ATLANTA, Ga. — Delta Airlines, the world’s second largest carrier, announced today that it would offer a promotion called “Thank You, Heroes” aimed at active duty personnel, military veterans, and their family members.
“We just wanted to give something back to the military community that has sacrificed so much,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian during a press conference for the promotion. “That is why, starting 11 November, any family members of a veteran killed in action will receive triple SkyMiles™ points during their final honor flight home!”
Bastian also announced several other military-focused initiatives the carrier will be offering as a tribute to the nation’s armed forces, including five percent off a second checked-bag fee, and free snacks during flights.
In addition, Delta Airlines will be partnering with Hartsfield International Airport, their major hub in Atlanta Georgia, to provide airport-specific amenities, such as upgrades to the large USO (United Service Organization) facility there, a familiar sight for most troops deploying overseas during the last several decades of conflict.
Servicemembers traveling through the airport will also now have complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club, including free food, drinks, and wi-fi, and the crowded USO waiting area will be upgraded with an additional urinal and benches with integrated cell-phone chargers in the hallways for overflow seating.
“With troop footprints in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan significantly reduced and military thru-traffic at an all-time low, we felt that now was the perfect time to offer these discounts as a way of saying thank you for your service to all those who have worn the uniform,” Bastion continued.
When asked by reporters whether Delta Airlines would be extending any ticketing discounts to wounded veterans or active duty servicemembers, specifically lower-enlisted personnel, many of whom make a salary just slightly above the national poverty line, he was less forthcoming.
“We at Delta Airlines believe the best way for our Heroes to feel welcome and embraced by the communities they serve is to be treated like everyone else when they are traveling outside of an official capacity, avoiding the risk of stigmatization or PTSD triggers that recognition, accolades, or discounts may bring.”
Delta has also announced that they will now be waiving all oversized baggage fees for family members of KIA servicemembers on their final flight home.
In a handout, the airline detailed the promotions. The baggage discount applies only after the first $25 fee has been paid in full. May not be combined with other discounts. Does not apply when traveling outside of official business. Servicemembers traveling in uniform on official duty (with orders in hand) will be served one additional complimentary snack, their choice of cookie, peanuts, or min-pretzels. Standard prices for premium food, beverages, and alcohol still apply. Access to the Delta Sky Club will be provided in the form of a single-use coupon, limited to the hours of 10 pm – 5 am and contingent upon servicemembers applying for a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card on the day of their flight.