Woman Speaks Out After Military Members Forced To Pay Baggage Fees

Monday, January 3rd 2011, 12:29 am
By: News 9

Rusty Surette, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma City woman said she hopes airline companies will have a change of heart in the new year, involving members of the U.S. military.

Kara Thingelstad told News 9 she was traveling for the holidays when she saw something at the Oklahoma City airport that really disturbed her. She said she is now hoping her story will encourage others to also speak out and demand change.

Thingelstad said she stood in line at the United Airlines counter at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. Also in line were nearly two dozen members of the United States Army, traveling on orders to Denver to deploy overseas. What happened next, Thingelstad said, was a shock.

"When they went to check their bags in, they had to pay with their own personal credit card with their fourth bag," Thingelstad said.

Thingelstad said watching active members of the military being forced to pay for some of their bags out of their own pockets wasn't right.

"I don't think people who serve our country should have to worry about being charged $25 to check their fourth bag, which in my mind was their weapon," Thingelstad said.

A spokeswoman for United said the airline does recognize military personnel, and they do waive baggage fees but only up to three bags.

United isn't alone. U.S. Airways will also waive the fees for up to three bags only. Delta's policy is the same unless he or she is traveling in first or business class. Then up to four bags are free.

Continental and Southwest Airlines offer only the first two bags free of charge.

"I think their policy should change," Thingelstad said.

Thingelstad said while these may be long standing policies for airline companies, she feels flying fee-free is the least that can be done for those who serve.

"I just don't think they should have to pay for anything as a thank you from the American people," Thingelstad said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army said if a soldier is forced to pay for baggage fees out of their own pockets he or she will be reimbursed.