With the “peak season” for permanent-change-of-station moves almost upon us, the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron offers the second installment of its PCS 101 series to assist members with making their travel arrangements.
LRS professionals re-committed to making every PCS move a better experience for service members, Department of Defense civilians and their families assigned to Ramstein. Brian Muller, the KMC Transportation Officer, said, “Early planning is key.”
His team at the Passenger Section/Commercial Ticket Office books tickets for all official PCS or TDY travel. The staff, consisting of Airmen, host nation employees and contractors totals just 11 people, but they issued 8,000 port call seat tickets, booked 2,800 pet spaces and distributed 28,000 commercial airline tickets in 2011.
Master Sgt. Lisa Boston, 86th LRS, leads the passenger section, and her staff is determined to meet your travel requirements throughout the peak rotational season. Located on Ramstein in the same building as the housing office, passengers can walk in from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They can also call them with questions or for assistance on any weekday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 480-5373.
However, for most of your PCS travel requirements, the interaction with the passenger section is included as part of your outbound assignment process. Outbound assignments in the Force Support Squadron will give members a port call worksheet to complete and identify a 10-day window for travelling. Outbound assignments will send the completed request to the passenger section where the travel will be booked and confirmation sent back to outbound assignments. Travelers will receive notification from outbound assignments finalizing their information on their port call flights.
There are many challenges associated with passenger travel in conjunction with a PCS move. A great resource to get all your PCS questions answered is the once a month “ABC’s of PCSing” briefing hosted by the Airman & Family Readiness Center at the Hercules Theater. The passenger travel section conducts a briefing and hosts a Q&A as a part of this program.
“The most misunderstood part of PCS travel booking is the order of precedence,” Muller said.
The Defense Transportation Regulation directs the means by which passengers may be moved to meet their PCS requirements. For most members, Air Mobility Command-procured channel airlift (like the Patriot Express operated from the Ramstein Passenger Terminal) must be used in connection with international travel. Exceptions can be made for the travel precedent, but must be requested by the unit commander and include a clear explanation of the negative mission impact for consideration by the transportation officer.
Traveling with pets continues to be a challenge for PCSing families. Service members are responsible for all expenses related to the pet shipment and must comply with the carrier regulations. They must also ensure entry and health requirements are met prior to pet shipment. Space on AMC flights is limited and each family is limited to two pets per family on Patriot Express flights. The passenger section will assist with scheduling pets on AMC airlift if there are pet spaces available, but if not, the traveler will be responsible for shipping their pets with a commercial carrier.
Non-availability of pet space on AMC airlift does not automatically exempt passengers from the order of precedence for airlift. However, due to an unexpected surge in PCS travel this summer, Muller said his team has been given some latitude to seek commercial travel alternatives on a case-by-case basis. According to the passenger section, a successful PCS is based on planning in advance and contacting our professionals early to confirm your travel arrangements.