American Airlines waives its extra bag fee for active-duty troops
August 15, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. — American Airlines is waiving a $100 fee for servicemembers who need to check a third bag, the airline announced on Wednesday.
The move comes after Veterans of Foreign Wars wrote a letter to the head of the Air Transport Association of America requesting that servicemembers not be charged for a third bag.
The VFW made the request after a story in the El Paso Times about a soldier who had to pay $100 to check a third bag on his way to Camp Bowie, Texas, to prepare for his upcoming deployment to Iraq.
A spokesman for American Airlines had told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday that it could not waive the fee for servicemembers because the government reimburses them for costs they incur, so the troops themselves pay nothing.
But on Wednesday, the airline issued a news release saying the fee would be waived for "active servicemembers."
"After recently hearing of the burden the military reimbursement process put on soldiers travelling to war zones, the choice for us to forgo payment for a third checked bag from the Department of Defense was clear," Tom Del Valle, senior vice president for airport services, said in the news release.
A spokesman for the airline could not be reached for comment by deadline Wednesday.
George J. Lisicki, head of the VFW, praised the airline’s move, saying the $100 fee was "hitting young enlisted troops in the wallet regardless of whether it was reimbursable or not."
In a news release, Lisicki called servicemembers a "special class of citizen" who have earned special treatment.
"American Airlines proved today that they also agree our troops deserve special treatment, and I hope the other major carriers will follow their lead," he said in the news release.