Space-A Air Travel 101

space a


There are six categories of space-available travel. SpaceAvailable travelers are placed in one of the six categories based on their status (e.g., Active Duty Uniformed member, etc.) and their situation (e.g., emergency leave, etc.) as shown below.

DOD Regulation 4515.13-R, Air Transportation Eligibility governs category classification of Space-available travelers. A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R. The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals.

Category Space-A Priorities

I A Emergency Leave (unfunded) II C Environmental Morale Leave III D Ordinary Leave, House Hunting IV E Unaccompanied EML V F Unaccompanied Dependent, Permissive TDY VI R Retired, Reserves/Guard, ROTC


A. Space-A eligible travelers may not use their privilege for personal gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Space-A travel may not be used to establish a home or when international or theater restrictions prohibit such travel. B. Remember Space-A seats are normally identified as early as 3–4 hours and as late as 30 minutes prior to departure. Recommend you check with the passenger service center for the Space-A show time for your flight prior to departing the terminal. Be ready for immediate processing and boarding. C. The numerical order of Space-A categories indicates the precedence of movement between categories; e.g., travelers in Cat. III move before travelers in Cat. IV. In each category, transportation is furnished on a first-in, first-out basis. D. There is no guaranteed space for any traveler. The DoD is not obligated to continue an individual’s travel or return him or her to point of origin or any other point. Travelers shall have sufficient personal funds to pay for commercial transportation to return to their residence or duty station if Space-A transportation is not available. Space-A travel is a privilege and shall not be used for personal gain.

AMC is committed to provide you with the best possible service. AMC passenger (PAX) service agents are dedicated professionals who take great pride in offering the best customer service.

PAX terminal personnel are your best avenues for answers to your questions and concerns. Let them know if you have any questions or concerns during your travels.

Visit the AMC Travel website for additional travel information at


DOD Regulation 4515.13R and AMCI 24-101, Vol. 14 establishes guidance for Space-A travel. Space-A registration occurs at PAX terminals from where you plan to depart and may be submitted in person, via fax, email, Internet and mail.

Note: All PAX terminals will accept remote sign-up via email. Basis for date/time of sign-up: ● Fax: The fax header data will establish date/time of sign-up. ● Email: The email header data will establish date/time of sign-up. ● U.S. Mail: The date and time received at the PSC counter will establish date/time of sign up. ● Internet: The system will determine date/time of sign-up.

Note: Bring a copy of sent email and or fax report in the event the system is down or for verification.

The best way to fly—in this seat formation, seats are first come first serve but everyone gets plenty of leg room! (U.S. Air Force photo)

The best way to fly—in this seat formation, seats are first come first serve but everyone gets plenty of leg room! (U.S. Air Force photo)


Active-duty uniformed Services members (includes National Guard, Reserve members on active duty in excess of 30 days, and cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. Service academies) require a U.S. Armed Forces Common Access Card (CAC), a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status as required by the Service concerned to travel Space-A.

Retired uniformed Services members: DD Form 2 (Blue) U.S. Armed Forces Identification Card (Ret.).

National Guard and Reserve members: authorized Reserve component members are required to have a valid DD Form 2 (Red), Armed Forces of the U.S. ID card (Reserve) or U.S. Armed Forces CAC and a signed DD Form 1853, Authentication of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility, and may only register for travel to/from eligible destinations IAW DOD 4515.13R.

Gray Area Retiree’s: retired Reservists entitled to Retired pay at age 60 must present a valid DD Form 2 (Red) ID card. Note: Gray area retiree’s are only authorized to travel within the Continental U.S. (CONUS) and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. 


All PAX are required to be travel ready at the start of roll call/show time. To be considered travel ready, PAX must have all required documentation, checked baggage and all accompanying family or group members must be present. All vehicles must be parked in long-term parking prior to roll call/show time. For further info., contact the AMC PAX terminal nearest you or your departure terminal.

Space-A PAX are authorized two pieces of checked baggage not to exceed 62 linear inches each and a combined weight of 140 lbs (not to exceed 70 lbs. per bag) for larger aircraft. On smaller aircraft, PAX are limited to one bag weighing no more than 30 lbs. Excess baggage is not authorized for Space-A PAX. Note: In most instances, family members may pool their baggage allowances.

Space-A roll calls are established by location, so check in with the departure terminal. Roll call is a phrase used to signify the beginning of the process when eligible PAX in each category are selected by date and time of sign-up. This enables PAX to plan activities and ensure equitable opportunities for all. Roll call times may vary according to the mission.

Space-A PAX will not be removed in favor of other Space-A PAX. All Space-A PAX competing for a seat must be marked present at the beginning of roll call. However, if PAX are physically present, but have not been marked present in GATES before roll call, they may still be accommodated. Those PAX must wait until all other Space-A PAX marked present at the beginning of the roll call have been afforded the opportunity to compete for the open seats.

PAX must be travel ready at the time of selection. Failure to comply may result in non-selection for the flight. PAX may choose not to meet all Space-A roll calls for any flight going to their desired destination. They will not be removed from the Space-A register.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Space-A? A: “Space-A” is short for Space-Available air transportation on government owned or controlled aircraft. When mission and cargo loads allow, there are often seats made available to eligible passengers (PAX). With a little patience and flexibility, you can travel all over the world for almost nothing.

Q: What restrictions are there on Space-A? A: You cannot use Space-A privileges for personal gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. You also can’t use Space-A travel to establish a home, to transport dependents to a duty station where you are or will be serving an unaccompanied tour, to transport dependents to a TDY duty station, or when international or theater restrictions prohibit such travel.

Q: When can I mark myself present for a flight? A: You may mark yourself present for a flight up to 24 hours prior.

Q: Where do I get the terminal phone numbers? A: Phone numbers can be found in guidebooks (like Military Living® Publications!) and on the Internet. Many PAX terminals now have Web and Facebook pages, and many of them also list phone numbers.

Q: I am a disabled veteran, with a retiree card (DD Form 2). Can I fly Space-A? A: Yes. However, there are certain restrictions you need to be aware of. If you require motorized assistance to move around, the mobility assistance equipment shall not to exceed 100 lbs. in weight.

Q: After I sign-up, what is my next step? A: On the day you would like to travel, you must mark yourself present for travel either at the kiosk or see a PAX service agent at the counter.

Q: What is remote sign-up? A: Remote sign-up allows PAX to sign-up for Space-A travel by emailing or faxing copies of proper service documentation along with desired country destinations and family member’s first names to the aerial port of departure. The email or fax data header will establish date/time of sign-up; therefore, active-duty personnel must ensure that their email or fax is sent no earlier than the effective date of leave. Mailed-in entries are also permitted. Date and time for sign-up will be the time it is received at the PAX service counter.

Q: What is self sign-up? A: Self sign-up is a program that allows PAX 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 of specific requirements a PAX service representative on duty would be happy to assist.

Q: How can I find where my name is on the Space-A register? A: Each terminal maintains a Space-A register organized by priority category and the date and time of registration for travel. The register is conveniently located in the terminal and directly accessible to you and updated daily. Travelers may call the terminal to find where they stand on the register.

Q: Can dependents travel with retired Reservists? A: Dependents can travel with retired sponsors if their sponsor carries a DD Form 2 (Blue retired ID card), NOT a DD Form 2 (Red). When carrying a “Red” card, only the sponsor can travel Space-A.

Q: What is date and time of Sign-up? A: Date and time of sign-up is the time used to determine the next selected PAX in their category during the roll call process. The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the PAX until his or her destination is reached. On reaching destination, the PAX may again sign up for Space-A travel to return to home station. NOTE: If applicable, a statement that all required border clearance documents are current is required.

Q: I am disabled. Can I have a brother, sister, or friend accompany me to help me? A: The only persons permitted to accompany you are your spouse, dependents or other persons eligible for Space-A travel. Every effort shall be made to transport PAX with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to travel. PAX service personnel and crew members shall provide assistance in boarding, seating, and deplaning PAX with special needs.

Q: Do I have to be in uniform to travel? A: Each service determines its own travel uniform policies. When civilian clothing is worn it should be in good taste and not in conflict with accepted attire in the overseas country of departure, transit, or destination, as defined by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. It should also be capable of keeping you warm especially on military aircraft. PAX are also reminded the high-heeled, open-toed and “five-finger” styled shoes may not be worn on military aircraft.

Q: How much baggage can I take? A: As a Space-A traveler, you may check two pieces of luggage at 70 lbs. each per person. Family members traveling together may pool their baggage allowance as long as the total does not exceed the total allowance. Each PAX is permitted to hand-carry one article (small luggage, garment bags, backpack, etc.) and one personal item (cosmetic case, purse, briefcase, small boxes, packages, etc.) for storage in the PAX cabin area. NOTE: Smaller type aircraft have restrictions (C-12, C-21, UC-35 aircraft have 30 lb baggage limitation. Navy C-40 and C-9’s are restricted to two bags at 50 lbs total).

Q: Can I pay for excess baggage on Space-A? A: No. Only duty status PAX may pay for excess baggage.

Q: Do you have any recommendations on baggage? A: Yes. Travel light, take only essential items. 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 your use. It is also advisable to place a copy of your leave/EML paperwork inside your checked baggage.

Q: Can my pet travel fly Space-A with me? A: No. DoD has reserved pet shipments for PAX in PCS status. Note: Service animals may fly with a member with proper documentation.

Q: Will Space-A travel cost much? A: In general, no. You might spend a bit on phone calls to find out about flights, a room for the night along the way, or a bus fare to get from one base to another. You will be assessed a Federal Inspection Fee if you travel on a commercial mission arriving in the United States from overseas. Head tax is another fee that applies to Space-A PAX who arrive/depart the Customs Territories of the United States (CTUS) to/from overseas locations on these missions. It will depend on how frugal you are (e.g. take a bus vs. rent a car) and how lucky you are (e.g. get a room on base vs. pay for an off base hotel room). Meals may be purchased at a nominal fee at most air terminals while traveling on military aircraft. Meal service on AMC Category B full planeload charters is complimentary.

Q: What facilities are available at AMC terminals (family lounge, BX, and snack bar)? A: Facilities include exchanges, barber shops, snack bars, television, traveler assistance, USO lounges, and family lounges. The type of facility available will vary according to the terminal size and location. Note: Most AMC passenger terminals close overnight. Space-A travelers should be prepared for billeting expenses.

Q: What are the trends in Space-A travel? Will there be more or less Space-A travel this year? A: Although AMC has led efforts to improve Space-A travel in the past few years, movement still remains a result of unused seats. Present personnel and budget trends are affecting Space-A opportunities. AMC is dedicated to putting a PAX in every available seat.

Q: What is the best time of the year to travel Space-A? A: Any time other than peak travel and holidays (December-January and June-August) periods.

Q: Is it easier to go to some destinations? A: Yes. Places where we fly often, such as Japan and Germany, are much easier than low frequency areas.

Q: Can people travel Space-A to Alaska or South America? A: Yes. Travelers may obtain Space-A travel to Alaska, South America, and other interesting locations; i.e. Australia, New Zealand, etc. Travel to Alaska is relatively easy when departing from Travis AFB, CA, and McChord AFB, WA. Travel to South America and other remote areas can be much more difficult. Infrequent flights to remote areas are primarily cargo missions and have few seats available for PAX movement. Expect long waiting periods for movement.

Q: I am retired, traveling on a passport and my flight originated overseas. Where in CONUS can I fly? A: When traveling on a passport, all family members, retired uniform Service, Reserve, and others may return to CONUS only through authorized ports of entry where customs and immigration clearance is available. While you may depart CONUS literally from any military airfield, reentry locations for passport holders are limited. Active-duty PAX who do not require immigration clearance have more reentry options available.

Q: Can I fly Space-A on other than AMC flights? A: Yes. Your travel eligibility is for all DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. AMC, however, does not always have knowledge of other command or Services’ scheduled flight information.

Q: Can I call the bases for flight information? A: We can only release limited flight information up to 72 hours. However, we encourage you to call the PAX terminal you plan on traveling through 30–60 days before travel. The terminal will be happy to discuss Space-A opportunities from their location.

Q: As a Retiree, where can I fly? A: Retired members with DD Form 2 (Blue) identification card may fly anywhere AMC has flights operating, including CONUS.

Q: I am a disabled vet but not retired, can I fly Space-A? A: Sorry but even though you are entitled to other benefits, Space-A travel is not one of them at this time.

Q: How long does my name stay on the Space-A list? A: All travelers remain on the list for 60 days after registration, for the duration of their travel authorization, or until they are selected for travel.

Q: What is country sign-up, and how does it affect me? A: Under this program, you may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations.

For more information, visit

#howtoflyspacea #spaceatips #SpaceATravelTips