June 24, 2008: Being in the military can be a dangerous and demanding occupation, but it does have a few unexpected fringe benefits. For example, U.S. military personnel will not have to pay the new checked luggage fees many airlines recently imposed. Rapidly rising fuel prices have forced airlines to raise their prices, and add fees. The checked luggage fees were particularly unpopular with airline customers. But because the military is a major customer for many airlines (spending billions a year moving people and goods around), they have contracts that cannot be abridged unilaterally. So, in most cases, the airlines will not charge military travelers these new fees. This applies, in most cases, to military personnel, and their families who are not travelling under official orders. That's because the airlines don't want to antagonize one their largest customers.