Airline Fees Leaving Some Homeward-Bound East Texas Soldiers Stranded - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/13/08 - Tyler

Airline Fees Leaving Some Homeward-Bound East Texas Soldiers Stranded

Many of them are on their way to war and now soldiers, including east Texas soldiers, are having to shell out money to airlines for baggage fees.

Even though some airlines are offering deals for military personnel. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane sat down with a military mom whose son missed his flight because he didn't have the money to pay the fee.

They were ready to welcome their hero home, but Army Specialist Allen Milton didn't arrive.

"He got up to the ticket counter and they said 'well we need $160, you're over the weight-limit'," Milton's mom, Melanie Poland, told us today.

Over the weight limit and over-spent, Milton didn't have that extra cash - so he was left stranded in Alaska.

"He missed his flight, of course it was Memorial Day weekend so everything was booked, he ended up hanging out around the airport for 24 hours," said Melanie. "We had a lot of welcome home activities that we had to cancel."

We checked in with the Tyler Pounds Airport manager Davis Dickson. He says each airline makes their own policy.

American offers this deal for active military: 2 bags are free as long as they're under 50 pounds, and if on orders, one bag can weigh up to 100 pounds.

"Any military personnel who is flying on orders to be sure and have evidence of that and that helps to process those bags quickly," said Dickson today.

Continental allows troops on orders two free bags if they're 70 pounds or less.

But if it's more, troops have to pay the fees, save their receipts, and get reimbursed later - and that was the case with Specialist Milton.

"If they're being transferred and they've got military orders, they should be allowed on that plane and shouldn't have to pay out of their own pocket," said Melanie.

Milton's mother says it was a huge inconvenience for her son. She hopes better deals come along for those who already carry enough on their shoulders.

"You bill Uncle Sam and let Uncle Sam reimburse you. Let our guys on the plane."

The manager at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport advises you to check online with your airline because policies do change. And of course, bring proof that you are active military to get those deals.

Courtney Lane, reporting. clane@kltv.com

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