Space-A Air travel can be an incredible benefit to military members. Many of us are unfamiliar with the process that can occur before taking a Space-A flight. Here are some tips to consider.
What is Space-A Air?
Space-A Air, or as it used to be called MAC flights, is available space from military transport. The military has operational flights that are used to transport people and materials all over the world. Those flights end up with some "leftover seats" called Space Available seats. Understanding the Space-A process is essential to realize that those flight purposes are the operational mission. The mission will always take priority to a Space-A eligible traveler.
Where Do I start?
Space-A Air travel is divided into six categories. Review for which categories you are eligible. Here is a chart of the categories. AMC Space Available Travel Page. The smaller your number, the higher your priority will be, which means that a traveler in Cat.1 will get the highest priority, therefore a better chance of getting a flight.
Learn as much as you can about your destination flights. Track flights to your destination for a few weeks or even months. Air Mobility Command has Passenger Terminal Directory that will give travelers the terminal webpage. AMC Travel Site. They usually publish their flights 72 hours in advance. Some destinations are weekly, and some are monthly or even random; learning the frequency of those flights can give you an essential advantage while flying Space-A.
Sign up for your flights. Part of the list of priorities of Space-A flights is how early the eligible passenger signed up for the flights. It is essential to sign up as early as possible. Here is a link to the Air Mobility Command AMC/Portals/From 140 Space A.pdf form. In most locations, travelers can sign up 60 days before a flight (some Navy flights are only 45 days). Do not forget that travelers can and should sign up for multiple terminals (you can sign up for up to 5 destinations). This is where "tracking flights" comes in handy. Knowledge of flight destinations permits you to sign up for possible "layover destinations."
The final step is for passengers to mark themselves present before the start of Roll Call. This step is not part of the priority process as long as passengers have signed up for all their flights before it. In theory, Roll Call is usually one to two hours before the flight schedule, but the schedule changes often. Marking yourself "present" 12 hours before flights or as early as you can, ensure you extra knowledge about unexpected flight changes.
Lastly, asking an attendant to be considered for all Space-A flights going to your destination is always a good decision.
As a final tip, there is a better time during the year for Space-A travel. Avoiding major holidays and Summer vacation or PCS travel season is essential. Passengers have to be flexible about their travel dates. A Military ID is required for every passenger over 14 years of age. Travelers under 14 still need a passport or any Federal-, State-, local-, or tribal government-issued identification. Overseas travelers need to check they have all paperwork required for the countries of their destinations or layovers.