I have received numerous questions asking if military dependents are required to pay for baggage (excess accompanied baggage) when traveling on PCS orders. The answer is, it is at the discretion of the airline.

According to the DOD site:

Q6. If I am a member under a PCS order, does the exception also apply to my dependents traveling under my PCS travel order?
A6. Although your dependents traveling under your PCS travel order are official (i.e., Government) travelers, most airlines do not consider them to be ‘members’, and airline procedures vary. Please consult with your CTO/TMC for your specific flight requirements.

So you ask how do you find out if you will have to pay for excess baggage on your next PCS flight?

On my last PCS here to Hawaii we flew Delta airlines. Before we left I called Delta and was informed that as long as our names and the wording authorized dependents appeared on the PCS orders that we would not be charged for excess baggage. Of course being me hearing it from a representative was not enough and I needed more confirmation. I was then told that Delta has a Military Desk which you can reach by calling Delta and asking to be transferred. I was able to verify the below policy through them. I also printed the policy out in a case the representative at the airport was not aware. The policy listed below goes for each individual dependent listed on the orders.

*Active duty U.S. military personnel traveling on orders to or from duty stations are allowed up to three checked bags in Economy Class and up to four checked bags in First and Business Class on Delta and Delta Connection® carriers at no charge. Each bag may weigh up to 70 lbs. (32 kg) and measure up to 80 linear inches (203 cm).

American Airlines specifies their military dependent excess baggage policy here.

Now for the sake of me writing a long rambling blog post I will spare you and sum this up by saying:
At the end of the day your best bet is to call the airline and find out policy for dependent authorized travel. To find other airline baggage policies google *the airline* + military baggage.

Below are important links that you will want to keep in your bookmarks that will explain reimbursement should you get charged and more:

Official DOD Excess Baggage Policy

More from the DOD on Excess Baggage Policy

Best of Luck!



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9 Comments on Do I Have to Pay for My Baggage on the Airlines when PCS’ing????

  1. They almost made us pay for some of our extra luggage out of Germany. We flew Delta and the first guy didn't know how to read the orders. Once they saw all 4 of our names on the paper it was ok though.

  2. We pcs’d a month ago and one of our sons had to stay back and he is coming this week. He is still on our pcs military orders and the army paid for his plane ticket. Today I called Delta’s military desk to verify the bag policy and they told me very rudely that unless he himself is the active duty member that we are to pay for baggage just as everyone else does. Im a little peeved. We never had any problems flying on American. I really wish I could change his flight so that he is not on Delta.

  3. Yes that’s who I spoke to and they(she) was extremely rude. Told me unless my son is an active duty member himself then “No he has to pay for luggage just as every one else has to”. Oh well, I’ll bite the fee on this one but our family will protest ever flying on Delta airlines

  4. When we PCSed to Germany, Lufthansa did not pay for any of our baggage. They explained that they are not a U.S.-owned company and therefore have no interest in paying for our baggage. With our HHGs taking over 2 months to arrive, we packed everything we could that we would need for that time.. It was expensive to put all those things on the plane! On the other hand, our friends who were PCSing to the same place in Germany on the same day had their baggage paid for because they flew through American Airlines.

    I’ve learned the hard way to pack light or mail things ahead (if you can) if you are flying Lufthansa.

  5. My husband and I recently PCSed to Hawaii. He flew ahead of me, so I took a Delta flight on my own. I did not have a copy of the orders with me, but the gal at the ticket counter assured me that all I had to do was contact Delta and they would reimburse me. I have contacted Delta and they refuse to reimburse me, stating that their policy does not apply to dependents. We have had quite a few scathing emails back and forth. I also let them know that their policy is actually quite vague. They do not specify their “dependent” policy like American does. Since airlines like American–their biggest competitor–do waive baggage fees for dependents, it’s easy to assume that Delta would do the same. I even pointed out that the base travel agencies assume an airline like Delta–on par with American–waives such fees. We have ended on a very negative note, and I have kept at this out of principle. I have even explained that we incur many moving expenses that are never reimbursed, and that a big corporation like Delta should not treat military families so poorly. In closing, I let them know that the base travel agency will be alerted of Delta’s policy to hopefully deter future flight purchases with Delta for dependents.

    • Unfortunately while I agree, in order for them to have done it, you would have needed a copy of your orders showing you on them. When we PCS’ed I was with my husband and on the orders. I had already called the Delta military desk and confirmed that.

  6. Spoke with several people at Delta – the policy specifically states that dependents luggage is NOT covered.

    I have had several issues with Delta over the past two years and urge everyone in the military to do all they can to use other airline if possible.

    I do believe however that you can claim the baggage fees when you file your travel claim at the gaining duty station. I recommend researching that before taking it as gospel however!

  7. I flew delta out of bragg to germany with 2 dogs and a 4 month old baby. Delta was awesome! We flew a week after my spouse with a copy of orders and Delta allowed us 4 bags a piece @ 70 lbs! I love Delta!!!

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