One of the benefits of being in the military is access to low, or zero, cost travel. These are called Space-A, or Space Available, flights. The only downside to Space-A travel is that they can be very unpredictable.
As a Retired Solider, you are eligible to reserve a seat on a Space-A flight. The only way to sign up for a Space-A flight is through a military terminal. You can sign up on the terminal's register up to 60 days in advance, for more than one destination and at more than one terminal. Your best chance to get the flight you want is to sign up as early as possible, especially because as a Retired Solider, you are at the bottom of the priority list. This means that if there are passengers of higher priority who also sign up for the same flight, you will not get a seat on your desired flight.
To travel on a Space-A flight, you need your military ID card and your passport or any other required visas for overseas travel. There are several airfields out of which you can take a Space-A flight. For a complete list, please visit the Air Mobility Command website.
Space-A travel is not your typical air travel, so plan ahead with these quick tips:
- Choose your terminal wisely. Less busy terminals might get you where you want to go faster.
- Consider off-season travel. Instead of waiting for a holiday, go when school is in session for maximum availability.
- Expect the unexpected. Space-A seats can be released two or three hours before a scheduled flight, so get there early. And remember — your flight could be delayed a few hours or a few days. It might make an unscheduled stop or get rerouted.
- Manage your money. You'll want enough money for a commercial plane ticket home or a hotel room, just in case.
- Pack lightly. Not every military plane has the same luggage allowance, so pack efficiently.
- Be flexible. You could fly on a comfortable passenger plane or in the cargo hold of a C-130, so pack a good attitude and sense of adventure. If you do swing a seat on that C-130, wear closed-toe shoes and consider a sleeping bag so your little ones (or you) can stretch out on the floor for a snooze.
For more information about Space-A, please visit My Army Benefits.