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Planning, flexibility prove keys to successful Space-A flights

Is there a Space Available flight in your future?

Many retirees, even those who have traveled extensively for years, have gotten away from Space A travel because of its uncertainty.

But, according to Air Mobility Command officials, it’s still available and retirees who plan their trips carefully and maintain flexibility are still seeing the world by using AMC and other Department of Defense aircraft.

Following is information to help in your planning efforts.

Sponsors who register in person for family members traveling with them should present all required documents: Identification cards, passports, immunization records, and visas when required by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. Travel documents must be presented when selected for travel.

Baggage -- Each passenger may check two pieces of baggage, 70 pounds each, up to 62 linear inches in size. Hand-carried baggage must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment, if available. Baggage weight may be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions. It's best to always travel as light as possible.

Do not place valuables, medicine, or important documents in your checked baggage. Be sure your name and current address are on and inside your bags. AMC terminals have baggage ID tags available for you to use.

Registration — Travelers remain on the register for 60 days. When you register, you are assigned a category of travel, and date and time of registration are noted, good through to your destination. You will receive a new date and time when you register for your return travel. You have the option to "stand by" for any flight you believe you may have a reasonable opportunity on which to travel.

Travelers may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations. You are also eligible for the "ALL" sign-up which makes you eligible for all other destinations served. This gives you a greater selection of destinations from which to choose.

Remote sign-up allows passengers to enter the backlog by telefaxing copies of proper service documentation along with desired country destinations and family members' first names to the aerial port of departure. The telefax data header will establish date/time of sign-up. AMC terminals are not responsible for faxes not received. Mail entries will also be permitted.

Some AMC terminals now accept e-mail sign-up The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the passenger until the destination is reached. On reaching the destination, the passenger may again sign-up for Space Available travel to return to home station.

Each terminal maintains a Space A register (organized alphabetically, by priority and the date and time of registration for travel) that is updated daily.

The register is located in the terminal and easily accessible. Travelers may call the terminal direct to find where they stand travel wise.

Retired members with DD Form 2 (Blue) identification card may fly anywhere AMC has flights operating, including the Continental United States (CONUS). Family members must be accompanied by the sponsor to fly Space A. Family members may travel to/from and between overseas locations but not within the CONUS unless manifested on domestic leg segments of international travel.

Disability -- If you need help in traveling, remember that the only persons permitted to accompany you are individuals eligible for Space A travel. This may restrict some travel since family members cannot travel within the CONUS as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Every effort shall be made to transport passengers with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to travel. Passenger service personnel and crew members shall provide assistance in boarding, seating, and deplaning passengers with special needs.

Pets — There is no provision for pets to travel with retirees on Space A travel.

Costs -- Some terminals must collect a head tax or a federal inspection fee from Space-A passengers on commercial contract missions. Meals may be purchased at a nominal fee out of most air terminals while traveling on military aircraft. Meal service on AMC Category B full plane load charters is complimentary.

Most AMC passenger terminals close at night. Space A travelers should be prepared to defray billeting expenses.

Best time to travel -- Any time other than peak travel and holiday (December-January and June-July) periods. Places where AMC fly often (Germany) are much easier than low frequency areas (Australia or New Zealand).

Travel to Alaska is relatively easy when departing from the West Coast (Travis AFB, Calif. and McChord AFB, Wash). Travel to South America and other remote areas is much more difficult.

Passport travel -- When traveling on a passport, you may return to the CONUS only through authorized ports of entry where customs and immigration clearance are available. While you may depart the CONUS literally from any military airfield, reentry locations for passport holders are limited.

Travel other than AMC -- Travel eligibility is for all DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. AMC, however, does not always have knowledge of other command/services’ flights.

Note -- Because of space limitations, we are unable to furnish Space-A telephone numbers. Please save this information and we will try to include telephone numbers in the next issue.

Most Air Force bases with a flying mission will have information on Space-Available flights going out of that installation. Call the base operator and ask for the passenger service representative or the base operations dispatcher.

Many bases with an Air Mobility Command detachment furnish reproduced copies of phone numbers and flight schedules. Individuals having Internet access should check out the AMC Space-A page at http://public.scott.af.mil/hqamc.

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