[Please see my personal note on Delta at the end of this post]
The AP reported this morning that soldiers returning from Afghanistan posted a video on YouTube about having to pay Delta Air Lines $2,800 out of pocket to check extra bags that their Army orders said they could check without charge.
Airline stupidity, please meet your PR emergency squad rushing in to do damage control. As news of the video spread, Delta rushed out a press release this afternoon saying it has increased its free checked baggage allotment for U.S. military traveling on orders in coach to four checked bags.
"Delta's revised baggage policy also allows U.S. military personnel traveling on orders in first and business class to check up to five bags at no charge. This change also adds dependents traveling with active military on orders. Each bag may weigh up to 70 lbs. (32 kg) and measure up to 80 linear inches (203 cm), which offers added flexibility over the standard 50 lbs. and 62 linear inches (157 cm) allotment. Because of weight, balance and space constraints, Delta Connection carriers accept up to four bags at no charge.
"For personal travel, active military presenting military identification may now check up to two bags weighing 50 pounds (23 kg) or less and measuring 62 inches (158 linear cm) or less in combined length, width and height without charge.
"Previously, Delta's policy allotted three free checked bags in economy class and four in first and business class for military members traveling on orders."
In the YouTube video, according to the AP, "the soldiers say their Army orders authorized them to bring up to four bags with them as they returned from Afghanistan to Fort Polk in Louisiana. They say when their 34-member unit checked in at Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Delta flight 1625 on Tuesday, the airline charged them $200 each if they had a fourth bag."
Personal note: As a veteran who spent four years in the service, including a year in Vietnam, I still remember how well Delta treated military personnel traveling on its planes in the second half of the 1960s. Everyone I knew in the service regarded Delta as a class act as regards the military, and many of us still remember it.