is used to bash companies that don’t deservie it. I still feel that soldiers like you should not have to put up with so much hassle, but your attitude is what makes this country great.

    5. chow says:

      That’s not the point. To me Delta should have been a little more accomodating to returning servicemen.

      Regardless of my disagreement with you thank you for your service. My son spent two tours in Iraq and both times returned home in a charter flight with his troop (cavalry) to their homebase. I didn’t realize that some are returning home by themselves in a regular flights.

    6. Doug says:

      Derek, you’re a tool. No one should have to pay out of pocket for lugging around their military gear. The government should cover all of the expenses. If they had 4 bags of personal stuff, it’s one thing, but they’re carrying aroung gear that required by their command to sustain a mission.

      If they had a surfboard, guitar, golf clubs, ski’s, a snowboard, and one seabag, I could see charging them. I’m betting they had mostly military gear though, with maybe a small bag of personal stuff.

      1. Bill says:

        I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that you were never in the military?

    7. Bryan says:

      Hell, on my return from both IRAQ and AFG I had to pay over 400.00 for excess baggage. I was subsequently reimbursed. These Airlines are making a ton of money from Soldiers redeploying

    8. Nico says:

      God bless you Derek and all those who serve, THANK YOU!
      Kudos to Delta too for changing the rules too. Shame of the Obama regime for agreeing to such a bum deal. Exemplary conduct by you and other soldiers, you guys always make us proud.

  42. MOMOFFOUR says:

    This isn’t the first time I have heard this . How dare any airline carrier charge our Men and Woman serving this country for anything. Extra bags ! Give me a break , these brave soliders protecting your butts should fly free and not worry about baggage. Why don’t the CEO’s of these money grubbing airlines put their rich hands in their pockets and cover our men and women of the United States Military. These Brave souls have been though and seen hell and then they have to come home and deal with idiots who sit in nice big offices in the comfort of their warm safe homes due to our fighting men and women. Shame on you Delta and anyone else like you.

  43. Troop supporter says:

    Great, except that the contract between Delta and the military ALREADY allowed for four bags. An apology is due, but not one misleading people into thinking they didn’t do anything wrong.

    1. Sandra says:

      EXACTLY! The CONTRACT with Delta was from Troops DEPLOYING or REDEPLOYING (returning) from hostile fire and combat areas WAS FOR UP TO FOUR (4) BAGS per person. (The fees were NOT to be charged to the troops, but directly to the Government.)

      This was in response to stuff like this a couple years ago, guess the Delta passenger service people (check-in) at BWI never got the memo, or gradually started to CHARGE returning troops and no one noticed or voiced a complaint.

      BWI is on of the main “PORTS for the return of troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan. The contractor flies the 747 into BWI, the troops then go on to their home bases via US flagged commercial airlines, like American, US Air, and Delta.

  44. apvbguy says:

    use an airline that is more military friendly

    American Airlines
    Great news! Military personnel will soon be allowed to travel with up to 5 free checked bags, at no cost. Also, military personnel traveling on orders may continue to have one of their free bags weigh up to 100lbs (126 linear in.), also free of charge- this greatly helps with large duffel bags! More detail coming!

    1. Jeff Swartwout says:

      If American treats the soldiers like they treat their frequent fliers it will be a disaster….

      1. gary says:

        for you because you are a delta employee?

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