Congressman Denham Demands Airlines Waive All Baggage Fees for Military

Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA) introduced a resolution in the House last week that would reevaluate contracts between the military and commercial airlines that do not waive all baggage fees for deployed military personnel.

Rep. Denham told Fox News that he was outraged after he found out that soldiers returning from Afghanistan were being charged by Delta Airlines for extra bags containing their weapons (a story broken in part by our compatriots over at Gadling). The soldiers were charged $2,800, but later reimbursed.

According to a statement on the congressman's website, his bill has received support from 37 co-sponsors, both Republican and Democrat. The statement does mention that Delta, United and Continental have all changed their policies since the scandal, but points out that some smaller airlines have not.

Another Congressman, Bruce Baley, sent an angry letter to the CEO of Delta last week over the bag fees.

American Airlines and Jet Blue also changed their policies after the Delta dust-up and before Rep. Denham introduced his bill though only Southwest, which also operates AirTran, has changed its policies to waive all baggage fees rather than just some extra baggage fees.

Given the rush by nearly every American airline to lower fees for military personnel, it seems Rep. Denham may well be fighting a steeply downhill battle.

Senator Barbara Boxer has also been agitating for a clearer universal policy on baggage fees: The California Democrat sent an open letter to the CEO of the Air Transportation Association of America saying "excessive baggage fees and a lack of clarity in an airline's checked bag policy" should be the "last thing" returning personnel should have to consider.

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