Space-Available (Space-A) Travel
By Richie Condon (US Army, Retired)
Do you possess an active, or retiree, military ID? Do you like to travel and see different parts of the world? Do you like to hunt different species of game in their native habitat?
Well do I have some news for you!
I was recently invited to go hunting in Europe. At first I was concerned with the cost of such an exotic trip. Traveling alone, I could be looking at over a thousand dollars. But I was advised to look into Space-A flights to Europe and back.
Knowing nothing about Space-A, I decided to do my own investigating. I took a ride to the closest air base and went to the terminal in order to get a few questions answered.
Figure 1 ”Photo” Richie Condon and his Mouflon Ram, harvested in Croatia in September 2016. Watch Richie’s Croatian Mouflon hunt video HERE!
First question I had was, “What did it cost?”
The airmen advised, “Nothing”
I said, “Nothing, as in free?”
He said, “Yes sir. Unless you want to purchase a box lunch, then it would cost $5.75.”
Being stunned, and excited obviously, I wanted to know how this works. So, I asked what the process was to make this happen. I was told I had to sign up to be put on the list. I could do this up to 60 days out. All I had to do was find out the email address of the air base I wanted to fly out of and know my preferred date of departure. I wrote them an email requesting to be placed on the list.
You should hold on to this email for your records, due to the fact, that sometimes the air base may not have a record of that email. But if you have the original with the sent date on the email they will honor it as if they received it the day it was sent. Also, you will have to do this with the returning air base as well.
Once that’s completed, plan the dates you want to travel. When planning the dates keep in mind flights are only released 72 hours before departure. For example, if you want to be in a particular country on a certain date I would plan at least three travel days to fly out, and then be patient. Be aware of that when planning your trip.
The Air Force also classifies military members into six categories according to their present status. Obviously mission essential priorities always come first, but the category order goes like this:
Cat 1 – Non funded emergency leave
Cat 2 – Environmental Morale Leave (EML)
Cat 3 – Ordinary leave, Permissive TDY for house hunting. Command sponsor dependents of deployed members
Cat 4 – Environmental Morale Leave for unaccompanied dependents, Command sponsor dependents of deployed members
Cat 5 – Permissive TDY for other than house hunting, Command sponsored dependents
Cat 6 – Retired Uniformed Service Members, Guard and Reserve
There are other things concerning Space-A Travel that an individual needs to be aware of. When to travel with the least amount of delays is an example. Obviously with mission always being first, PCS’s and service members under orders will always bump everyone wishing to travel Space-A.
With being in the bottom category retirees want to avoid heavy travel times for active duty service members. Such as the months when school isn’t in session (June through September). As this is the best time for active duty military families with children to travel back to the states and visit family.
Also avoid holiday travel if you don’t want to sit in a terminal for an extended period of time.
Figure 2 ”Photo” Richie Condon getting on the train to head to Ramstein Air Base in order to catch a Space A flight back to Delaware from Germany.
Space-A travel is an excellent and inexpensive opportunity for active duty, retired, medically retired, national guard and/or reserve service members to travel back and forth to Europe.
Take advantage of it! With just the few tips provided here your traveling experience should be much easier.
Above all else be prepared to wait and remain patient!
Read more about Richie Condon HERE!
Click this link to get to the SpaceA.net website.
Click this link to get to the Air Mobility Command website.
Click this link to get to a Military Once Source page on Space A Travel.