SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Every day, hundreds of military and military-contracted commercial aircraft travel the world delivering troops and cargo. These missions allow hundreds of thousands of military personnel, retirees, family members and other Department of Defense-eligible travelers to fly at almost no cost, courtesy of the DOD Space-Available, or Space-A, Travel Program.
Space-A flights, often called “military hops,” are a unique benefit to U.S. service members, retirees and their families. Under the DOD travel program, unused seats on U.S. military and military-contracted commercial aircraft are made available to non-duty passengers on a space-available basis once official duty passengers and cargo have been accommodated. Space-A travel is free with the exception of customs and head tax fees on these aircraft.
To sign up, eligible travelers ages 10 and up must present a DOD-issued ID card and appropriate travel authorization or, for active-duty personnel, current leave paperwork.
Eligible travelers can sign up for Space-A either in person at any passenger terminal, or remotely in one of four ways: fax, e-mail, Internet or regular mail. Travelers must provide the sponsor’s name and name(s) of all traveling dependents, rank (active-duty members only), number of seats required, and destination(s) desired.
“Self sign-up is a program that allows passengers to sign-up at a computer kiosk without waiting in line,” said Cindy Rothenbach, AMC passenger policy branch. “Most locations provide self sign-up kiosk with easy-to-follow instructions for registration.”
Ms. Rothenbach also said active-duty personnel must sign-up no earlier than the effective date of their approved leave.
If traveling to and from overseas areas, travelers must know the restrictions of any foreign country to be visited. Status-of-forces agreement restrictions, U.S. State Department travel advisory guidelines and U.S. State Department passport and visa requirements are all necessary items to research prior to traveling abroad. The individual country entry requirements and travel advisories may be found on http://travel.state.gov/
AMC aircraft often have open passenger seats available to fly eligible travelers across the U.S. as well as to and from other countries. However, since missions can be rerouted, delayed or canceled for a variety of reasons — weather, maintenance issues or higher priority missions — AMC officials advise travelers to be flexible with travel plans and to allow extra time for potential delays. Officials also recommend travelers have sufficient personal funds to pay for commercial transportation to return to their residence or duty station if space-available transportation is not available.
According to AMC officials, today’s military operations tempo underscores the importance of properly caring for military service members and the families who support them. Space-A travel and the DOD travel program are a reflection of the trust and faith DOD officials place on men and women in uniform.
“We want service members, their families, military retirees and other eligible DOD-affiliated travelers to take advantage of this tremendous benefit and the opportunities Space-A travel offers,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Merchant, AMC director of logistics. “We strongly recommend all eligible travelers check with their nearest passenger terminal for Space-A possibilities before making travel arrangements. We’ve made recent improvements to make Space-A travel more customer-friendly and invite our passengers to tell us what they think of the service.”
For more information, including AMC passenger terminal information, travel eligibility, and a downloadable Space-A traveler handbook, visit the AMC travel Web site at www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/index.asp.
Passenger terminal locations and contact information can be found at www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/amctravelcontacts.asp.
(Courtesy of Air Mobility Command Public Affairs)