First Lieutenant John Rader of Kyle, Texas isn’t looking for sympathy from united airlines, but some empathy would have been in order when they charged him $200 for his overweight baggage. Rader was flying home after doing double duty in Afghanistan for his country and the baggage included his Kevlar vest and other military equipment, including some boots and two helmets.

After 21 months in Afghanistan United Airlines charges for his baggage

As reported by Fox 7 Austin, Rader was supposed to spend nine months in Afghanistan, but ended up serving 21 months.

However on his return home from El Paso, United Airlines charged him $200, saying his bag didn’t qualify for the normal baggage allowance for active service members. Rader has no problem with the fact he spent extra time in Afghanistan, saying he enjoys serving his country and living his life at the same time.

Airline says pay up or leave the bag behind

Rader said he was told “point-blank” that he would have to pay up, or find another bag to put the various items into. He said he didn’t have another bag to use and so was in a bit of a bind.

Active military personnel are allowed by United Airlines to check five bags without a service charge, but each bag has to weigh less than 70 pounds.

This type of reaction had reportedly also happened to Rader when flying with other airlines, but he is now saying he would never again fly United Airlines as a civilian traveler.

Saying he’s not looking for sympathy, Rader said some form of empathy would have been nice, but there was none. He said it was cold – he had to pay the $200 fine or leave the bag behind. Rader wasn’t the only one who had to pay up as he said another soldier traveling with him was also fined.

‘Goodwill gesture’ by United Airlines refunds the $200

The New York Daily News reports that United Airlines has since offered to refund the $200 to Rader as a “goodwill gesture.” The airline’s spokeswoman told the newspaper that they offer U.S. military members several different benefits to thank them for their service to their country. She then mentioned the fact that they can check five bags at maximum 70 lbs in weight each. The spokeswoman added that United is disappointed when a customer has a bad experience and that their customer care has reached out to Rader to issue the $200 refund.

In response to the refund, Rader told Fox 7 that he just wants to ensure soldiers are better cared for in the future by airlines.