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:
- United States citizen civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas.
- Full-time, paid personnel of the American Red Cross serving with United States military Services overseas.
- Uniformed Service family members whose sponsors are stationed within the continental United States (CONUS) and the emergency exists overseas.
- Family members of United States citizen civilian employees of the DoD when both sponsor and dependents are stationed overseas at the same location.
- 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):
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Military personnel traveling on permissive temporary duty (TDY) orders for house hunting.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Foreign exchange service members on permanent duty with the DoD, when in a leave status.
Category IV - Unaccompanied dependents on EML:
- 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.
- DoDDS teachers or family members (accompanied or unaccompanied) in an EML status year round.
Category V - Permissive Temporary Duty and students:
- Students whose sponsor is stationed in Alaska or Hawaii.
- Military personnel traveling on permissive TDY orders for other than house hunting.
- 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:
- National Guard/Reserve components/members of the Ready Reserve and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List.
- Retired military members who are issued DD Form 2 and eligible to receive retired or retainer pay.
- 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:
- Family members must be legal dependents - spouses and children - of military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve members).
- Servicemember is activated and deployed for at least 120 consecutive days or more, according to officials at the Air Force's Air Mobility Command.
- There is no limit on the number of times family members of deployed troops can travel on Space-A flights.
- Those eligible may sign up for Space-A travel before the sponsor's deployment, but no earlier than 10 days beforehand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Space-A passengers may be required to pay certain federal fees when entering or leaving the continental U.S. on commercial contract aircraft.
- 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.