United-Continental said late Wednesday it is following Delta Air Lines’ lead in letting military personnel check a fourth bag for free. American said it would allow a fifth bag to fly free.
The policy changes came after two soldiers returning from Afghanistan posted a YouTube video online Tuesday complaining that 36 reservists from Oklahoma lost more than $2,800 in out-of-pocket baggage expenses because Delta charged them for a fourth bag.
But it turns out, they would have been reimbursed for the extra charges by the government (us). So the negative publicity resulted in airlines changing their policies — thus, saving U.S. taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Army spokesman Paul Boyce says the reservists won’t be out anything because their traveling orders stated that all excess bag charges will be reimbursed by the government.
Delta’s new policy lets personnel on military business to check four free bags – up to 70 pounds each – in coach class and five free bags in first or business class. The previous policy allowed three free bags in coach and four free bags in first or business class. United-Continental says any personnel traveling on orders can check up to four bags for free. And American’s new policy allows five free bags in any seating class.