United to Texas national guardsman returning from Afghanistan: Pay up for bag


A national guardsman on his way home to Kyle, Texas, after a 21-month deployment in Afghanistan said United Airlines made him pay $200 to check a bag because it was too heavy to qualify for the airline’s 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,” First Lieutenant John Rader, who was preparing to board a flight in El Paso Monday night when the incident happened, told FOX 7 Austin. “Well, I didn’t have another bag, so I was caught in a bind.”

>> Read more trending news 

United’s policy states that U.S. military and their dependents traveling on official business receive waived service charges for up to five checked bags at 70 pounds each. Because Rader’s bag, which contained items including a Kevlar vest, helmets and boots, was over 70 pounds, he said he was given no choice but to pay the fee.

“In the past, airlines have been very flexible to soldiers, whether its upgrading us in our seating arrangements, helping us with numerous bags we travel with often. This is the first time and an isolated case in my history where it’s actually occurred. It became upsetting when all you want to do is get home and you have a $200 charge thrown on top,” Rader told FOX 7.

Military baggage policies differ depending on the airline. Southwest offers active duty military an exemption from its two-bag limit and free baggage up to 100 pounds, while Delta allows two free bags up to 50 pounds for active duty military traveling on personal business.

A United representative said the airline has reached out to Rader in hopes of remedying the situation.

It hasn’t been a great year for the airline. In March, United received widespread criticism for barring two teens from their flight because they were wearing leggings. And in April, video footage of a man being forcibly removed from a flight made national headlines.

Read more about Rader’s experience here.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

7-year-old cat who walked 12 miles to owners who gave him away finds forever family
7-year-old cat who walked 12 miles to owners who gave him away finds forever family

A 7-year-old cat given away by his family walked 12 miles back home -- only to be given away again. WRAL.com reported that, according to an April 4 Facebook post from the SPCA of Wake County, Toby, a fluffy orange and white cat, was given to another family but found his way back to his home. >> Read more trending news  “When he...
Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children
Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children

A Manhattan nanny accused of stabbing to death the two young children in her care more than five years ago has been convicted of murder after jurors rejected her claim that she was too mentally ill to know what she was doing. Yoselyn Ortega, 55, will be sentenced May 14 for first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the deaths of Leo...
Father, 4-year-old son run over by teens stealing Bud Light, police say
Father, 4-year-old son run over by teens stealing Bud Light, police say

A father remained hospitalized Thursday, days after he and his young son were run over by a teenager in the parking lot of a popular south Charlotte shopping center. According to a police report, the teen stole a 24-pack of Bud Light from the Harris Teeter supermarket in the Blakeney Village shopping center on Rea Road Tuesday evening and ran out of...
Rape victim outraged after Uber driver posts bail, flees country
Rape victim outraged after Uber driver posts bail, flees country

A Massachusetts  woman is outraged after she says an Uber driver raped her and then left the country.  The suspect was arraigned on Friday, posted bail and is believed to have fled the country.  >> Read more trending news  Boston 25 News would not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Emily Murray insisted...
Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals
Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals. Starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health...
More Stories