Space-A offers free flights for service members, families, retirees

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jana Morris, an aerial transportation specialist with the 48th Aerial Port Squadron, checks-in a passenger awaiting a Space-A flight at JBPHH.

Story and photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann

624th Regional Support Group

One of the benefits to serving in the military is the opportunity to travel by military aircraft to destinations around the world using Space Available (Space-A) travel.

Space-A travel is a benefit that provides free transportation on military or commercially contracted aircraft for service members and their dependents.

Members of the Air Force Reserve’s 48th Aerial Port Squadron (APS), based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), support the Space-A program during their two-week annual training and monthly training assembly.

“We process and screen passengers and load their luggage onto the aircrafts,” said Staff Sgt. Chad Vazquez, of Austin, Texas, an air transportation specialist with the 48th APS.

Reserve Citizen Airman Master Sgt. Michelle Roberts, 624th Regional Support Group, said taking Space-A flights not only benefits service members financially, it’s also kid friendly.

“It’s a good option for traveling with children, as it’s very entertaining for little ones,” Roberts said. “The noise of the aircraft and action of the flight crew keeps kids preoccupied compared to commercial flights where they are easily bored. There also tends to be more room, which makes it more comfortable.”

One of the drawbacks to flying Space-A is the possibility of the flight being cancelled or redirected to a new location.

“You have to remain very flexible and cautiously optimistic,” Roberts said.

Travelers are encouraged to educate themselves prior to their scheduled flight to ensure they have the proper documentation and the correct flight information, said Staff Sgt. Jessica Gwinn, air transportation specialist, 48th APS.

“It is disappointing when people try to get on a flight but accidently sign up for the wrong flight,” Gwinn said. “I encourage passengers to research all of the Space-A procedures prior to traveling to eliminate any confusion or frustration.”

The flights are typically free for military personnel, family and retirees, however, certain fees may be incurred depending on the location. Federal Inspection Fees may be charged on commercial missions arriving to the United States from overseas. Head tax is another fee that applies to Space-A passengers who arrive or depart the customs territories of the United States from an overseas location. Meals may be purchased for a nominal fee at most air terminals while traveling on military aircrafts.

According to the Air Mobility Command (AMC) website, planning and flexibility is key to Space-A travel. The Department of Defense is not obligated to continue an individual’s travel to another location or return the passenger to their point of origin. Travelers must have sufficient personal funds to pay for commercial transportation in case Space-A travel is unavailable.

Each quarter passenger service agents conduct a two-hour informational briefing at the Hickam Memorial Theater. Check the JBPHH AMC Passenger Terminal Facebook page for the next meeting at www. facebook.com/HickamAMC or call 449-6833.

Travelers can also learn about requirements and regulations for Space-A travel by visiting the AMC website at www.amc.af.mil/home/amc-travel-site.

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Category: News