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Space Available Flights

Fly for virtually free. Get the info you need to take advantage of Space Available flights

Overview:

 

Space Available Flight, better known as Space A or military hops, is a unique privilege provided to service members, retirees and their families. Under the Space-Available (Space A) program, eligible passengers can fill unused seats on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft once all the space-required (duty) passengers and cargo have been accommodated.

Space A Travel has undergone a great deal of change in the past few years. What was once an easy and economical, if not always predictable, way for personnel to travel around the world has now become less prevalent and much harder to access. Previously, mission schedules were available on the web and you could even sign-up online. In post 9/11 world, however, flight information has been removed from the public domain, making travel planning more challenging. There are increasingly fewer Space A seats, and that may become even scarcer in the near future due to planned reductions in Space A gateways. 

In stark contrast to civilian air travel, there is no centralized process yet for booking seats on Space A flights. It is a fragmented system that requires extra diligence on the part Space A travelers.

That having been said, if you have the time and flexibility, Space A travel offers incredible discounts. We have gathered valuable resources to help you better understand the Space A system and prepare you for what to expect.
 

Space Available Flight: Am I Eligible?

The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals and their category of travel. In Space A terms, your "category" of travel is your priority. The numerical order of space-available categories indicates the precedence of movement between categories; e.g., travelers in Category III move before travelers in Category IV.

You are placed in one of these six categories based on a combination of two criteria: your status (for example, active duty Uniformed Services member, DoDDS teacher, etc.), and your situation (for example, emergency leave, and ordinary leave, etc.).

Once accepted for movement, a space-available passenger may not be "bumped" by another space-available passenger, regardless of category.

A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R.

New regulations, which went into effect December 6, 2007, allow spouses and children of personnel deployed 120 days or longer now can use military transport in CONUS, to/from CONUS, and within/between theater, provided they have a verification letter from the military member's commander. See Details Below

DoD Travel for Dependents of Deployed Military Members Memorandum (PDF).


Category I - Emergency travel on a round-trip basis in connection with serious illness, death, or impending death of a member of the immediate family of the following:

  1. United States citizen civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas.

  2. Full-time, paid personnel of the American Red Cross serving with United States military Services overseas.

  3. Uniformed Service family members whose sponsors are stationed within the continental United States (CONUS) and the emergency exists overseas.

  4. Family members of United States citizen civilian employees of the DoD when both sponsor and dependents are stationed overseas at the same location.

  5. Uniformed Service family members when accompanied by their sponsor may travel within the continental United States (CONUS) if the emergency exists in the CONUS.

Category II - Environmental Morale Leave (EML):

  1. Sponsors on environmental and morale leave (EML) and accompanied family members. Military personnel must also be on ordinary leave. Any other type leave such as convalescent or overseas tour extension incentive program (OTEIP) with EML is not authorized.

  2. DoD Dependent School (DoDDS) teachers and their accompanied family members in EML status during school year holiday, vacation periods or employer-approved training during recess periods.


Category III - Ordinary leave:

  1. Members of the uniformed services in an ordinary or reenlistment leave status and uniformed Services patients on convalescent leave. Members on convalescent leave may not travel overseas unless their leave form is so annotated.

  2. Military personnel traveling on permissive temporary duty (TDY) orders for house hunting.

    a. If the permissive TDY is for the purpose of permanent change of station house hunting, the member travels in Category III, may travel within the continental United States (CONUS) as well as international travel, and may be accompanied by one family member.

    b. Bona fide family members (with a valid identification card) of a Service member of the uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor who is in an ordinary leave status within overseas areas between overseas stations and air terminals in the CONUS.

  3. This privilege does not apply to travel of dependents to or from a sponsor's restricted or unaccompanied tour location or to travel in a leave status to or from TDY locations. It applies only to round-trip travel to an overseas area or the CONUS with the sponsor. DoD 4515.13-R restricts use of these privileges to establish a home for family members in an overseas area or the CONUS.

  4. Foreign exchange service members on permanent duty with the DoD, when in a leave status.


Category IV - Unaccompanied dependents on EML:

  1. Unaccompanied family members (18 years or older) traveling on EML orders. Family members under 18 must be accompanied by an adult family member who is traveling EML.

  2. DoDDS teachers or family members (accompanied or unaccompanied) in an EML status year round.


Category V - Permissive Temporary Duty and students:

  1. Students whose sponsor is stationed in Alaska or Hawaii.

  2. Military personnel traveling on permissive TDY orders for other than house hunting.

  3. Command sponsored dependents (18 years of age) of Uniformed Services members who are stationed overseas may travel unaccompanied from the sponsor's PCS duty location to the CONUS and return. Travel is also authorized within the overseas theater. Travel cannot be between two overseas theaters (i.e., from Germany to Panama or from Japan to England). Dependents must have command sponsored documentation signed by the Commander verifying command sponsorship.


Category VI - Retirees:

  1. National Guard/Reserve components/members of the Ready Reserve and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List.

  2. Retired military members who are issued DD Form 2 and eligible to receive retired or retainer pay.

  3. Family members (with a valid identification card) of retired members when accompanied by a sponsor.


To qualify for the new Military Family Space "A" travel policy the following conditions apply:

  1. Family members must be legal dependents - spouses and children - of military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve members).

  2. Service member is activated and deployed for at least 120 consecutive days or more, according to officials at the Air Force's Air Mobility Command.

  3. There is no limit on the number of times family members of deployed troops can travel on Space-A flights.

  4. Those eligible may sign up for Space-A travel before the sponsor's deployment, but no earlier than 10 days beforehand.

  5. Dependents can start travel on the first day of the member's deployment and must complete their travel by the last day of the deployment.

  6. Family members must have a letter from the sponsor's commander verifying the deployment, and it must be in the dependents' possession. The letter is good for the duration of the member's deployment. If the letter is lost, destroyed or no longer legible, the family member must get a new one.

  7. Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an eligible parent or legal guardian. Family members in these circumstances are classified as Category 4, which means they have a higher priority for getting Space-A seats than retirees and their family members, who have the lowest priority, Category 6.

  8. Officials remind family members that flying Space-A on military or military-contracted flights is a privilege, not a guarantee. Passengers should be prepared to purchase commercial transportation at any point.

  9. Space-A passengers may be required to pay certain federal fees when entering or leaving the continental U.S. on commercial contract aircraft.

  10. Travel for Dependents of Deployed Military Members Memorandum. (requires PDF Reader)

If you are unsure of which category you fit in, please refer to DoD 4515.13-R, Chapter 6, Table 6.1 for a complete explanation of each category.
 

Space Available Flight: Basic Rules and Regulations

  1. Leave Status for Travel: Uniformed Services members on active duty must be in a leave or pass status to register for space-available travel, remain in a leave or pass status while awaiting travel, and be in a leave or pass status the entire period of travel. DoD civilian employees must be in a leave or nonduty (i.e., weekend or holiday) status to register for space-available travel. If in a nonduty status, leave must have been approved for the first normal working day following the nonduty period. A leave status must then be maintained while awaiting travel and for the entire period of travel. Those members in appellate leave status are not authorized space-available travel privileges.

     

  2. Space available passengers travel only after all duty cargo and passengers have been accommodated. All available seats are released, but there is no guaranteed movement in the preferred time frame, Have sufficient funds available to complete travel using commercial transportation if necessary.

     

  3. Space available (Space A) eligible travelers may not use their privilege for personal gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Space A travel may not be used to establish a home or when international or theater restrictions prohibit such travel.

     

  4. Dependents traveling on Space A: Dependents of active duty and retired military personnel are authorized CONUS travel with their sponsor as a result of the 2003-2004 Dependent CONUS test. All other dependents may not travel within the CONUS except as follows:

     

    a. Dependents of active duty and retired uniform service military personnel, when accompanied by their sponsor (must have emergency status indicated in leave orders). Dependents may travel on domestic leg segments of international flights during the beginning or end of their international flight. For example, if a flight originates in Texas, stops in California as part of the mission, and then continues overseas, family members eligible for travel may fly from Texas to the overseas area on the flight. They may not, however, travel just simply Texas to California (unless traveling with their sponsor as previously noted).


    Except EML, Emergency Travel, and Command Sponsored Category V, family members must be accompanied by the sponsor to fly Space A.

     

  5. Space A seats are normally identified as early as 2-3 hours and as late as 30 minutes prior to departure. Recommend checking with the passenger service center for the space available show time prior to departing the terminal. Be ready for immediate processing and boarding.

     

  6. Travelers are assigned a category upon registering for travel and compete for seats within categories based on the date and time of registration. This date and time of sign-up is valid through to destination; a new date and time are assigned for return travel. Travelers may stand by for any available flight.

     

  7. Space required passengers or cargo may require the removal of Space A passengers at any point. If removed en route, travelers may re-register with their original date and time of registration. Passenger agents will assign a new date and time to any country changed or added to an application. Names of all originating space available passengers who depart on a flight will be removed from all destinations. Travelers should be prepared to purchase onward or return commercial transportation, meals, and lodging.

     

  8. Travelers remain on the register for 60 days or the duration of their leave orders or authorization, whichever occurs first.

     

  9. Baggage: Each passenger may check two pieces of checked baggage, 70 pounds each, up to 62 linear inches in size. Family members may pool their baggage allowances. Hand-carried baggage must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment, if available. NOTE: Baggage weight may be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions.

Space Available Flight Gateways

  Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma
  Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
  Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
  Baltimore-Washington IAP Airport, Maryland
  Ben Gurion IAP, Israel
  (NAS) Brunswick, Maine
  Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico
  Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina
  Charleston IAP, South Carolina
  Christchurch, New Zealand
  Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi
  (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas
  Diego Garcia
  Dover Air Force Base, Delaware
  Edwards Air Force Base, California
  Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
  Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
  Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington
  F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
  Forbes Field, Kansas
  Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota
  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii
  Hill Air Force Base, Utah
  Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico
  Iwakuni MCAS, Okinawa, Japan
  (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida
  Kadena Air Base, Japan
  Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi
  Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
  Kunsan Air Base, Korea
  Lajes Air Base, Azores
  (NAS) Lemoore, California
  Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
  MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
  McChord Air Force Base, Washington
  Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana
  March Air Reserve Base, California
  Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
  Misawa Air Base, Japan
  Naples, Italy (Capodichino Airport)
  (NAS) Norfolk, Virginia
  (NAS) North Island, California
  Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
  Osan Air Base, Korea
  Patrick Air Force Base, Flordia
  (NAS) Pensacola, Florida
  Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina
  Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
  Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
  Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) IAP, Washington
  Sigonella Airport, Sicily
  Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
  Travis Air Force Base, California
  Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida
  (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington
  (NAS) Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
  Yokota Air Base, Japan

A more exhaustive list of gateways with up to date contact information can be found at John D's Space A website.

Space Available Flight Schedules

Because of increased world tensions and terrorist activities, most flight scheduling information is no longer posted on the Internet. One exception is the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) site, which allows you to check the daily OSA Space-Available Flight schedule and a searchable OSA Flight Schedule. These schedules can only be accessed from a government installation. Also, your DNS server at your base must be configured to do a reverse lookup.

The Public Searchable Schedule on the JOSAC website allows you to view missions starting on a particular date and five days in the future. It also allows you to find missions departing or arriving at a given ICAO. This is real time information. The limitations of this page is that it will not give you the Flight Advisory or request information.

Space Available Flight: How to Register

At most bases, there are four ways to sign up for Space A travel:

  1. A completed AMC Form 140
  2. On-line registration (e-mail)
  3. Fax
  4. In person

If you are on active duty, you MUST be on leave or pass status at the time you register for Space A travel. You must also be in such status while you're waiting to be accepted.

The following information is generally required for a successful sign up:

  1. Name
  2. Rank/Grade
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Branch of service
  5. Start and stop dates of leave (for active duty only)
  6. Category (I - VI)
  7. Number of passengers traveling with you
  8. Destination (up to five may be chosen)
  9. Name and Social Security Numbers of any dependents who will be traveling with you

Sponsors who register in person for family members traveling with them should present all required documents:

  1. Identification cards (DD Form 2, Armed Forces Identification Card)
  2. Passports
  3. Immunization records
  4. Visas when required by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide

Travel Documents must be presented when selected for travel. Travelers may select up to five countries. We recommend the "all" choice for the 5th destination so that the traveler may take advantage of unscheduled unique travel opportunities.

After you register, an email will be sent to the selected departure location and to your e-mail address. You will compete for seats within a travel category based on the date and time of your registration. This determines your selection on all flights to your selected destination. When you get to your final destination, be sure to sign-up immediately for your return travel. This will give you the "best" date and time for competing for seats on those flights.

You can sign up at multiple gateways where you think you will originate your travel. Once registered, your names remain on the Space A flights register for whichever occurs first:

  1. 60 days, or

  2. the duration of the travel orders/leave authorization, or

  3. until you are selected for travel

Active duty military may travel on a pass in the CONUS and selected overseas areas but may only remain on the Space Available register for 72 hours.

Passengers authorized (in writing) for a special 96-hour pass will remain on the list for 96 hours. If a passenger subsequently presents a leave order valid for the (pass) day of sign up, during or after the 72-hour period, they must sign up again with a new date and time.

Passengers who possess expired leave authorizations will not be able to register unless a leave extension has been approved. A verbal confirmation will be acceptable. Passengers already on the space available register requesting a leave extension are required to notify passenger service personnel prior to their leave expiration date. Your name will remain on the space available register as long as you are pursuing a leave extension. Passengers will not be selected or moved until an extension has been approved.

There are four types of sign-up:

  1. Country - Under this program, you may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations. You are also eligible for the "ALL" sign-up which makes you eligible for all other destinations served. This gives you a greater selection of destinations from which to choose.

     

  2. Remote - Remote sign-up allows passengers to enter the backlog by telefaxing copies of proper service documentation along with desired country destinations and family members' first names to the aerial port of departure. The telefax data header will establish date/time of sign-up; therefore, active duty personnel must ensure the telefax is sent no earlier than the effective date of leave. AMC terminals are not responsible for faxes not received. Mail entries will also be permitted. Some of our AMC terminals now accept e-mail sign-up (see paragraph 11 for those terminals so equipped). The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the passenger until his or her destination is reached. On reaching destination, the passenger may again sign-up for space available travel to return to home station. NOTE: If applicable, a statement that all required border clearance documents are current, is required.

     

  3. Self - Self sign-up is a program that allows passengers to sign-up at a terminal without waiting in line. Most locations now provide self sign-up counters with easy to follow instructions for registration. Active duty personnel must ensure sign-up takes place no earlier than the effective date of leave. If your travel will take you to a foreign country, ensure border clearance documentation is up to date. If you are unsure, verify it with a passenger service representative on duty.

     

  4. All - Eligible to sign up for all other destinations served and gives the traveler a greater selection of destinations from which to choose.

Space Available Flight: Required Documentation

The following documentation is required. Please have them ready for review when selected for travel:

  1. Active Duty Uniformed Services Member (includes National Guard and Reserve members on active duty in excess of 30 days and Cadets and Midshipmen of the U.S. Service Academies):
     

    1. DD Form 2 (Green) US Armed Forces ID Card (Active), or Form 2 NOAA (Green) Uniformed Services ID and Privilege Card (Active), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Green) US Public Health Service ID Card (Active)

    2. A valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status

 

  1. Retired Uniformed Service Members:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Blue) US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), or DD Form 2 NOAA (Blue) Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue) US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired)

     

  2. National Guard and Reserve Members: Authorized Reserve Component Members (National Guard and Reserve) of the Ready Reserve and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Red) Armed Forces of the United States ID Card (Reserve)

    2. DD Form 1853, Authentication of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility

     

  3. Retired Reservists Entitled to Retired Pay at Age 60:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Red)

    2. A notice of retirement eligibility as described in DoD Directive 1200.15. If the automated DD Form 2 (Red) has been issued, the member is registered in his or her service personnel system as a Reserve retiree entitled pay at age 60, and a notice of retirement is not required.


     

  4. Retired Reservists Qualified for Retired Pay:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Blue) US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), or DD Form 2 NOAA (Blue) Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue) US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired)


     

  5. On Active Duty for 30 Days or Less:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Red)

    2. Orders placing the Reservist on active duty

    3. A valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status


     

  6. ROTC, Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC), and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Members: When enrolled in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program:

     

    1. DD Form 2 (Red)

    2. DD Form 1853


     

  7. Dependents of Uniformed Services Members:

     

    1. DD Form 1173

    2. United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card


     

  8. EML Travelers:

     

    1. Besides any documentation required by the categories above, EML orders issued by the Unified Command. Participants of the EML program may take no more than two trips per year and may not be taken within 6 months of the beginning or end of the service.

    Space Available Flight: Immigration and Border Clearance Requirements

    The following Customs and Immigration border clearance list is not all inclusive, but it provides information pertaining to countries AMC serves on a regular basis:

    ATTENTION: These requirements are subject to change at any time by each country. Travelers should verify the requirements for each destination with an AMC terminal, travel agent, or commercial airline serving that country well ahead of the anticipated departure date.

     

    Argentina (2)(3)(4)(5)
    Australia (2)(3)(4)(A)
    Azores Islands (2)(4)

    Bahrain (2)(3)(4)
    Bermuda (1)
    Bolivia (2)(4)(7)
    Brazil (2)(3)(4)

    Chile (2)(4)
    Colombia (2)(3)(4)(8)

    Ecuador (2)(4)
    Egypt (2)(3)(4)(5)

    Germany (2)(A)

    Israel (2)(3)
    Italy (2)(5)(A)

    Japan (2)(3)(A)(B)
     
    New Zealand (2)

    Panama (2)(3)(4)(5)(C)
    Paraguay (2)(3)(4)
    Peru (2)(3)(4)

    Republic of Korea (2)(3)(5)(A)
    Saudi Arabia (2)(3)(4)
    Singapore (2)
    Spain (2)(4)(9)

    Thailand (2)(3)
    Turkey (2)(3)(4)(D)

    United Kingdom (2)(A)
    Uruguay (2)(4)

    Venezuela (2)(3)(4)


    Numbered notes shown above:
    (1) Proof of United States citizenship.
    (2) Passport.
     

    (3) Visa.
    (4) Yellow fever vaccination required if entering from an infected area.
    (5) Cholera immunization required if entering from an infected area.
    (6) Bilingual leave authorization in Portuguese and English or French and English may be used in lieu of passport for military personnel.
    (7) Tourist card recommended instead of visa.
    (8) Preclearance from United States Defense Attaché Office (USDAO).
    (9) Leave authorization containing the following statement may be used in lieu of passport for military personnel: "La persona a quien esta orden pertenezca esta autorizada por las autoridades militares competentes de los Estados Unidos de America para entrar o salir de Espana en mision oficial vestido de civil o militar."

    Lettered notes shown above:
    (A) Passport or visa requirement does not apply for DOD personnel. stationed in Germany. All others traveling in a leave status require passports.
    (B) When traveling to Japan for tourist purposes, a visa is not required for US passport holders with a valid passport if length of stay is 90 days or less. It is highly recommended Korea and Philippine passport holders obtain a Japanese visa.
    (C) Tourist visas are available upon arrival in Panama. ($10 good for 30 days and $10 round trip taxi).
    (D) When traveling to Incirlik AB, Turkey, for tourist purposes, the possibility exists that you may be unable to obtain a gate pass. Document is issued by the Turkish Air Force and is required to exit or enter the installation. Please contact the Incirlik Passenger Terminal for updates.

    Space Available Flight: Boarding Procedures

    Normally, a space available roll call will be conducted 1 1/2 hours prior to departure on CONUS flights and 2 hours prior on OCONUS flights. Selection will begin with the passenger having the highest category of travel with the earliest date/time of sign-up. In other words, the terminal personnel will call passengers beginning with Category I and work their way down to Category VI until all available seats are filled.

    You must be present when your name is called to be ensured a seat on the flight. Space available passengers arriving at the flight information counter after a specific space available call has begun must wait until all other space available passengers in the backlog have been afforded an opportunity for open seats. We recommend you arrive at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to all scheduled roll calls. And keep in mind all flights are subject to change without prior notice.

    You must also be "travel ready," if not, your acceptance for space available travel may be denied. 

    Once selected for space available travel, you will be required to show your ID card and all other pertinent documentation.

Space Available Flight: Insider Tips

  1. Look for super-saver fares to the destination of your choice. You may find that a bargain flight is a better way to go than taking the scheduling risks associated with flying Space A. While Space A flights can save you money, a ticket in hand does provide a peace of mind.

     
  2. When you are considering flying Space A, ask around your command, and try to get information from others who have used the service to find out which flights typically have availability to and from your target destination. 

     
  3. The quickest path may not be a straight line. Not all military terminals handle the same volume of traffic. Such bases as McChord, Travis, Dover, Ramstein, are major gateways and handle a lot of traffic. Going from major terminal to major terminal may get you to your destination faster than if you had flown directly out of a smaller terminal.

     
  4. Before 9/11 it was common to get Space A information over the phone or on the Web. Now such information is rare, and don't be surprised if you are required to sign-up in person.

     
  5. Space A flights do not always keep to schedule, particularly OUTCONUS. This has been especially true since 9/11. Missing a Space A flight is never a valid excuse for reporting back late from leave, so plan extra travel time when going Space A. It is recommended to add at least 2 days to your plans for any contingencies - you may need to delay your departure and/or return.

     

     
  6. While terminal personnel are generally very courteous and professional, they are often short on details. Don't get frustrated. Keep in mind that force protection has become a critical concern and it often governs what information is made available. Remember, the mission of any flight takes a higher priority that accommodating Space A.

     
  7. As a servicemember, you are likely aware of the austere condition on most military flights. If you are traveling with your family, make sure they know what to expect. Sometimes the seating can best be described as "unique." Be prepared for the flight to be extra hot or cold, sometimes both. Always bring a jacket no matter what the current weather. The flights are usually cold due the altitude, and you may be diverted to a place much colder than your original destination.

     
  8. Bring snacks, plenty of reading material, a game boy, walkman, laptop, etc. for the flight and the waiting period in the terminal. And don't forget your earplugs. Earplugs will most likely be provided, but it is always good to have your own.

     
  9. Don't dwell on it, but give some thought on a back-up plan if the flight ends up going somewhere you hadn't planned, or doesn't end up going to your target destination. Remember most military flights make several stops to and from the final destination, and conditions may warrant an unscheduled change.

     
  10. Space A should not be your first choice if you absolutely, positively have to be somewhere on time. The primary purpose of military aircrafts is to perform military missions, not chauffeur you around. Space A is a great way to see the world, but think of it as the proverbial "slow boat to China" rather than the Concorde.

     
  11. To be a successful Space A traveler, you have to relax and be patient. If you are unable to do that, you should reconsider your decision to try Space A travel. 

     
  12. Think of traveling Space A as an adventure, and be open to changes in you itinerary. Your attitude will make the difference!

For further information visit the Air Mobility Command Space A Website.
 

Space Available Travel FAQ

People not familiar with the Space A system often do not know the questions to ask to make their travel easier. The following are some of the most common Space A questions and their answers:

Question: Are family members of deployed personnel allowed to fly unaccompanied?
Answer: Yes. As of December 6, 2007, spouses and children of personnel deployed 120 days or longer now can use military transport in CONUS, to/from CONUS, and within/between theater, provided they have a verification letter from the military member's commander. .

Question: Is Space A travel a reasonable substitute for travel on a commercial airline?
Answer: The answer depends on you! If your travel schedule is flexible and your finances permit for a stay (sometimes in a "high-cost" area), while awaiting movement, space available travel is a good travel choice. While some travelers sign up and travel may be the same day, many factors could come together to make buying a commercial ticket your best or only option. Remember, Space A travel success depends on flexibility and good timing.

Question: Who determines eligibility to fly Space A?
Answer: The four Services jointly establish Space A eligibility. AMC's first responsibility is airlifting official DoD traffic. Space A passengers are accommodated only after official duty passengers and cargo.

Question: Are Space A opportunities assigned with regard to rank or status?
Answer: Reservations shall not be made for any space-available passenger. Travel opportunity shall be afforded on an equitable basis to officers, enlisted personnel, civilian employees, and their accompanying dependents without regard to rank or grade, military or civilian, or branch of Uniformed Service.

Question: How long does my name stay on the Space A list?
Answer: All travelers remain on the register 60 days after registration, for the duration of their leave orders authorization, or until they are selected for travel, whichever occurs first. Revalidation has been eliminated.

Question: What is country sign-up, and how does it affect me?
Answer: Under this program, you may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations. You are also eligible for the "ALL" sign-up which makes you eligible for all other destinations served. This gives you a greater selection of destinations from which to choose.
Question: What is remote sign-up?
Answer: Remote sign-up allows passengers to enter the backlog by telefaxing copies of proper service documentation along with desired country destinations and family members' first names to the aerial port of departure. The telefax data header will establish date/time of sign-up; therefore, active duty personnel must ensure the telefax is sent no earlier than the effective date of leave. AMC terminals are not responsible for faxes not received. Mail entries will also be permitted. Some of our AMC terminals now accept e-mail sign-up (see paragraph 11 for those terminals so equipped). The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the passenger until his or her destination is reached. On reaching destination, the passenger may again sign-up for space available travel to return to home station. NOTE: If applicable, a statement that all required border clearance documents are current, is required.

Question: What is self sign-up?
Answer: Self sign-up is a program that allows passengers to sign-up at a terminal without waiting in line. Most locations now provide self sign-up counters with easy to follow instructions for registration. Active duty personnel must ensure sign-up takes place no earlier than the effective date of leave. If your travel will take you to a foreign country, ensure border clearance documentation is up to date. If you are unsure, verify it with a passenger service representative on duty.

Question: How can I find where my name is on the Space A register?
Answer: Each terminal maintains a Space A register (organized alphabetically, by priority and the date and time of registration for travel) that is updated daily. The register is conveniently located in the terminal and directly accessible to you. Travelers may call the terminal direct to find where they stand travel wise.

Question: As a Reservist, where can I fly?
Answer: Reserve members with DD Form 2 (Red) identification and DD Form 1853 may fly to, from, and between Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the CONUS. Additionally, when on active duty, members may fly anywhere overseas that AMC has flights operating.

Question: As a Retiree, where can I fly?
Answer: Retired members with DD Form 2 (Blue) identification card may fly anywhere AMC has flights operating, including the CONUS.

Question: Where and when can my family members travel with me?
Answer: Except EML, Emergency Travel, and Command Sponsored Category V, family members must be accompanied by the sponsor to fly Space A. Family members may travel to/from and between overseas locations but not within the CONUS unless manifested on domestic leg segments of international travel.

Question: Can I have family members travel with another military member if given power of attorney, other releases, or authority?
Answer: No. Family members may only travel when accompanied by their sponsor.

Question: I am disabled. Can I have a brother, sister, or friend accompany me to help me?
Answer: The only persons permitted to accompany you are your dependents (not in the CONUS) or other persons eligible for Space A travel. Every effort shall be made to transport passengers with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to travel. Passenger service personnel and crew members shall provide assistance in boarding, seating, and deplaning passengers with special needs.

Question: Do I have to be in uniform to travel?
Answer: Each Service determines their own travel uniform policies. Currently, all the services permit appropriate civilian attire on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. When civilian clothing is worn, use common sense. Attire should be in good taste and not in conflict with accepted attire in the overseas country of departure, transit, or destination, as defined by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. It should also be capable of keeping you warm, especially on military aircraft.

Question: How much baggage can I take?
Answer: As a Space A traveler, you may check two pieces of luggage at 70 pounds each per person. Family members traveling together may pool their baggage allowance as long as the total does not exceed the total allowance. You may hand carry only what fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment, if available.

Question: Can I pay for excess baggage when flying space available?
Answer: No. Only duty status passengers may pay for excess baggage.

Question: Do you have any recommendations on baggage?
Answer: Yes. Travel light, take only essentials. Do not place valuables, medicine, or important documents in your check baggage. Be sure your name and current address are on and inside your bags. AMC terminals have baggage ID tags available for you to use.

Question: Can my pet travel with me on a Space A flight?
Answer: No. DoD has reserved pet shipments for passengers in permanent change of station (PCS) status. Additionally, travel with pets would be difficult at best due to limited aircraft pet spaces, pet import documentation requirements, and the possibility of quarantine in the event of an aircraft divert.

Question: Will Space A travel cost much?
Answer: In general, no. Some terminals must collect a head tax or a federal inspection fee from Space A passengers on commercial contract missions. Meals may be purchased at a nominal fee out of most air terminals while traveling on military aircraft. Meal service on AMC Category B full planeload charters is complimentary.

Question: What facilities are available at AMC terminals (nursery, BX, snack bar)?
Answer: Facilities at most military terminals are generally the same as commercial facilities. The type of facility available will vary according to the terminal size and location.

Typical facilities at AMC terminals include:

  1. Base exchanges
  2. Barber shops
  3. Snack bars
  4. Pay television (free television lounge in some military terminals)
  5. Traveler assistance
  6. Baggage lockers or rooms
  7. United Services Organization (USO) lounges
  8. Nurseries (at major terminals)

NOTE: Most AMC passenger terminals close at night. Space A travelers should be prepared to defray billeting expenses.

Question: What are the trends in the availability of Space A travel? Does it seem as if there will be more or less Space A travel in the coming year?
Answer: Although AMC has led efforts to improve Space A travel in the past few years, movement still remains a result of unused seats. Present DoD personnel and budget trends are affecting Space A movement opportunity. AMC is dedicated to putting a passenger in every available seat.

Question: What is the best time of the year to travel Space A?
Answer: Any time other than peak travel and holidays (December-January and June-July) periods.

Question: Is it easier to go to some destinations?
Answer: Yes. Places where we fly often (Germany) are much easier than low frequency areas (Australia or New Zealand).

Question: Can people travel Space A to Alaska or South America?
Answer: Yes. Travelers may obtain Space A travel to Alaska, South America, and other interesting locations; i.e., Australia, New Zealand, etc. Travel to Alaska is relatively easy when departing from the West Coast (Travis AFB, California, and McChord AFB, Washington). Travel to South America and other remote areas is much more difficult. Infrequent flights to remote areas are primarily cargo missions and have few seats available for passenger movement. Expect long waiting periods for movement.

Question: I am retired and am traveling on a passport and my flight originated overseas. Where in the CONUS can I fly into?
Answer: When traveling on a passport (family members, retired uniform service, reserve, etc.), you may return to the CONUS only through authorized ports of entry where customs and immigration clearance is available. While you may depart the CONUS literally from any military airfield, reentry locations for passport holders are limited. Active duty passengers who do not require immigration clearance have more reentry options open.

Question: Can I fly on Space A on other than AMC flights?
Answer: Yes. Your travel eligibility is for all DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. AMC, however, does not always have knowledge of other command/services' flights. Telephone numbers are available for many of the passenger terminals in the CONUS (see paragraph 11).

Question: Can I call the bases for flight information? If so, what are the phone numbers?
Answer: We encourage you to call the passenger terminal you plan on traveling through 30-60 days before travel. The terminal will be happy to discuss their flight schedule, Space A backlog, movement forecast, etc.


Have more questions regarding Space A Travel policies? Please visit the Air Mobility Command Space A Website.

Travel Advisories

Looking for important information before you travel? We're here to help:

Before you travel abroad

Be sure to check the State Department site for updated information on:

  1. Travel Advisories for countries around the world
  2. Passports
  3. Visas
  4. No-Fee Regular Passports for Diplomatic, Official, Military Dependents, Peace Corps and others traveling on official government business


Also be sure to check the The Centers for Disease Control site for updated information for travelers, including updates on:

  1. Vaccinations required or recommended for the countries you plan to visit
  2. Outbreaks of diseases that could affect your travel plans
  3. Cruise Ships and Air Travel
  4. Traveling with Children
  5. Special Needs Travelers
  6. Destinations
  7. How to avoid illness from food or water

For your return to the US

Did you know that in many instances, the personal and household effects of U.S. government and military personnel (and those of their immediate family) arriving in the United States receive a special exemption which is more generous than a returning resident or visiting non resident? Get details on this and other important traveler information from the US Customs Agency.
 

 

 

 

 

        

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