Update: On April 22, 2022, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense lifted all restrictions on Space-A travel. The restrictions had been in place since March 2020 to limit the spread of Covid-19. Please note that mask mandates and medical screening protocols may apply.
Space-Available (Space-A) Travel refers to seats available for travel on military aircraft. It’s common knowledge that all military branches transport cargo, equipment and service members around the world, but many people don’t know that the Air Force, under Air Mobility Command (AMC), also transports military dependents, medical patients, retirees and certain government civilian workers. Space-Available travel is only applicable once all duty cargo and passengers have been accommodated first. Space-A Travel is also dependent on mission requirements and various other factors.
Space-A Travel Tips
- A nominal fee may apply.
- Have your leave paperwork when signing up.
- You can only sign up on the first day of your leave.
- Environmental Morale Leave will bump you up a category. You must have the EML form.
- Know what category, from one to six, you are in, so you have an idea of what your chances are.
- Call ahead and listen to flight schedules to see if any are heading in the direction you want to go.
- You can fax, email, register in person or mail in a reservation request up to 60 days in advance. This can save you from traveling back and forth to the air terminal, as required in the past. Your name will be placed on the waiting list according to the Julian date on which you made your request. The military and governmental offices use the Julian date rather than the calendar date, which is simply the actual day of the 365 days in a year. For example, June 14, 2022, is Julian date 165 because it’s the 165th day out of the 365 days in the year 2022. This number will be a part of your reservation confirmation number.
- Pack snacks and a change of clothes in a carry-on bag in case the plane is rerouted or delayed.
- Official duty passengers are in priority in category 1.
- Military reservists are in the last category, category 6.
- When flying in a military aircraft, the military mission comes first, so be prepared to be rerouted and to have to catch out of another air terminal from an unplanned destination. Cargo on these aircrafts also has priority over passengers, so you may be bumped off en route. Make sure you have enough money to purchase a commercial airline ticket in case this happens.
- You must purchase in-flight meals.
- Each passenger may check two pieces of checked baggage, up to 70 pounds each and 62 linear inches in size. Family members can pool allowances. No excess baggage is allowed.
- One hand-carried item is permitted.
- Roll calls for passengers who will be on flights take place anywhere from between two and three hours prior up to 30 minutes before flights leave.
- Space-Available Travel is exactly as described. A seat may not always be available.
For in-depth details on flying military space-available travel, refer to the Department of Defense or visit the Air Mobility Command website.
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