Checked Baggage Fees Waived for Military

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#1
259 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Both of the airlines we are flying state that they offer a good discount (free) on a certain number of checked bags for military personnel, even when traveling for pleasure. One of the airlines even extends this to dependents traveling with them.

In our case it could save quite a bit of money since we are a family of five. Our original plan was to bring five carry-ons and only as many large checked suitcases (probably 3) as we need since they will be $35 each. But normally we fly Southwest (no fees) and each bring one large checked bag to keep our carry-ons to a minimum. This is obviously easier for us to manage, especially since our youngest struggles to pull anything larger than a small carry-on.

So... Has anyone done this? Is it a huge hassle?

Has anyone in the Reserves tried this with the white ID that looks identical to AD?

I'm going to ask this question in the Air forum, too, since it seems this area isn't frequented as much.
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#2
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2016
We're both active duty but we've done it many times. Depending on the airline, some want your ID, some want a copy of the leave orders. We've had success with United and American waiving our baggage fees. I believe American even offered free seat upgrades for military.

At our airport, there are specific kiosks for military members to check-in at that have the fees waived. If they don't have the military kiosks, there's usually a button halfway through to select "military" on the bag screen. You'll then have to go to the front to check your bags.
#3
259 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by jk6113
We're both active duty but we've done it many times. Depending on the airline, some want your ID, some want a copy of the leave orders. We've had success with United and American waiving our baggage fees. I believe American even offered free seat upgrades for military.

At our airport, there are specific kiosks for military members to check-in at that have the fees waived. If they don't have the military kiosks, there's usually a button halfway through to select "military" on the bag screen. You'll then have to go to the front to check your bags.
Ok, thank you. Neither of the airlines say anything on their websites about leave orders, but I suppose they could demand them anyway if they wanted.

I guess it's a matter of whether we want to take the chance. It would completely change the bags we bring and the way we pack them, but we'd have to be prepared to pay the fees if it didn't work out.
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RCL - Nordic Prince - Alaska - July 1993
RCL - Voyager of the Seas - Canada - July 2004
DCL - Wonder - Bahamas - October 2008
DCL - Magic - W Caribbean - February 2010 (infamous for being stuck at Castaway Cay for 24 extra hours due to high currents)
RCL - Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas - July 2014
Celebrity - Millennium - Alaska - June 2016
HAL - Maasdam - Canada - August 2018
#4
259 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We are flying Air Canada and their info is here (no free bags for dependents, but up to three for the service person):

http://www.aircanada.com/en/agents_n...age_policy.pdf

It says "Eligible active and retired members of the Canadian and U.S. military are now entitled to check up to three pieces of checked baggage, each weighing up to 32 kg (70 lb) each. The allowance is applicable to the
member of the military and is valid for both personal and duty travel."

Our years of experience with terminology like "eligible active and retired members" has so far always included Reservists.

The other airline is United and their info is here:

https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/tra...edBaggage.aspx

It says "Active U.S. military personnel and their dependents:
Dependents of active U.S. military personnel will have the same exemptions as the military service member whose status provides the benefit, as long as they are traveling on the same reservation."

It seems that there would be an extra step or two required at the airport -- getting the ID checked for eligibility, getting special luggage tags. Seems like it would be worth the trouble if it worked out.
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RCL - Nordic Prince - Alaska - July 1993
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DCL - Wonder - Bahamas - October 2008
DCL - Magic - W Caribbean - February 2010 (infamous for being stuck at Castaway Cay for 24 extra hours due to high currents)
RCL - Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas - July 2014
Celebrity - Millennium - Alaska - June 2016
HAL - Maasdam - Canada - August 2018
#5
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2016
In our experience, United is pretty good about offering free bags. Their website says 3 bags free for active military personnel up to 70lbs/bag. We don't have any experience with Air Canada though...

I would bring a copy of your orders if you can, just to be safe. However, I've only had them ask for them once... Normally, you just grab some person at the kiosk, tell them your military, show them your ID, they punch in their code, and you're good to go. Sometimes it takes a while but normally it's pretty fast.
#6
Ft. Lauderdale
1,758 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
That's great that some airlines will do this. Looks like it doesn't apply to retired military.
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#7
259 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by ReneeFLL
That's great that some airlines will do this. Looks like it doesn't apply to retired military.
With Air Canada it does apply to retired military, which is very nice. Every airline is different. Definitely worth checking next time you take a trip.
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#8
Reno, NV
409 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Can be frustrating when flying international, getting over there it's free, coming back and dealing with the same airline's gate agents doesn't always work out.
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#10
Saint Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
166 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Here's WestJet's policy:

WestJet waives baggage fees for active and retired Canadian military personnel as well as active military personnel from other countries. In order to qualify for this exemption, military identification must be shown.

Any military personnel travelling for business or personal reasons can do so with a maximum of four bags on WestJet flights and a maximum of three bags on WestJet Encore flights at no additional charge. We will not charge overweight and/or oversized baggage fee(s) for military personnel; however, baggage exceeding our maximum permitted size or weight will not be accepted as guest baggage and must be shipped via cargo (all applicable fees apply).

This exemption does not extend to:

Current Department of National Defence (DND) public servants and their families
Serving and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and their families
Other members of first-response agencies, peace officers, etc.
Current staff of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and their families
Current staff of Defence Construction Canada (DCC) and their families
Current staff of Communications Securities Establishment (CSE) and their families
Honourary Colonels/Captains(N), Lieutenant Colonels/Commanders and their families
Former Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces with a pension and their families
Former Staff of Department of National Defence (DND) with a pension and their families
Family members of the Staff of the Non-Public Funds (NPF), Canadian Forces (CF)
Family members of the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC)
https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel...checked-excess (click on the section headed "Military Baggage Information"