Are You Eligible For A Space
There are six categories, or cats, of eligible Space-A travelers, depending on their duty status and the reason they are traveling.
Those in lower-numbered categories receive higher priority for available seats.
Here is a summary of the Space-A travel categories, according to the Military OneSource website:
Cat 1: Emergency leave unfunded travel
Cat 2: Accompanied environmental and morale leave
Cat 3: Ordinary leave, service members relatives, house-hunting permissive temporary duty , Medal of Honor holders, and foreign military also includes unaccompanied dependents of service members deployed for more than 365 consecutive days.
Cat 4: Unaccompanied EML also includes dependents of service members deployed between 30 and 364 consecutive days
Cat 5: Permissive TDY , student travel, and post-deployment/mobilization respite absence also includes unaccompanied dependents of service members stationed outside the continental U.S.
Cat 6: Military retirees, their dependents, military reserve, Reserve Officers Training Corps members and veterans who are 100% disabled
It is important to know your category when planning your Space-A travel because your category determines when you can sign up, what paperwork you need, and where you are eligible to fly. Table 3 in Section 4.11 of Department of Defense Instruction 4515.13 has more details on eligibility by category and approved geographical travel segments.
Show Time And Roll Call
- Show Time is when Roll Call can begin and it is about 2-3 hours before it would be time to fly. You need to be aware of when Show Time is supposed to start, as well as what time you would fly if you make it on the flight. Always give yourself extra time.
- Roll Call is going to be when the date and time you signed-up for that location and the category you are in come into play. With Roll Call they start with CAT-I, and go through all the way until CAT-VI, or until they fill all the seats. For example, someone who is in CAT-IV, who signed up on June 1st, at 10:30 am will be ahead of someone who signed up for CAT-IV, on June 1st, at 11:30 am. All of CAT-IV would be ahead of all of CAT-5. They might just have 10 seats, or they might have 50 seats, it depends on the flight, aircraft, and how much space they actually have on the flight.
- You will need to be right there during Roll Call. If you are somewhere else, and they call your name, and you dont check in, you will not make it on the flight. You will need to be travel ready when this happens.
Migration From Facebook To The Amc Website
Previously, most military passenger terminals had Facebook pages on which they posted flight schedules and related information.
Starting in late 2021, passenger terminals that fall under AMC were directed to migrate away from Facebook to pages on the AMC website. Passenger terminals respective web pages are linked from the passenger terminal directory on the AMC Travel Page.
The migration was originally scheduled for completion by February 28, 2022, but as of this writing, it is still ongoing. Some AMC terminals are still posting flight schedules on Facebook. Also, part of the process of restoring capacity to handle Space-A travelers involves training passenger terminal staff on the new system to update and post flight information.
Bottom line: if youre looking for flight schedules, you may need to dig a little bit to find them online. You can also contact the passenger terminals directly.
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Identify Your Destination And Possible Routes
1. Identify Your Destination and Possible Routes
The first step is to learn which bases have regular flights to where you want to travel. This list of worldwide destinations where Space-A travel may be available includes profiles of some of the terminals and information about typical flight destinations. Youll want to begin following some of their Space-A flight schedules, which well discuss in the next step.
You may find several possible routes to your desired destination. For example, if you are on the East Coast and want to fly to one of the common destinations, including Spain or Germany, you will likely be able to travel from several nearby bases. Travelers from other parts of the U.S. may need to take two or more hops to get there.
The can help you put together a flight plan to your destination. You can ask questions and find information about flying to and from specific locations.
You may have to combine Space-A travel with other transportation. For example, you may need to fly or drive to a base with regular Space-A flights to your desired destination. Or you may need to take a train or flight from an overseas base to your final destination.
Military Mwr And Recreation Facilities
When planning your next vacation, what will you look for?
Cabins on the beach? A golf course with amazing views? Access to top destinations like Waikiki, the Grand Canyon, Tokyo, or islands in the Mediterranean?
Or maybe you want to visit local tourist attractions, so youre looking for advice and cheap tickets.
Well guess what? You can have all of the above on U.S. military facilities around the world! Not only are these things available to you as a retiree, regardless of your branch of service, but they are significantly less expensive than at a civilian hotel or resort.
You can plan an entire vacation around military recreation facilities and bases that are located on some of the best real estate in the world!
Heres a reminder of some of the great amenities and services at military facilities worldwide.
Resorts and Hotels
Military MWR has hotels and resorts all over the world, from the Shades of Green Armed Forces Recreation Center at Disney World to the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.
These are incredible, high-end facilities that you should definitely consider when planning your next vacation.
RV Parks and Campgrounds
You can find military campgrounds, also known as FamCamps, at bases all over the U.S., and in a few locations overseas. These campgrounds are an affordable way to vacation in top destinations while enjoying access to all of the other base amenities.
Information, Tickets & Travel Office
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Space A Travel Categories
The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals and their category of travel. A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R, Air Transportation Eligibility.
Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel. Transportation by the most expeditious routing only for bona fide immediate family emergencies, as determined by DOD Directive 1327.5. This travel privilege shall not be used in lieu of a funded travel entitlement.
- Uniformed Services members with emergency status indicated in leave orders.
- U.S .citizen civilians stationed overseas and employees of the Uniformed Services/Non-appropriated Fund activities and whose travel from the CONUS, Alaska or Hawaii was incident to a PCS assignment at NAF expense.
- Dependents of members of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor.
- Dependents, command sponsored of :
- U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Uniformed Service, stationed overseas
- U.S. citizen civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas and paid from NAF, or
- American Red Cross full-time paid personnel serving with a DOD Component overseas.
Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave status and their dependents traveling with them, also in EML status. Sponsors includes:
Ordinary Leave, Close Blood or Affirmative Relatives, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor Holders, Foreign Military, and Others.
Unaccompanied Dependents on EML and DODDS Teachers on EML During Summer.
Permissive TDY Students, Dependents and Others.
Ready To Travel The World
If youre a military retiree headed for FIRE and you love to travel, Space-A travel is the perfect way to stretch your budget and maintain the lifestyle you envision! It also gives you the flexibility to come and go as you please without worrying about losing money on changes fees or missed flights.
I know these strategies work because my husband and I have been FIRE since 2015. Using our privileges to fly Space-A has saved us thousands of dollars in the past four years.
The next step is to learn everything you can about how Space-A flights work so that you will be travel-ready when you hit your FIRE target!
I look forward to seeing you at a Space-A terminal somewhere in the world!
Many thanks to Stephanie for sharing her knowledge on Space-A travel as a retiree and FIREe!
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Keep Copies Of Your Space
At most military passenger terminals, an electronic copy of your signup is sufficient, but it never hurts to have a paper copy. You can expedite the process of marking yourself present by having your travel documents readily available, including your signup e-mail and the military IDs and passports of all travelers.
When marking yourself present, you should also confirm that any signup information the terminal has is correct, including the date and time of signup, the number of travelers, and the final destination.
Do Not Sign Up For Space
Example: If you sign up to fly out of JB Andrews with the intention of traveling 6 weeks from today, do not send that passenger terminal a new Space-A signup just to make sure they received it . Your priority is based on whatever signup is most recent. If you sign up at Andrews again a week prior to travel, you will go from having more than 40 days of seniority to only 7 days.
On the other hand, if, after signing up at Andrews, you decide that you should sign up for other Washington, DC-area bases to expand your options, those signups do NOT affect your seniority at JB Andrews.
To confirm that your signup was received, try calling the passenger terminal directly. You can find a list of all military passenger terminals and their contact info in the Passenger Terminal Directory on the Air Mobility Command Travel Site.
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Board The Aircraft And Pick Your Seat
If you are flying Space-A on a Patriot Express flight, your boarding pass will list your assigned seat. On o
When terminal staff announces boarding, youll go through security and wait in a secure area. With most flights, a bus will take you to the aircraft, and youll board from the tarmac.
On most Space-A flights, youll choose your seat when you board. On Patriot Express flights, your boarding pass will list your assigned seat.
What To Expect On A Space
Patriot Express flights offer amenities, including meals and in-flight movies.
Other Space-A flights do not. Snacks and water may be available, but its best to be prepared and bring your own.
Seating depends on the type of aircraft. Some have seats that are comparable to commercial airlines. Others have web seating along the sides of the plane. If this is the case, you can stretch out if theres room.
Patriot Express flights are climate-controlled, but other military aircraft are not. They are often cold or hot, so dress in layers. They can also be loud. The crew will usually provide foam earplugs, but its a good idea to bring your own.
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Aim To Sign Up For Space
Example: You are at the terminal waiting for Roll Call and you signed up 60 days ago. You will be among the first Cat VI passengers selected for the flight if seats are available. But if Roll Call is delayed until tomorrow, you will lose that priority because your 60 days will have expired. You will need to sign up again, meaning your new signup is only 1 day old.
*At certain Naval Air Stations, including NAS North Island and NAS Fort Worth, the maximum advance signup is 45 days. If you plan to travel through these locations, aim to sign up 35 to 40 days in advance.
What Would A Seasoned Space
Flying Space-A requires planning, patience and flexibility. Learn as much as you can about the process, and also research desired destinations and passenger terminals so that you can put together a successful flight plan.
When you are ready to leave, make sure you always have a backup plan and ensure you have enough money to pay for commercial transportation if Space-A doesnt work out. Also, be prepared for a multi-legged journeyseveral shorter hops that bring you closer to your destination, rather than one long direct flight.
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Can Retirees Fly Space
Yes, however, it also depends on what type of retiree you are. Those who are receiving retirement pay and have a BLUE retiree ID card as well as their accompanying dependents can use Space-A. Those who are considered a Gray Area retiree, have limited eliginity and their dependents can not fly Space-A.
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New Patriot Express Routes
If youve been stationed OCONUS, you may have taken the Patriot Express, aka the Rotator, to/from your duty station. In the past two years, AMC added two new Patriot Express routes:
- The AMC terminal at Seattle Tacoma airport added a route that includes Andersen AFB in Guam.
- JB Lewis-McChord added a temporary route to Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan commencing in 2022. These missions will operate between May 16 and September 30.
PE passengers who are PCSing on orders are space-required passengers, but Space-A travelers can use unoccupied seats. The process of flying Space-A on the Patriot Express is the same as for any other Space-A flight.
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Other Facts About Space
Some Space-A travel is similar to flying in a commercial aircraft . If, for example, you can catch the Space-A rotator to Ramstein in Germany from BWI Airport in Maryland, you will be provided with in-flight meals and beverages, just like flying commercial.
Other Space-A travel can offer harsh conditions, such as jump seats or other minimal passenger accommodations. Your flight may be colder than commercial travel. Its important to plan ahead and bring bottled water to stay hydrated, as well as snacks and warm clothing.
Depending on the mission, time of year and other factors, you may fly Space-A with cargo, deploying troops and sometimes even live animals. Expect dust or other environmental issues, depending on where youre going.
Smoking is not allowed on or near military aircraft or in military air terminals. Planning ahead also requires anticipating possible delays in getting to areas where you are allowed to smoke again.
That advice may seem targeted specifically at those with tobacco habits, but those who have needs for regular medication or issues that require consistency in care should expect delays and prepare accordingly. You may need to administer medicine or other treatment in the air or at a military air terminal because of delays or changes in flight plans.
Prepare For Your Space
AMC has a travel page that includes the following important information about Space-A travel. You should review this travel page for up-to-date information, including what type of identification is required for you and your family, baggage allowance for checked and hand carried baggage, and prohibited items.
- Travel instructions: travel eligibility locations required travel documents registration, flight schedule and checking-in information.
- AMC Form 140, Space Available Travel Request
- Listing of Facebook pages for stateside and overseas locations.
- AMC passenger terminal contact information.
- Various travel information links.
- Legal information for Space-A travel.
- Operations security for social media and travelers.
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Check Your Luggage And Obtain Your Boarding Pass
You and all members of your traveling party, along with all your luggage, must be present when the baggage check begins. This may be right after roll call, or it may be several hours later. You will need to stay in the terminal, as boarding times, like roll call times, can change without notice.
The AMC websites FAQ page includes detailed information on baggage allowances. Because smaller aircraft may have different weight limits for luggage, its best to check ahead of time.
You will generally be allowed to check two pieces of luggage weighing up to 70 lbs each. Similar to many commercial flights, you can also bring one piece of carry-on luggage that fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment. You can usually check car seats and strollers, and they wont count toward your baggage allowance.
AMC terminals follow the Transportation Security Administrations baggage screening guidelines, so check their website ahead of time to see what you can bring in your carry-on bag, and what you must put in checked luggage.
Check if meals are available on the flight, as youll pay for these when you check your luggage. Some locations offer simple box lunches for a nominal cost.
Space A Eligibility Frequently Asked Questions
Im a Grey Area Retiree, Where Can I Fly?
Per the DOD reg , Table 6.1, Item 35, a Grey Area Retiree , can fly within the CONUS and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. The DoD reg , Table 6.1 does not authorize Grey Area Dependents to fly Space-A.
Can 100% Disabled Veterans Travel Space-A?
Despite rumors to the contrary, 100 percent disabled veterans in possession of DD form 1173 or 2765 identification cards are not entitled to space-a travel aboard DoD aircraft. Any changes to space- a eligibility rules will be published as an immediate change to DoD 4515.13r and advertised accordingly .
Are Widows/Widowers Eligible to Travel Space-A?
Widows/widowers of active duty/retired military personnel are not entitled to space-a travel aboard DoD aircraft. Any changes to space- a eligibility rules will be published as an immediate change to DoD 4515.13r and advertised accordingly .
Can a ROTC Cadet Fly Space-A?
Yes. When enrolled in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program, on presentation of the following valid: DD Form 2 and DD Form 1853.Category of Travel is Cat 6 and travel is authorized ONLY within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and the US. territories.
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