I’ve got to disagree with you on American Airlines practice of charging luggage fees for soldiers.
First, the usual disclaimers. I strongly support the troops, and think they are ridiculously underpaid for what they do. That being said…
The extra charge for luggage is and should be the problem of the soldiers employer, the United States Government. Essentially, soldiers are like employees flying on a business trip, and the expenses should be paid by their employer. Apparently that is how it works or is supposed to work, but government being government they make it so that the soldiers have to jump through too many hurdles to be reimbursed for this expense. As the VFW spokesman said, “soldiers should not have to worry about filing expense forms in a war zone.” Fair enough and absolutely correct, but the entity at fault here is the Pentagon and it’s expense reimbursement procedures, not the airlines.
American flies the small regional jets out of my local airport, and they are almost always on weight restrictions when there are more than a few military travelers on board and are often forced to fly with empty seats to accommodate the luggage. There is a legitimate, added cost of carrying this extra baggage.
These airlines are for-profit corporations with a responsibility to their shareholders. They are being crippled by today’s high fuel costs, and they have no business making what essentially would be charitable contributions to the Pentagon in waiving those charges.