Staff Sgt. Robert O'Hair of Colorado and his unit flew back to the U.S. after almost a year of service in Afghanistan Tuesday. Upon checking in with Delta Airlines, the soldiers were hit with a nasty surprise: over $2,800 in excess baggage fees for their unit.
Most of the soldiers had four bags, exceeding Delta's three free checked-bag policy for military personnel. In a video posted to YouTube, Sgt. O'Hair says his fourth bag "was a weapons case, holding my M4, 203 grenade launcher and 9mm (pistol) ... the tools that I use to protect myself and Afghan citizens while I was deployed in the country."
"A lot of the guys didn't bring credit cards because, heck, how much do we need credit cards in Afghanistan?" he asked.
While the military will reimburse the soldiers for the excess fees, O'Hair and others were forced to pay out-of-pocket.
"We regret that this experience caused these soldiers to feel anything but welcome on their return home," wrote Rachael Rensink on the Delta Airlines Blog, "We honor their service and are grateful for the sacrifices of our military service members and their families."
In a press release Wednesday, Delta announced an increased baggage limit for U.S. Military personnel to four free checked items.
United and American Airlines also announced updated policies.
Watch O'Hair and his colleague: