Space-A or Space Available flight is a unique military benefit that current servicemen and servicewoman, retirees, and family members can utilize to save a ton of money.
Essentially, Space-A is free flight travel for all current and former military members and their families. However, Space-A is not as perfect as it sounds. Now that more people know about Space-A travel and that we are now in the post 9-11 era, Space-A travel has become more restrictive and in order to navigate and effectively use the benefits of Space-A travel, one needs to be flexible. Here are some tips for getting the best out of Space-A travel:
- Figure out your eligibility: Available seats are offered to all service members and retirees. Guards and reserve members can also travel via Space-A but with restrictions. Family members can travel without active duty sponsors under circumstances such as Environmental and Morale Leave. For current members to sign up for Space-A, they must be on leave or pass status when they sign up. With questions regarding eligibility, visit http://www.spacea.net/faqs/spacea-eligibility
- How to get flight information: For obvious security reasons, military flight information is not published online. The best way to get flight information is to call the passenger terminal and ask. Call the busiest terminals because they often have the most flights and will be able to provide the most information.
- How to sign up: To fly Space-A, military members and family must register at the military terminal which they want to flight out of. You can sign up as early as 60 days in advance of the flight on the terminal’s register. To sign up, you need to use your military ID and leave papers if necessary using fax or email but procedures vary. If you have questions regarding sign up, check http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/index.asp.
- Priority: After registering for a flight, you will be put in a category which gives you priority for flights. To be best prepared to fly Space-A understand you priority. Once you are assigned the category, they board all category I then category II, etc until the entire flight is filled.
The categories are as listed:
- Category I. Active duty service members and their accompanying families traveling on emergency leave.
- Category II. Service members and their accompanying family members traveling on EML. This includes command-sponsored family members who are stationed outside the continental United States.
- Category III. Service members and their accompanying families traveling on ordinary leave or reenlistment leave status, and unaccompanied family members of service members deployed 365 consecutive days or more. This category also includes service members and their families on house-hunting leave.
- Category IV. Unaccompanied family members on EML orders and eligible family members of service members deployed 120 days or more.
- Category V. Students whose sponsor is stationed in Alaska or Hawaii and students enrolled in a trade school within the continental United States when the sponsor is stationed overseas.
- Category VI. Retirees and their accompanying family members. This category also includes Guard and reserve members who are traveling within CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories.
What you need: In order to travel, you need to have documentation. A military ID is required, a copy of leave orders (if necessary), a letter verifying eligibility from the service member’s commanding officer if you an a unaccompanied family member, a passport and necessary visas if traveling oversea. If you are in the Reserve, you need a DD Form 1853: Verification of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility (for eligible Guard and reserve members)