U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who co-chairs the Senate Military Family Caucus, wrote today to the Air Transport Association of America asking for the airline industry group to help establish and communicate a clear and consistent checked baggage policy across all airlines for active duty military personnel.
Boxer’s letter was prompted by the recent disclosure that Delta Air Lines charged a group of active duty military personnel a total of $2,800 in baggage charges as they flew home from serving in Afghanistan. Delta already has amended its policies, but Boxer wants the entire industry on the same page.
“I urge you to work with the airlines to communicate a clear, consistent approach to both active duty military and airline personnel, which will help our service members get the treatment they deserve,” the senator wrote.
Read the full text of the letter, after the jump…
June 9, 2011
Nicholas E. Calio
President and Chief Executive Officer
Air Transport Association of America, Inc.
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Mr. Calio,
I was disturbed to read news accounts about a group of active duty military personnel who were charged $2,800 in extra bag fees while on a Delta flight returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. Because Delta limited them to three checked bags, they were forced to pay $200 each to check a fourth bag.
It is troubling that the welcome home for these soldiers after an overseas deployment consisted of confusion at the Delta ticket counter followed by a $200 charge – a fee that is truly a hardship for our military men and women and their families.
Delta has sought to address this unfortunate situation by announcing a new baggage policy for active duty military personnel that will permit four complimentary checked bags. Still, this incident serves as a reminder of the need for a clearly defined and consistent approach across all air carriers for baggage checked by active duty military personnel on travel orders.
As the nation’s oldest and largest airline trade association, the Air Transport Association of America is uniquely positioned to ensure that all carriers take the necessary steps to meet the needs of our troops. I urge you to work with the airlines to communicate a clear, consistent approach to both active duty military and airline personnel, which will help our service members get the treatment they deserve.
I know we all agree that after lengthy overseas deployments which require our service members to carry hundreds of pounds of equipment, the last thing they should face is excessive baggage fees and a lack of clarity in an airline’s checked bag policy.
I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
United States Senator