Military Space-Available Travel
Space A Travel
Space Available Flight, more commonly referred to as Space-A travel or military hops, is a privilege afforded to military service members, their families, and service retirees. The system accommodates these passengers by letting them fill seats on Air Force air transport flights that would otherwise be left empty. The seats are made available on a space-available basis. Unused seats on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft are made available once all the space-required (duty) passengers and cargo have been accommodated. If you want to know where you can travel, check out our Space-A Travel Locations List, complete with contact information
Space-A travelers may sign up for travel 60-days in advance of the desired travel date. Passengers are categorized by priority of travel and are processed in priority order by their sign-in time (Julian date). For leisure travel, Reservists are placed in category VI, which is a rather low priority. (Official duty passengers have priority over Space-A travelers.)
Space-A seats are provided according to certain criteria. Eligible passengers on a military aircraft are ranked in order of priority according to the purpose of their travel. Families may choose to use Space-A travel to go on a vacation during a family member’s military leave. They may use Space-A for general transportation as well, such as to visit family or friends or for other private reasons. But the most urgent — and therefore highest-priority — situations involve military service members or other related individuals traveling on emergency leave, such as to visit a family member with life-threatening health problems. Individuals or entire families can be accommodated, although smaller parties usually have an easier time securing seats on Space-A aircraft.
There is no charge for personnel traveling in government owned aircraft. However, if a Space-A flight is made on a commercial contract carrier, a fee will be assessed – fee is variable (approximately $15-30) depending on the port. There is also a fee for meals served aboard military aircraft.
Space required passengers or cargo may require the removal of Space A passengers at any point. If removed en route, you may reregister with your original date and time of registration. Passenger Service will assign a new date and time to any country or destination you change or add on your application.
Always be prepared to purchase onward or return commercial transportation, meals, and lodging. Remember Space A seats are normally identified as early as 2-3 hours and late as 30 minutes prior to departure. It is recommended you check with the passenger service center for the space available show time for the flight you wish to take.
AMC Passenger Terminals
Air Mobility Command (AMC) Passener Terminals are located at US Air Force airfields where a Space-A flights transit through. Your best bet when searching for a Space-A flight is to contact the AMC Passenger Terminal at a large Air Force hub — however, there can be Space-A flights available at virtually any US Air Force, Navy, Army, or Marines airfield. Check out our list of worldwide AMC Passenger Terminals and their contact information here. Contact the AMC Passenger Terminal that is closest to you and inquire about their scheduled flights.
Passengers must register for travel at Passenger Service Centers in the passenger terminal in person and/or may also sign-up in writing by fax, mail, or E-mail. Sponsors who register in person for family members traveling with them should present all required documents: Identification cards (DD Form 2, Armed Forces Identification Card), passports, immunization records, and visas when required by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. Travel documents must be presented when selected for travel. Travelers may select up to five countries. We recommend the “all” choice for the 5th destination so that the traveler may take advantage of unscheduled unique travel opportunities.
Have an iPhone or iPad? Download the premiere Space-a App by Take-A-Hop:
The following types of travelers are authorized to use Space-A airlift. The regulation DoD 4515.13-R contains a complete listing of eligible passengers by category, and the AMC site lists the majority of information you will need to plan your trip. Required documentation for each traveler is also listed below. Please have those documents ready for review when selected for travel:
- Active Duty Uniformed Services Member (includes National Guard and Reserve members on active duty in excess of 30 days and Cadets and Midshipmen of the U.S. Service Academies): DD Form 2 (Green), US Armed Forces ID Card (Active), Form 2 NOAA (Green), Uniformed Services ID and Privilege Card (Active), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Green), US Public Health Service ID Card (Active), and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
- Retired Uniformed Service Members: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 (Blue) NOAA, Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
- National Guard and Reserve Members: Authorized Reserve Component Members (National Guard and Ready Reserve) and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List: DD Form 2 (Red), Armed Forces of the United States ID Card (Reserve) and DD Form 1853, Verification of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility.
- Retired Reservists Entitled to Retired Pay at Age 60: DD Form 2 (Red) and a notice of retirement eligibility as described in DoD Directive 1200.15. If the automated DD Form 2 (Red) has been issued, the member is registered in his or her service personnel system as a Reserve retiree entitled to retired pay at age 60, and a notice of retirement is not required.
- Retired Reservists Qualified for Retired Pay: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 (Blue) NOAA, Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
- On Active Duty for 30 Days or Less: DD Form 2 (Red), orders placing the Reservist on active duty, and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
- ROTC, Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC), and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Members: When enrolled in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program: DD Form 2 (Red) and DD Form 1853.
- Family Members of Uniformed Services Members: DD Form 1173, United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card.
- EML Travelers: EML travel orders issued in accordance with Combatant Command procedures.
- Disabled and Widows/Widowers: Currently, 100 percent disabled veterans and widows of service members are not eligible to use Space-A travel. (Visit source website)
Space A Eligibility Frequently Asked Questions
I’m a Grey Area Retiree, Where Can I Fly?
Per the DOD reg , Table 6.1, Item 35, a Grey Area Retiree (Reservist who is eligible for retirement pay at 60 years of age but not yet 60 years old), can fly within the CONUS and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. The DoD reg , Table 6.1 does not authorize Grey Area Dependents to fly Space-A. (Reference PASSENGER SERVICE UPDATE DTG: 261800Z OCT 01 para 1.K)
Can 100% Disabled Veterans Travel Space-A?
Despite rumors to the contrary, 100 percent disabled veterans in possession of DD form 1173 or 2765 identification cards are not entitled to space-a travel aboard DoD aircraft. Any changes to space- a eligibility rules will be published as an immediate change to DoD 4515.13r and advertised accordingly (Reiteration HQ AMC/DONP 091704z Mar 99 and Reference PASSENGER SERVICE UPDATE DTG: 261800Z OCT 01 para 1.H).
Are Widows/Widowers Eligible to Travel Space-A?
Widows/widowers of active duty/retired military personnel are not entitled to space-a travel aboard DoD aircraft. Any changes to space- a eligibility rules will be published as an immediate change to DoD 4515.13r and advertised accordingly (Reiteration HQ AMC/DONP 091704z Mar 99).
Can a ROTC Cadet Fly Space-A?
Yes. When enrolled ( I read “contracted” versus “taking” ROTC) in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program, on presentation of the following valid: DD Form 2 (Red) and DD Form 1853.
Category of Travel is Cat 6 and travel is authorized ONLY within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and the US. territories.
Space A Travel Categories
The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals and their category of travel. A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R, Air Transportation Eligibility.
Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel. Transportation by the most expeditious routing only for bona fide immediate family emergencies, as determined by DOD Directive 1327.5. This travel privilege shall not be used in lieu of a funded travel entitlement.
- Uniformed Services members with emergency status indicated in leave orders.
- U.S .citizen civilians stationed overseas and employees of the Uniformed Services/Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) activities and whose travel from the CONUS, Alaska or Hawaii was incident to a PCS assignment at NAF expense.
- Dependents of members of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor.
- Dependents, command sponsored of :
- U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Uniformed Service, stationed overseas
- U.S. citizen civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas and paid from NAF, or
- American Red Cross full-time paid personnel serving with a DOD Component overseas.
Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave (EML) status and their dependents traveling with them, also in EML status. “Sponsors” includes:
- Uniformed Services Members.
- U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Armed Forces who are eligible for Government-funded transportation to the United States at tour completion (including NAF employees).
- American Red Cross full-time, paid personnel on duty with DOD Component overseas.
- USO professional staff personnel on duty with the Uniformed Services.
- DODDS Teachers during the school year and for Employer-approved training during recess periods.
Ordinary Leave, Close Blood or Affirmative Relatives, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor Holders, Foreign Military, and Others.
- Uniformed Services members in a leave or pass status, other than emergency leave, including members of the reserve components on active duty, in leave or pass status.
- Dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor in a leave status.
- Uniformed Services members traveling under permissive TDY orders for house hunting incident to a pending PCS.
- One dependent may accompany a Uniformed Services member.
- Medal of Honor recipients and their dependents (when accompanied by their sponsor). Except for active duty, traveler shall present a copy of the Medal of Honor Award Certificate.
- Foreign cadets and midshipmen attending U.S. Service academies, in a leave status.
- Foreign Exchange Service members on permanent duty with the DoD, when in a leave status.
- Dependents of foreign exchange Service members on permanent duty with the Department of Defense when accompanied by their sponsor.
Unaccompanied Dependents on EML and DODDS Teachers on EML During Summer.
- Dependents traveling under the EML Program, unaccompanied by their sponsor.
- DODDS teachers of dependents accompanied or unaccompanied traveling under the EML Program.
Permissive TDY (Non-House Hunting) Students, Dependents and Others.
- Military personnel traveling on permissive TDY orders other than for househunting.
- Dependents (children) who are college students attending in residence at an overseas branch of an American (U.S) university located in the same overseas area in which they reside, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor, who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense.
- Dependents, command-sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense. Unaccompanied travel is permitted to and from the nearest overseas military academy testing site to take scheduled entrance examinations for entry into any of the U.S. Service Academies
- Command sponsored dependents (18 years of age) of Uniformed Services members who are stationed overseas may travel unaccompanied from the sponsor’s PCS duty location to the CONUS and return. Travel is also authorized within the overseas theater. Travel cannot be between two overseas theaters (i.e., from Germany to Japan). Dependents must have command-sponsored documentation signed by the Commander verifying command sponsorship. Documentation is valid for one round trip.
Retired, Dependents, Reserve, ROTC, NUPOS and CEC
- Retired Uniformed Services members
- Dependents of retired Uniformed Service members, when accompanied by their sponsor.
- Dependents, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense. Unaccompanied travel is permitted to the U.S. for enlisting in one of the Armed Forces when local enlistment in the overseas area is not authorized. If an applicant for Military Service is rejected, return travel to the overseas area may be provided under this eligibility
- Authorized Reserve component members and authorized Reserve component members entitled to retired pay at age 60 (gray area retirees) traveling in the CONUS and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Newly commissioned ROTC officers who are awaiting call to extended active duty. Travel is authorized within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories.
While the precise procedures for making flight arrangements may vary from one air terminal to another, the first step is to find out what destinations you can travel to from the air terminals near you. The simplest way to get a list of destinations is to call the terminal in your area. Terminals typically provide either a voice or recorded listing of upcoming flights. On request, most terminals can also fax you a copy of their flight schedule.
Once you have made your travel plan, you can sign up for flights in several ways. You always have the option of going to a terminal in person. However, in many cases you do not even have to leave your home. Flight requests can be made by mail, by telephone, via the Internet, or by facsimile. Upon sign-up, travelers are assigned a travel category and compete for seats in that category, based on the date and time of sign-up. Passengers stay on the flight register for either 60 days, the duration of their travel authorization, or until they get a seat. Once registered, passengers can review their reservation status any time.
There can be drawbacks to Space-A travel. As a Space-A traveler, your flight request is processed on a first-in, first-out basis within your assigned category of travel. You must be aware of the following facts when you decide to fly Space-A:
Official duty passengers and priority cargo have priority over Space-A passengers. If your flight has more than one leg, you can get bumped off of your plane at the end of any leg.
- Reservations cannot be made for any portion of a trip. Flexible travel plans are necessary.
- Reservists and retirees are classified as Category VI passengers.
- Long, uncomfortable and frequently costly waiting periods may be encountered at any point of your journey.
- The U.S. Government is not obligated to provide transportation for Space-A passengers to or from desired destinations.
- Summer months are peak travel times.
- You will need to travel with either a credit card or carry sufficient funds to pay for lodging, meals, local transportation, and even commercial airfare, if necessary.
- You must travel light. Only duty passengers can pay for excess baggage.
Each passenger may check two pieces of checked baggage, 70 pounds each, up to 62 linear inches in size. Family members may pool their baggage allowances. Hand-carried baggage must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment, if available. Standard issue B-4 duffle bags are authorized to weigh 100 pounds and still considered one piece.
Only one of these bags will be allowed.
C9 Baggage: Limited to two pieces at 55 pounds combined weight.
NOTE: Baggage weight may be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions. Check with your Passenger Service Center for more information.
Air Force Billeting
If you’re looking for someplace to sleep for the night, check billeting availability through the services lodging list web page.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does my name stay on the Space A list?
All travelers remain on the register 60 days after registration, for the duration of their leave orders authorization, or until they are selected for travel, whichever occurs first. Revalidation has been eliminated.
What is country sign-up, and how does it affect me?
Under this program, you may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations. AMC Passenger Terminals are no longer accepting the option for the “ALL” sign-up – in the past, this would make a passenger eligible for all other destinations served. You now have to sign up for individual countries.
What is remote sign-up?
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; therefore, active duty personnel must ensure the telefax is sent no earlier than the effective date of leave. Terminals are not responsible for faxes not received. Mail entries will also be permitted. Some of terminals now accept e-mail sign-up. The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the passenger until his or her destination is reached. On reaching destination, the passenger may again sign-up for space available travel to return to home station.
NOTE: If applicable, a statement that all required border clearance documents are current, is required.
What is self sign-up?
Self sign-up is a program that allows passengers to sign-up at a terminal without waiting in line. Most locations now provide self sign-up counters with easy to follow instructions for registration. Active duty personnel must ensure sign-up takes place no earlier than the effective date of leave. If your travel will take you to a foreign country, ensure border clearance documentation is up to date. If you are unsure, verify it with a passenger service representative on duty.
How can I find where my name is on the Space A register?
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 conveniently located in the terminal and directly accessible to you. Travelers may call the terminal direct to find where they stand travel wise.
What are some guidelines on baggage?
Travel light, take only essentials. Do not place valuables, medicine, or important documents in your check baggage. Be sure your name and current address are on and inside your bags. Terminals have baggage ID tags available for you to use.
Can my pet travel with me on a Space A flight?
No. DoD has reserved pet shipments for passengers in permanent change of station (PCS) status only. Additionally, travel with pets would be difficult at best due to limited aircraft pet spaces, pet import documentation requirements, and the possibility of quarantine in the event of an aircraft divert. The short answe is: if you are on an AMC aircraft traveling as part of a PCS, you may take pets with you, if you are on Space-A Status (Leave, R&, etc.) then you may not.
Will Space A travel cost much?
In general, no. 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.
What facilities are available at terminals (nursery, Base Exchange, snack bar)?
Facilities at most military terminals are generally the same as commercial facilities. Facilities include exchanges, barber shops, snack bars, pay television (free television lounge in some military terminals), traveler assistance, baggage lockers or rooms, United Services Organization (USO) lounges, and nurseries (at major terminals). The type of facility available will vary according to the terminal size and location.
NOTE: Most passenger terminals close at night. Space A travelers should be prepared to defray billeting expenses.
Tips for Traveling Space-A
Check out these books to read during your travel Space-A:
- Plan, be flexible, be patient. As a rule of thumb, military ports offer more travel opportunities than commercial gateways (i.e., travel chances are better to Europe from Dover AFB DE than Baltimore-Washington IAP).
- If possible, travel at off-peak Space A travel periods (i.e., peak periods are the summer months after school is dismissed and Christmas holiday season). Historically, February-March and October-November are low travel periods.
- Be as flexible as possible in choosing a destination. If you want to get to Ramstein AB, Germany, consider a flight into Spangdahlem AB, Germany, or even RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, as an alternative. At Mildenhall, try for another flight bound for Germany.
- There is a head tax on CONUS outbound or federal inspection fee on CONUS inbound international commercial charters.
- When traveling Space A with young children, prepare for possible delays along the way where baby supplies may not be readily available. A good supply of games and books is also recommended. Be aware that a baby’s ears, like an adults, are sensitive to altitude pressure changes.
- Space A is just that—space that is available after all mission requirements are fulfilled. Military aircraft are subject at all times, first and foremost, to DoD mission response.
The following regulations govern AMC travel; please refer to them as the source documents regarding AMC travel.
- Passports, Visas, ID cards, Letters
- AMCI 24-101, Volume 14
- Air Transportation Eligibility DOD 4515.13R
- DTR, Chapter 103 – Passenger Movement
- GSA City Pairs