Space-Available: the military option for personal travel

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Keith Dodge
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing
Join the Air Force, see the world! 

We've all heard the recruiters talk about free travel opportunities, but how many of us take advantage of them? Some people would like to, but they don't feel comfortable due to a lack of knowledge or experience. Others are seasoned Space-Available cowboys. The Small Air Terminal is your Space-A resource. 

Space-A travel is a usually free, exciting benefit available throughout many military installations which offers a way to travel around the world, and is a great way to network. 

However, Space-A is not a guaranteed mode of travel. Mission changes, higher-category passengers or later sign-up times can affect the ability to get a particular flight. Space-A travel can also be unpredictable, since it is a by-product of mission requirements. While every effort is made to care for passengers, the mission must be the first priority. 

You do not need to have a firm destination in mind to register for Space-A travel. As opportunities arise, you may want to take one that had never crossed your mind before.  Registering for travel can be accomplished via e-mail, fax and regular postal delivery. 

Each location is independent, in that the flights are only scheduled as one-way travel. For example, if you sign up for travel from Milwaukee to Hickam AFB, HI, you would need to sign up at Hickam to return to Milwaukee. 

It's best to sign up for a flight as early as possible. Passengers are chosen for flights based on their Category (I-VI) first, then by their date and time of sign up in their Category. The longer you are on a list, the closer to the top of the list you become. 

If you are a traditional guardsman or reservist, you are eligible for Space-A travel to CONUS (Continental US) locations. For the purposes of Space-A, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico are considered CONUS. Dependants, however, are not authorized travel. You would travel in Category VI, the same as all retirees. You can register up to 60 days in advance of a flight, and names are removed from the Space-A register after 60 days, or after taking a flight. 

AGRs are active-duty personnel. If you are an AGR, you and your dependants are eligible for Space-A travel both CONUS and OCONUS (outside Continental US). You would travel in Category III. AGRs must be in pass or leave status to sign up for travel. Many people make known their intention to fly well in advance of their leave dates, which is advisable.  However, the actual date and time of sign-up are determined by the leave or pass date. 

Once registered, potential passengers typically stay in touch with the Passenger Terminal of the location they are leaving from to determine the time and date of roll call for a specific flight. Roll call is usually several hours before a flight, however Milwaukee is different. We conduct roll call via telephone the last duty day prior to the flight. 

Each passenger is allowed 2 checked bags, up to 70 lbs each, and one carry-on bag. Families may pool their baggage. Clothing for the flight must be appropriate for the location and customs of both the departing and arriving station. In addition, clothes should be suitable in case of in-flight emergencies. Closed-toe shoes, a light jacket and pants are typical requirements. 

Information regarding specific flight details is usually only available at the departure location up to three days ahead of a flight. Milwaukee and some other units give some visibility earlier. Longer term flight scheduling is available in person. 

A military ID card, passport or visa are required for some OCONUS locations. Leave or pass forms are required for active-duty passengers, DD Form 1853, Verification of Reserve Status, is also necessary for traditional guardsmen and reservists. 

Your social security number, a phone number to contact you, and Next of Kin information (name and Phone number) are necessary to ensure timely processing. 

The Small Air Terminal is here to help. If you want more information, forms or to sign up, please visit us in our new office in building 500, room 8. Our current flight schedule is available on Sharepoint. From the 128 Homepage, click on "Flight Information" and follow the link. You can also call us for any Space-A needs at (414) 944-8732.