United Airlines has taken a lot of heat in the media lately for their inexcusable customer relations.

But the airline just crossed a line when a soldier was trying to return home to his family from Afghanistan, and was met with an obstacle that could have easily been solved had United Airlines had some semblance of human decency.

United Airlines just made a soldier pay over $200 extra for having an overweight bag on his return home flight – even though the contents were his uniform and equipment.

United Airlines argued they already “cater to the military” by allowing them to check in five bags for free if they weigh under 70 lbs.

The problem is, much of the equipment weighs more than their weight limit, resulting in soldiers being charged hundreds of dollars extra just to get home to their families.

So this particular soldier was faced with a dilemma – pay a fee he could not afford, or leave his belongings and equipment behind.

The Daily Caller reported:

United Airlines forced a National Guard officer to pay a $200 fee for an overweight bag after returning home from a 21-month long deployment, according to Fox 7 Austin.

First Lieutenant John Rader had to pay the fee while attempting to board his flight from El Paso Monday night because his bag, containing his Kevlar body armor, two helmets and his boots, was over the airline’s weight limit.

“I was told point blank that I’d have to pay $200 for the overage or find another bag to siphon stuff off with,” Rader told Fox 7. “Well, I didn’t have another bag so I was caught in a bind, do I go home without my stuff or without it.”

United allows active military members to check five bags for free as long as they are all under 70 pounds, a United spokesperson told Fox 7. Rader said the airline wouldn’t budge, and he was forced to pay the fee.

Rader was not the only one in the same situation; another soldier traveling home with him had to pay the penalty.

Both Rader and his companion will not receive compensation or reimbursement for what was an outrageous handling of the situation by United Airlines.

The Daily Caller reported:

“I’m not looking for sympathy, but some form of empathy in the situation. There was none of that. It was just cold. I had to either pay or leave the bag,” he said.

Rader said that United also made another soldier traveling pay the fee.

Other airlines allow bags weighing up to 100 pounds, according to Fox 7.

“$200 can go a long way when you come back. Not a lot of people are compensated, so $200 comes out of pocket, you weren’t expecting it can change things, so I just want to make sure soldiers are cared for going forward,” Rader said.

United Airlines should be held responsible not only for how they treat their customers, but for how they treated these brave men who served the United States – who were treated poorly when they simply trying to return to American soil.

Do you think United Airlines should have to compensate the soldiers for their penalty fee and the way they were treated?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.