United Airlines again found itself in hot water on Tuesday after it charged a Texas National Guardman $200 for an overweight bag containing equipment from the 19-month deployment he just completed in Afghanistan.
First Lieutenant John Rader was flying from El Paso back to his home near Austin with his bags, which “included a Kevlar vest, two helmets and boots,” according to a Tuesday report from KTBC-TV, the local Fox affiliate in Austin. An airline official told Rader that “his bag was too heavy to qualify under the airlines’ free military baggage policy.”
The National Guard officer didn’t have an extra bag, so he was forced to pay the $200 fee. He also revealed that “another soldier traveling with him had to pay as well.”
“There was no empathy to the situation. I’m not looking for sympathy, but some form of empathy in the situation. There was none that. It was just cold. I had to either pay or leave the bag.” Rader said.
United Airlines released a statement on Tuesday responding to the veteran’s complaint, which promised a refund.
“We are disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t meet their expectations, and our customer care team is reaching out to this customer to issue a refund for his oversized bag as a gesture of goodwill.”
Rader noted that his experience was a “first time and an isolated case in my history,” but vowed to never fly United again: “As I civilian traveling, I would not fly United after this situation.”
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