Difference between revisions of "Space-A travel"
Revision as of 05:01, 9 July 2015
This article is a travel topic
Space-A travel is an opportunity for U.S. military personnel, their dependents, and retired military personnel to travel on military aircraft for free or for steeply discounted prices--often $27 or less.
The official AMC Travel site for Space A Travelers: Inside AMC Travel
Space-A travel was implemented by the U.S. Army for the purpose of casually transporting persons and supplies overseas on a space-available basis. The concept is somewhat ironic, since Space-A travel is statutorily recognized as "sea transportation," even though virtually all travel has been and currently is facilitated by aircraft.
Access to space-available flight is determined by your place in a six-category hierarchy: Members of the U.S. military travelling on emergency leave have the greatest priority, followed by a scant number of individuals on so-called Environmental and Morale Leave (EML)--an ameliorative provision offered to those who have been stationed in undesirable locations for a long time. Next comes regular active-duty military personnel on official leave, which comprises the largest proportion of the six categories. Further down are family members of those on EML and some teachers employed by the department of defense; lower still are certain students and military persons on temporary assignments. Reservists, retired military members, and dependents are at the bottom of the totem pole; moreover, reservists are only permitted to fly within the continental U.S. (CONUS) and U.S. possessions. If you need to travel abroad, you must be in active duty status or show orders to report to your base, if it is located outside CONUS.
Categories of Travel 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.
Category 1 – 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/ Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) activities. Dependents of member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor. Noncommand sponsored dependents of member of the Uniformed Services, residing overseas with the sponsor, one-way to the emergency destination. Dependents, command sponsored of : U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Uniformed Service, U.S. citizen civilian paid by the NAF stationed overseas, or American Red Cross full-time paid personnel serving with a DOD Component overseas.
Category 2 – Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave (EML) status and their dependents traveling with them, also in EML status. “Sponsors” includes: Uniformed Services Members. U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Army Forces who are eligible for Government-funded transportation to the United States at tour completion (including NAF employees). American Red Cross full-time, paid personnel on duty with DOD Component overseas. USO professional staff personnel on duty with the Uniformed Services. DODDS Teachers during the school year and for Employer-approved training during recess periods.
Category 3 – Ordinary Leave, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor Holders, Foreign Military, and other. Uniformed Services members in a leave or pass status. Reserve components on active duty, in leave or pass status. Dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor in a leave status. Uniformed Services members traveling under permissive TDY orders for house hunting incident to a pending PCS. One dependent may accompany a Uniformed Services member. Medal of Honor recipients and their dependents when accompanied by their sponsor. Foreign cadets and midshipmen attending U.S. Service academies, in a leave status. Dependents of foreign exchange Service members on permanent duty with the Department of Defense when accompanied by their sponsor.
Category 4 – Unaccompanied Dependents on EML and DODDS Teachers on EML During Summer. Dependents traveling under the EML Program, unaccompanied by their sponsor. DODDS teachers of dependents accompanied or unaccompanied traveling under the EML Program.
Category 5 – Permissive TDY (Non-House Hunting) Students, Command Sponsored Dependents. Dependents (children) 18-23 years of age who are college students attending in residence at an overseas branch of an American (U.S) university located in the same overseas area in which they reside, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor. Command-sponsored dependents stationed overseas with their sponsor are permitted to travel unaccompanied to and from the nearest overseas military academy testing site to take scheduled entrance examinations for entry into any of the U.S. Service Academies. Command-sponsored dependents of Uniformed Services members accompanied or unaccompanied who are stationed overseas
Category 6 – Retired, Dependents, Reserve, ROTC Retired Uniformed Services members Dependents of retired Uniformed Service members, when accompanied by their sponsor. Dependents, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor are permitted unaccompanied travel to the U.S. or enlisting in one of the Armed Forces when local enlistment in the overseas area is not authorized. If an applicant for Military Service is rejected, return travel to the overseas area may be provided under this eligibility. National Guard/Reserve component members and authorized Reserve component members entitled to retired pay at age 60 (gray area retirees) has limited space a travel. Newly commissioned ROTC officers who are awaiting call to extended active duty.
Where to fly
Naval Air Station Sigonella Italy a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base (Italian: Base aerea di Sigonella) in Sicily, Italy.
Naval Support Activity Naples Italy a United States Navy base, located at Naples Airport in Naples, Italy.
Kadena AB Okinawa Japan a United States Air Force base in the towns of Kadena and Chatan and the city of Okinawa, in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Yokota AB Japan a United States Air Force base in the city of Fussa, one of 26 cities in the Tama Area, or Western Tokyo.
Misawa AB Japan a United States Air force base in Aomori Prefecture, in the Tōhoku region in the northern part of the island of Honshū of Japan.
Clark Freeport Zone a redevelopment of the former Clark Air Base, a former United States Air Force base in the Philippines. It is located on the northwest side of Angeles City and on the west side of Mabalacat City in the province of Pampanga.
Paya Lebar AB Singapore a military air base of the Republic of Singapore Air Force located at Paya Lebar, in the central-eastern part of Singapore. It has limited incoming and outgoing Space A flights.
Don Mueang International Airport (or also [old] Bangkok International Airport) - one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport ([New] Bangkok International Airport). It has limited incoming and outgoing Space A flights.
Kunsan Air Base South Korea a United States Air Force base located at Gunsan Airport, which is on the west coast of the South Korean peninsula bordered by the Yellow Sea. It has limited incoming and outgoing flights.
Osan Air Base South Korea a United States Air Force facility located near Songtan Station in the city of Pyeongtaek, South Korea, 64 km (40 mi) south of Seoul.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni or MCAS Iwakuni Japan a United States Marine Corps air station located in the Nishiki river delta, 1.3 NM (2.4 km; 1.5 mi) southeast of the Iwakuni Station in the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan. It has limited incoming and outgoing Space A flights.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi Japan a naval air base located in the cities of Yamato and Ayase in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It has limited incoming and outgoing Space A flights.
Plan Your Trip
Those with flexible schedules are most likely to realize success when utilizing Space-Available travel. Your chance of securing a seat is a strong function of origination and destination point (large, busy Air Force bases will have a greater selection of flights), season (avoid holidays and on-peak travel periods to your destination), and your place in line (early birds have priority over those who sign up later within the same category). These are especially important considerations if you are in the bottom category, as getting seats around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the busy summer season can be near impossible. Your reward for having a few days of slack time around your departure dates, travelling off-season, signing up early, and packing light, is a unique flight experience for the price of a cheap dinner for two.
An excellent site for making plans around Space A locations: http://ujspaceainfo.com/
Don't think you can escape baggage restrictions by flying Space-A! The restrictions are considerably more permssive than commercial airliners, and you won't be charged a fee if your bags are too heavy or exceed maximum dimensions. You may, however, suffer some disappointment when you discover that weight and dimensional requirements vary across aircraft, and that your super-long umbrella or 60-pound rock collection is not allowed on the aircraft you're scheduled to board.
Baggage TSA Info: for AMC Hubs(~40 airports) www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130917-139.pdf 4.1. AMC adheres to most Transportation Security Agency (TSA) www.tsa.gov/ regulations and requirements for air travel. ►Each passenger may check two pieces of checked baggage not to exceed 70 pounds each (140 pounds total) and 62 linear inches in size. Family members may pool their baggage allowances. Hand-carried baggage must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment, if available. Baggage weight may be or can be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions. 4.2. Hand Carried. Each passenger is permitted to hand-carry one article (small luggage, garment bags, backpack, etc.) and one personal item (cosmetic case, purse, briefcase, small box, package, etc.) for storage in the passenger cabin area. The weight of these items will not be considered as part of the passenger's baggage authorization on military aircraft. Hand carried items will be no larger than 45 linear inches and must fit under the passenger's seat or in the overhead compartment. Items that are too large will not be accepted for passenger cabin storage and must be checked-in. 4.3. AMC adheres to TSA guidelines (listed below) for hand carried baggage. 4.3.1. 3-1-1 for carry-ons: 3 ounce bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. The 3 oz. container size is a security measure. 4.3.2. Consolidate bottles into one bag and x-ray separately to speed screening. 4.3.3. Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. NOTE: Baggage weight may be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions. Check with your PSC for more information. 4.4. Excess Baggage. Excess baggage is not authorized for Space-A passengers. Disposition of unauthorized excess baggage is the responsibility of the passenger.
Travelers using Space-A will need a passport, appropriate visas, and appropriate vaccinations for their destination country. Travelers will also need to abide by the custom regulations for the destination country.
Government aircraft fully span the hospitability spectrum: some aircraft have all the comforts of home, like high-pitch reclining seats, on-board catering and entertainment, and well-maintained lavatories. At other times, you will be flying in a cargo plane, which can be a two-engine turbo-prop with a minimal interior and maximal response to turbulance, poor weather, and outside temperatures.
Dress in layers before boarding. You may not know what kind of aircraft is waiting for you at the gate, and temperatures can be very uninviting (< 0 C) inside the cabin of some of the more primitive airplanes at cruising altitude.