I’ll admit it: the unpredictability of flying Space-A stateside scares the tar out of me.
It goes like this – I love free (or even cheap) things. LOVE them. But I also love having a plan. And the idea of dragging myself to a “passenger terminal” at a nearby base hours before a flight is scheduled to leave, hoping to get a seat on it to a place that there might, at some point in the next several days, be a plane with a seat for me to the place I really want to go makes me incredibly nervous.
And then there’s the trip home. Just because planes go into where I want to go from somewhere near me does not mean they return to where I came from in anything approaching a similar pattern. I fear I could be flying around the US with my cranky toddler for weeks, out of snacks and really short on patience … all for a “free” flight.
According to the Air Force, however, the Space-A travel system is about to get a tiny bit more predictable with the launching of individual passenger terminal Facebook pages. Until recently an “unofficial” but fairly straight forward site was the only source of any reliable information. A phone call to the terminal could confirm any changes in flights or seat availability.
Now the terminals will be managing their own Facebook pages with the same information, as well as details on what has happened in the past.
For example, you'll be able to see what Space-A flights left Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week, how many seats each of those had on them and when the people who got those seats signed-up for them. By viewing that information you might be able to guess what sorts of flights will be happening in the future and how many seats those will have.
If that counts as “more predictable,” I’ll take it.
Before you get all excited about hoping on a free military flight to somewhere warm (because that's what I'm thinking about right now), there are rules about who can and cannot fly Space-A. You can find them here.
The Air Force said each terminal should already have or will be posting shortly their passenger terminal page on Facebook. They said you can find yours by searching on Facebook for the name of your base plus the words "passenger terminal." I easily found JBLM's, but couldn't find anything for Fort Campbell (where a recent JBLM flight was headed).
Of course, not everyone feels super nervous flying Space-A like I do. I have a friend who absolutely loves it, and has taken several flights that way to visit her family in Alaska, saving thousands of dollars on airfare for herself and her five children. That's a definite win.
Any Space-A experts out there who want to share their tips or reasons why I should fly this way and not run scared in the other direction?