Space A saves money for flexible travelers

Airman 1st Class Edward Drescher
Kaiserslautern American

A typical roundtrip ticket from Germany to the United States can cost anywhere from $600 to $800. A typical roundtrip space-available flight to the United States can cost less than $30.

What’s the catch? – Only a little flexibility and patience.
Space-A traveling is open to most Department of Defense ID cardholders, and the name means exactly what it says: If there is space available on an aircraft, passengers will be accommodated accordingly.

Space A isn’t a flawless substitute for commercial flying, but it can be perfect for people with flexible schedules.

“If you have to be at a certain place at a certain time, Space A might not be fore you, but if you are flexible and have the resources, Space-A travel can be a pleasurable experience,” said Capt. Brian Mitchell, 723rd Air Mobility Squadron officer in charge of Ramstein passenger terminal.

Space A out of Ramstein will receive some consistency with the Rhein-Main Transition Project. Rhein-Main Air Base currently has contracted commercial aircraft, which make weekly trips to and from Baltimore. These flights are scheduled to start coming through Ramstein Oct. 1.

The one key is that in order to sign up for Space A the person must be on leave. There are four ways to sign up: in person, by fax or e-mail, on the Internet or by postal mail. Once signed up, they will be placed into one of six categories with one being the highest priority. Category I is for travelers on emergency leave, category II is for passengers on environmental morale leave, category III is for active duty on ordinary leave or house hunting, category IV is unaccompanied dependants, category V is for passengers on permissive TDYs and category VI is for retired military and ROTC cadets.

In order for Space A to work, there are a few guidelines in which travelers should adhere to. Travelers should always carry the required paperwork, remember that all flights are subject to change, be travel ready and most importantly be nice to the passenger service agent.

All flights may change because they are all based on mission requirements.
“You may have to wait for a day or you may have to wait for weeks; it all depends on the mission,” said Airman 1st Class Kenneth Cumbie, 723rd AMS passenger specialist.

Most Space-A locations also offer various amenities that can help travelers and their families stay comfortable. Places such as United Service Organizations areas, base exchanges and food courts can help alleviate some of the stress of waiting.

“I absolutely love Space A and I haven’t had a problem with it yet,” said Senior Airman Melissa Maraj, who has flown Space A out of Ramstein for more than two years and has caught more than 10 flights with her 5-year-old daughter.

“I believe I have saved more than $10,000 by traveling Space-A,” she said.
Airman Maraj also gave a helpful tip by suggesting that passengers bring along some cold weather clothing.

“I always carry a hat and a pair of mittens, because depending on the plane you might be dealing with some cooler temperatures,” said Airman Maraj.

Travelers just need to remember that traveling Space A is not a perfect replacement for flying commercial. There will be waits and there will probably be some changes. Flexibility and patience are the key, but a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.

For more information, call the terminal at 479-4440 or visit