American Airlines Military Baggage Policy & Military Discounts

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American Airlines often proclaims their support for the military on Twitter.

But what do they actually do to show their support? It’s this genuine or just something they do because they think it’s good marketing?

This post takes a look at American Airlines Military baggage policies, discount policies and anything else military-related.

Does American Airlines Have Free Bags For The Military?

This is from the AA website:

So active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders get up to 5 free checked bags.

And active U.S. military traveling for personal reasons get up to 3 free checked bags.

But only “active duty” military personnel are included in this offer; veterans are not granted any special baggage privileges.

Another perk that active military personnel gets is Group 1 boarding. This should allow you to be among the first passengers on the plane.

But again it’s only for active military and that’s a sore point for some people:

The free checked luggage also applied to basic economy tickets which at one point in time were so tight they didn’t even include a free carry on bag.

The free carry on luggage on AA basic economy tickets was reinstated, but regular folks need to pay for checked luggage. Active military passengers are able to bring checked luggage without charge.

American Airlines Military Discounts

American Airlines “loves military members” but doesn’t love them enough to offer a military discount. They prefer to support military veterans “at the corporate level”… whatever that means…

Note: AA please contact me about your corporate-level support for military veterans and I’ll be happy to include details in this post.

They do have something called “special military fares” which you can find out about if you call their Reservations hotline.

However, don’t be surprised if these “special military fares” are more expensive than the cheapest tickets for regular folks. I believe this is a major fail for AA in customer relations.

If you want to talk the talk you need to walk the walk. The lack of a military discount from AA could be perceived as them not really standing behind their words.

Check out this debate Devan was having with AA about this issue:

So while these “military fares” are not the cheapest they are flexible with dates. If you have fixed dates then a standard fare might be cheaper than a “special military fare”.

The only American Airlines Military discount that I found was through Veterans Advantage. They currently have a deal with AA to get a 10% discount but there are fees to join the program. You would need to be a regular flyer with AA for it to be worthwhile to join the program.

American Airlines Bereavement Flights

American Airlines don’t offer bereavement fares.

The Verdict

Does American Airlines care about the military?

American Airlines Inc. is a corporation. Corporations don’t have thoughts or feelings about anything. They are fictional legal entities. They are fictional in the sense that while they are recognized by the law to be legal entities or legal persons… they are not really a person.

A corporation can’t care. I’m not just talking about American Airlines, this applies to any corporation.

So while some individual people who work for AA do care about the military the corporation cannot care, even if the advertising says it does.

Someone in the marketing department has decided that it will play well with customers if we are seen to be supporting “our heroes”. So some policies are created that allow them to create a big song and dance about their love for “military heroes”. Maybe the individuals who implemented these policies really do care. But American Airlines the corporation can’t care.

It would be more accurate to say that AA has some policies that provide minor perks to active military passengers. When a corporation says it loves something it should reflect that love with some trading discount.

Corporations are commercial trading entities. They only loving they can do is in the ‘when we say love we mean it’s a discount’ sense of the word love. Because if your marketing is using the word “love” in the sense of “feelings of deep affection” then that’s just not possible.

American Airlines doesn’t offer significant savings for active military passengers. You’ll only save serious cash if you plan of flying with 5 checked bags.

What do you think? Am I being unfair? Do you have any stories about military benefits when flying with AA? Do you think military personnel should get perks? Do AA get it right or should they show more respect to the military?

Let us know in the comments below!

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