Free flights for service members, family and retirees

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Theanne K. Herrmann
  • 624th Regional Support Group
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - 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 Travel.

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

Members of the Air Force Reserve's 48th Aerial Port Squadron, based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, 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," said Roberts. "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," said Roberts.

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," said Gwinn. "I encourage passengers to research all of the Space-A procedures prior to traveling to eliminate any confusion or frustration."

The flights are typically at no cost to the military personnel or their families, 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 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 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 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam AMC Passenger Terminal Facebook page for the next meeting or call 808-449-6833, 808-664-7265.

Travelers can also learn about requirements and regulations for Space Availability Travel by visiting the Air Mobility Command website: