Ever since Dr. David Dao got dragged down the aisle of a plane in Chicago, United Airlines’ brand — as well as its stock value — has been repeatedly dragged through the mud. Now, another gaffe involving a serviceman returning home from overseas has again darkened the friendly skies.
According to KTBC-TV, 1st Lt. John Rader, a national guardsman returning from a 21-month deployment in Afghanistan, was hit with a $200 charge for an overweight bag before he could board his flight home.
Perhaps most disturbing was the fact that the heaviest components were military equipment — his helmets, boots and a Kevlar vest.
Rader had no problem until the last leg of his flight from El Paso to Austin.
“I was told point blank that I’d have to pay $200 for the overage or find another bag to siphon stuff off with,” Rader said. “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 Fox News, United’s policy allows service members to check five bags free if the bags are under 70 pounds. He tried to reason with the airline to no avail.
“There was no empathy to the situation. I’m not looking for sympathy, but some form of empathy in the situation,” Rader said. “There was none of that. It was just cold. I had to either pay or leave the bag.”
He added that another service member on the same flight had to pay the overage. Rader noted that most airlines generally won’t go to such extremes.
“In the past airlines have been very flexible to soldiers whether it’s upgrading us in our seating arrangements helping us with numerous bags we travel with often,” Rader said. “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,” he added.
Of all the airlines that probably should realize charging service members $200 for a short flight (for which round trip tickets cost in the area of $300-$400, if a quick Kayak search is any indication) probably won’t end well in the public relations department, you would think that United would be it.
Apparently not. Now, they’re going to be dealing with a fresh batch of fallout, courtesy of yet another employee for whom common sense was subordinate to a rigid interpretation of airline policy.
Like us on Facebook – USA Liberty News
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter with your thoughts on this latest United controversy.
Would you fly United again? Scroll down to comment below!