How to Use Facebook to Plan Military Space-A Flights
Most military passenger terminals at bases worldwide have a Facebook page where they post Space-A flight schedules and information. While it’s not absolutely necessary to have a Facebook account to view the passenger terminal Facebook pages, having an account makes it easier to track activity.
The Air Mobility Command (AMC) website has links to all passenger terminals’ Facebook pages.
What Information is on Military Passenger Terminal Facebook Pages?
The main thing you want to see on a passenger terminal’s Facebook page is the slides with the Space-A flight schedules and historical data (described in detail below). The page also has contact details for the terminal as well as any special announcements, such as terminal closures or instructions for passengers confirmed on a particular flight.
You can post questions on a terminal’s Facebook page, and the terminal staff usually respond within 24 hours. Unfortunately, they may not be able to share much more information than what is on the slides.
Don’t bother asking, “When is the next flight to . . . ?” because they probably don’t know. These are operational flights, and the folks working in the terminal only know what the flight crew tells them. The Facebook page also is not the right forum to ask questions about your particular situation, e.g. “Can you confirm I’ve been marked present?” Call the terminal directly in those instances.
How Do You Interpret the Passenger Terminal Facebook Slides?
Most passenger terminals use a fairly consistent format to post information about Space-A flights. There are two sets of slides: the 72-hour Space-A flight schedule and the Space-A Roll Call Report (historical flight data). In our experience, terminals tend to be more diligent about updating the flight schedule. The degree of consistency and accuracy of Facebook posting often reflects how active the terminal is for Space-A travel.
Terminals generally update the slides at least once per day. Most terminals have a notice at the top of their Facebook page stating what time slides are updated. Many terminals also refresh the slides with each change, so there may be updates multiple times per day.
When we are planning to take a particular flight within the next day or so, we check the terminal’s Facebook page frequently – as in, at least once per hour – especially as we get close to the scheduled Roll Call time. We have learned through experience that last-minute schedule changes are extremely common.
In the next sections I have a line-by-line explanation of the two types of Facebook slides. If you are new to Space-A flying or you haven’t used Facebook to track flights, this detail is for you!
If you already know how to interpret the slides but are interested in learning more about how to make the most of the information, here are a few tips and strategies for flying Space-A. You can also read about some of our Space-A flying experiences for examples of how a Space-A journey might go.
72-Hour Space-A Flight Schedule
There is usually one slide for each of the upcoming 3 days and it contains the following information:
Click to enlarge the sample Space-A flight schedule from JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam
- Roll-Call: the time at which the terminal staff read the names of the passengers who have been accepted for the flight. Please note that you must be marked present prior to Roll Call.
- Destination: the airport(s) to which a flight (a.k.a. “mission”) is going. Sometimes there will be more than one. For example, the first mission listed on the slide is going to Elmendorf AFB, then Beaufort MCAS (destinations may be posted in alphabetical order but generally follow the logical flight path). Keep in mind that the layover in Elmendorf could be a few hours or it could be a few days. You may not know how long it is until you land in Elmendorf.
- Seats: The number of Space-A seats available. If it has an “F” after the number, it means “Firm.” “T” means Tentative. It also might say “TBD” or “SP” (seats pending), even until the Roll Call. Of course, even “Firm” seats can change at any time.
- Remarks: Some slides include notes about baggage weight limits, as shown here, or other restrictions.
Space-A Roll Call Report (aka History Slide)
When you are hoping to catch a flight within the next few days, looking at Space-A Call Reports can give you an idea of how much competition you will have for seats. If the number of passengers competing for flights to your target destination recently has been much greater than the number of seats released, there is likely a backlog of Space-A travelers waiting to depart. On the other hand, if missions to your destination have had unused seats, you have a better chance of making the next flight.
If you want to know how to see flight schedules at the top of your Facebook news feed, learn that trick and others in this post, Facebook Tips for Space-A Travelers.
Trying to keep all this Space-A jargon straight? Get the list of terms you need to know.
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