http://www.statesman.com/news/local/deltas-next-pr-move-how-about-charging-little-1532763.htmlIt's hard to imagine Delta Air Lines being capable of coming up with a more boneheaded public relations blunder than the one they pulled off this week involving our troops.
OK, so if Delta had come out with a "Hooray for Hitler" advertising campaign, it would have been worse.
But not by much.
So here's what happened: When U.S. soldiers returning home from the daily life-and-death grind of the war in Afghanistan went to check in on a flight from Baltimore/Washington to Atlanta, Delta charged them $200 apiece for a fourth checked bag.
Total bill: over $2,800 to our fighting folks, the ones who give their lives so the rest of us can sit over here stateside and play with our iPhones while those guys do the heavy lifting. Charging troops $200 for a bag. That's worse than spreading egg on your face. That's the whole henhouse.
Ever notice how you never see a staff sergeant mentioned in those lists of America's richest people? It's not like these guys can afford that kind of surprise bill.
In fairness to Delta, the airline has since changed its bag-charging policy, in exchange, one supposes, for not being taken out back and fed to the hogs. Let's just say that when a couple of troops put up a YouTube video online telling about the bag charging incident, the public wasn't real happy. People looked at the video more than 200,000 times. And a Facebook page called Boycott Delta for Soldiers showed up. Which, naturally, caught Delta's attention.
So under Delta's brand-new bag policy, U.S. military personnel traveling on orders in economy-class seats will be allowed to check four bags for free. That's a start, but how about some free drinks, and round-trip tickets to Honolulu for everybody in combat boots?
You've got to wonder sometimes what businesses are thinking when they shoot themselves not so much in the foot but directly in the shorts. Charging the troops for their extra bags. What's next? Will Delta come out against hot dogs at baseball games? Or, if they really want to put themselves up for another national tongue-lashing, they could charge new mothers $100 a head for bringing children under 2 on the airplane. And how about a $5 surcharge for every baby bottle stowed in that carry-on?
You remember the old Delta ad campaign "Delta is ready when you are"? Well, the problem was that after the bag move, everybody was ready — to find another airline.
Oh, I can see Delta's marketing point, all right. Charging for those bags could be a real cash cow. Troops are always coming home or going somewhere, like, you know, Kabul. And every time they go somewhere, what do they do? You got it. They carry all these bags. Lots and lots of great big bags.
Why, an airline could make a fortune charging each one of these troops a couple hundred a bag. Right before it went out of business.