By Buddy Blouin
Every job has its perks. If you work retail, you're likely able to enjoy a store discount. Tech companies have become infamous for their wide-ranging onsite cafeterias and events. Even the most prestigious of establishments are going to have a group of bartenders scoring a drink here or there. For members of the U.S. military, one of the coolest perks comes in the form of Space-A travel. If you can find room and need to travel, you can catch a free ride aboard a military aircraft… terms and conditions will apply.

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What Is Space-A Travel?

Space-A is a perk of the American Armed Forces, Veterans, family members, and other qualifying individuals in which flights can be taken on aircraft controlled or owned by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

These flights can happen domestically or internationally, but if there's room and it doesn’t interfere with the aircraft’s mission, among other regulations, eligible passengers have a chance to fly on the aircraft for free.

It should be noted, however, that for AMC's Patriot Express flights, there's usually a charge, which is a tax for the privilege.

Who Can Use Space-A Travel?

The following branches are eligible for the Space-A travel military perk:
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • U.S. Air Force.
  • U.S. Army.
  • U.S. Coast Guard.
  • U.S. Marine Corps.
  • U.S. Navy.
  • U.S. Public Health Service.
According to DoDI 4515.13, officers, enlisted personnel, civilian employees, and their accompanying dependents are eligible to use military Space-A travel to fly on aircraft controlled or owned by the DoD.

Space-A travel for disabled Veterans is also available when those eligible can match flights with the capacity for such passengers.

Rank, time of service, and military branch may be taken into consideration; however, this privilege is conducted on an equal basis. It also cannot be used if it were to interfere with a DoD mission.

Those in uniform can travel but only when they are on leave. Travelers can’t use the trip for financial gain, including seeking employment, nor can Space-A travel be used together with travel needed due to a member’s service.

Those eligible for Space-A travel military perks must sign up at the passenger terminal of departure, which is managed locally by a Space-A register.

These locations maintain the registry and will present those who sign up into categories involving the nature of travel, their signup date, and the time of signing up.

Applicants will receive categories based on their status, assessing the priority of their need to travel from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most urgent. Those with numbers of higher priority are given a place over those with lower priority.

Those using the program won’t know the number of seats available until the flight's "Roll Call," which occurs right before departure.

If there's not enough seating for everyone, cuts are made, but if everyone has enough seating, then everyone boards and departs on their journey.

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Space-A Travel Basics You Should Know

Before you plan your flight, you should know that there are some travel restrictions that may impact your travel plans. But don't worry, we are breaking down everything that you should know so that your trip is smooth sailing.

Before you go, you should know that only service members and retirees and their families are eligible for Space-A travel. Be sure to look at the fine print of this rule, as there are some exceptions that may be applicable to your individual circumstance.

After you book your flight, be sure to keep track of the boarding times, flight information, and departure schedule by checking the Facebook page for your terminal. Most airports regularly update these pages in real-time.

Lastly, be sure to check the terms and conditions of payment. Usually, the flights are free of charge, but you still should contact the Air Mobility Command passenger terminal of the airport to double check.

Where You Can Find the Program

Space-A travel locations are all over the world, which means you can likely find one near you. You can find the USA locations for Space-A online to check for a program near you.

To find more information about AMC flights, visit the AMC Travel Site, specifically the Passenger Terminal Page. Here, you can click on the "+" sign to find more details about passenger terminals. If you are interested in learning more about an individual terminal, be sure to click the link to their webpage to find more information about the schedule and past flight data.

This program can take you throughout the world, or at least to most places, it’s important to remember that rules and regulations in accordance with international laws and the laws of other countries will apply.

Is Space-A Travel Available Now?

Yes! Air Mobility Command (AMC) has brought back AMC Space Travel, and things are returning back to some level of normalcy.

As AMC and the U.S. Navy handle the vast majority of the Space-A Travel Program, this is a huge step in the right direction.

The price and hassle of flying are necessary evils to get where we need to go in a reasonable time frame, but a free flight with some of the most talented pilots in the world is a no-brainer.

On top of it all, for many, this could be a very unique flying experience and a great option for those who cannot afford a flight.

Space-A is back, and it's a welcomed sight to behold as the military community can enjoy a unique perk of working in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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