Space Available Flight: FAQs

Space-A travellers are loaded into a C-17 headed for Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 21, 2008. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)
Space-A travellers are loaded into a C-17 headed for Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 21, 2008. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

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: Do I have to be in uniform to travel?
Answer: Each Service determines their own travel uniform policies. Currently, only the Marine Corps requires members to be in uniform when traveling Space-A. 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: 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: 

  • Base exchanges
  • Barber shops
  • Snack bars
  • Pay television (free television lounge in some military terminals)
  • Traveler assistance
  • Baggage lockers or rooms
  • United Services Organization (USO) lounges
  • Nurseries (at major terminals)

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

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 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. Click here to view a list of the Space A Gateways.

For more Frequently Asked Questions please see the AMC website.

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