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

    By: Kristin Finan, Austin360.com

    Updated:

    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.

    A United Airlines plane sits on the tarmac.
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Next Up:


  • Headline Goes Here

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

  • Headline Goes Here

    ‘Incredibles 2' comes with epilepsy warning

  • Headline Goes Here

    A president resigns, dies or is impeached: What is the line of succession?

  • Headline Goes Here

    Smooth criminal? Michael Jackson's former elephant briefly escapes…

  • Headline Goes Here

    Child knocks over glass sculpture, parents may be on the hook for $132,000 bill