(Dada note: The following was inspired by a story appearing in yesterday's El Paso Times.)
American Airlines has charged a Texas National Guard soldier $100 for his additional third bag he needed to transfer all his military gear with him to Iraq. There's no way the Staff Sergeant could have carried all his equipment, to include boots, foul-weather gear, uniforms and the like, in just two bags.*
But American Airlines, feeling the squeeze of increased fuel charges, was unsympathetic and like many air carriers has had to add extra charges for extra bags.
"Other soldiers make it with only two bags. Maybe if the good sergeant had had his wife or mother pack his bags he would have avoided the extra bag charge, " an unnamed American Airlines official said. (The story did not reveal if the SSgt. has a wife or a mother who is still alive.)
The soldier may apply to the Texas National Guard for reimbursement for the $100, but it is not clear if the Guard will honor his claim.
This is just another sad example of the sacrifices and costs being born by, not only our soldiers, but by citizens stateside supporting them. Dada knows of one woman personally who is on her fourth car ribbon magnet.
"I've had to replace three ribbon magnets! They fade, you know," she said ruefully. "Oh, one was stolen."
"But I had no idea this Iraq liberation thing would drag out longer than World War II, the sacrifices I would have to make to support our troops for cripes sake!"
"I've had two 'Support the Troops,' " she continued. The first one of those was stolen after a couple months. The second one was so faded I had to replace it somewhere in the war's third year. I replaced that with a 'Support the Troops, Bring 'em Home' ribbon magnet which lasted nearly two years under this desert's brutal sun."
When I asked her about her current ribbon, a blue colored magnet which simply reads "Peace" on it she said: "I want this damn thing to end. I've sacrificed enough. Hell, I'm out over 30 bucks!"
Detecting the anger and stress in her voice at what she's sacrificed to support the troops, I said sympathetically, "Thirty dollars for four magnets? That's a lot."
"Yeh, well, that includes the costs of shipping," she conceded.
* per the EPTimes article, "American Airlines' baggage policy allows service members one checked 100-pound duffel-type bag, one standard checked 50-pound suitcase and one standard carry-on suitcase of up to 40 pounds, for a total of 190 pounds of free luggage."