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Armed Forces: Travel Expenses

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 20 October 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the arrangements for payment of excess baggage charges when service personnel use commercial airlines on returning from home leave to base carrying their military kit and equipment. [HL5617]

There is no entitlement for service personnel to reclaim excess baggage charges when travelling on leave. Service personnel are not expected to take their military kit and equipment home on leave with them; they should either leave it on base, or transfer it between bases using the military facilities available to them. However, if they do take their kit home, this is done as a matter of personal choice and convenience rather than service need. Therefore, any excess baggage charges incurred will be at personal expense, with payment being made directly by the passenger to the carrier.

When personnel are travelling on official duty—for example, when returning to a home unit following duty elsewhere—excess baggage can, in some circumstances, be permitted if authorised in advance of travel. At the time of booking, an annotation is made on the ticket confirming that excess baggage is authorised and the MoD can then be billed accordingly without the passenger incurring any charges. But if it is not agreed in advance, the individual will be liable for excess baggage charges at check-in. Refunds may be permitted through the unit administrative staff if circumstances are such that arrangements could not be made in advance of travel or an administrative error has occurred.

When any service person feels that their circumstances have fallen outside current policy and that they are being unfairly disadvantaged, they may always submit casework to the pay and allowance casework and complaints cell in accordance with established service procedures, requesting exceptional consideration.