United Airlines charged a National Guard soldier $200 for an overweight bag while he was coming home from a deployment in Afghanistan, reports Fox 7.
First Lieutenant John Rader was returning home from a nearly 2 year-long deployment on a United Airlines flight when an agent told him that his military-issued duffle bag was too heavy Monday. He was flying from El Paso, Texas to Austin. Rader was told he would have to pay a fine to get the bag on the plane.
“I was told point blank that I’d have to pay $200 for the overage or find another bag to siphon stuff off with. Well, I didn’t have another bag so I was caught in a bind, do I go home without my stuff or without it?”
According to United Airlines policy, active military personnel can check up to five bags free as long as each item is under 70 pounds.
The bag was packed with items Rader wore during his 21-month deployment, which was originally meant to be only 9 months. He voluntarily stayed longer because of his love of serving country.
“I just absolutely enjoy the fact that I can serve my country and live my life at the same time.”
Rader said the agent wasn’t willing to help him out, and that “there was no empathy to the situation.” He said that in his experience, airlines are usually very helpful when it came to helping soldiers on their flights.
“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 says that as a civilian he will no longer be traveling with United Airlines saying, “I would not fly United after this situation.”
The airline company issued a statement saying that they plan to refund Rader for the fine he was charged.
Rader said that he’s happy about the compensation, but he wants “to make sure soldiers are cared for going forward.”
[Feature photo: Fox 7 Screenshot]