726th AMS offers Space-A travel|
Posted 6/19/2012 Updated 6/19/2012
by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/19/2012 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany - -- Space-available travel is a way for active-duty, active-status U.S. reserve members, retirees and their families to fly for free or at a reduced cost.
Space-A allows service members to use empty seats on military aircraft already traveling for official duty as a benefit to military members and their families.
"It is an Air Force requirement for Air Mobility Command to use any and all available seats on military aircraft that aren't otherwise prohibited," said Staff Sgt. Jedidiah Coover, 726th Air Mobility Squadron passenger operations supervisor. "Unless there is a mission requirement, we can fill that seat (with a Space-A customer)."
Available seats are on a first come, first served basis. Passengers are assigned a category, and categories determine the priority the travelers are given.
· Category 1: Active-status military, Department of Defense civilian or dependent non-funded emergency
· Category 2: Environmental Morale Leave with or without dependents
· Category 3: Ordinary leave, convalescent leave and permissive TDY (house hunting only) and dependents upgraded due to a sponsor being deployed more than 365 days
· Category 4: Department of Defense Dependents Schools teachers and EML travel for dependents without their sponsors and dependents upgraded due to a sponsor being deployed more than 120 days
· Category 5: Unaccompanied overseas stationed command sponsored dependents, permissive TDY and student travel
· Category 6: Retired military travel
Flying without a sponsor
Families of military service members flying without their sponsor are required to have a signed command sponsorship letter to fly unaccompanied. The signed letter allows the family member to stay on the space-A register for 60 days.
"I went alone, and it worked out great, because I had all the time I needed," said Hannah McLaughlin, wife of Staff Sgt. Patrick McLaughlin, 606th Air Control Squadron.
Passengers can travel from overseas to the contiguous United States and CONUS to overseas, but not CONUS to CONUS. Family members must submit a command sponsorship letter signed by their sponsor's unit commander or acting commander prior to signing up for a flight.
Unaccompanied family members are classified as Category 5, but are given higher priority if their sponsor is deployed for an extended period of time. Family members are raised to Category 4 if their sponsor has been deployed for more than 120 days and to Category 3 if their sponsor has been deployed for more than 365 days.
Documents needed when traveling without a sponsor include an ID and passport, along with either a signed command sponsorship letter or an upgrade letter if the sponsor is deployed.
Flying with a sponsor
Service members must be in leave status sign up for and to travel on Space-A and must remain on leave until they return. U.S. reserve members must be on active status for more than 30 days in addition to be on leave status.
Service members are classified as Category 3, along with any of their family members traveling with them.
Active-duty travelers will need their ID card and either their leave form or military orders to travel.
Available flights are forecasted out 72 hours, with seat availability 12 hours prior to the flight. A schedule is updated regularly and can be found on the Commander's Access Channel, the passenger terminal's Facebook page or by calling DSN 452-8860 or 06565-61-8860.
Passengers can purchase a box lunch for $4.55 and can pay with cash, check, travelers check, money order or credit card.
Space-A travel saves people money, and gives them an opportunity to get home and see family, maybe more frequently than they would otherwise, Coover said.
Documents needed when the traveler checks-in the day of the desired flight may include their leave form, orders, command sponsorship letter, upgrade letter, ID card, passport and a visa.
Each passenger is allowed two 70-pound bags as checked luggage in addition to their carry-on. The baggage allowance is larger than some commercial flights, and Coover suggests travelers should be able to mail excess luggage to avoid additional fees if flying further after Space-A or returning on a commercial flight.
Parking is available at the passenger terminal for up to 30 days. Parking passes are issued once a person is selected during roll-call and given a boarding pass for a flight.
Space-A flights are one-way, and Coover recommends travelers have funds available to take commercial travel if needed.
For more information about Space-A travel or to sign up for a flight, call DSN 452-8866 or 0656-61-8866.