Space A Travel

Space A Travel

Uniformed Services Space-A Travel or Department of Defense Military Space-Available Travel is a means by which uniformed members of United States services, reservists and retirees, United States Department of Defense civilian personnel (under certain circumstances), and each of these groups' dependents are permitted to travel on aircraft under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Defense when excess capability allows.



Space available travel is a privilege that derives, in part, from United States Code, title 10, section 4744, which states, "officers and members of the Military Departments, and their families, when space is available, may be transported on vessels operated by any military transport agency of the Department of Defense". Space available travel is defined as "travel aboard DoD owned or controlled aircraft and occurs when aircraft are not fully booked with passengers traveling under orders".

It is a privilege offered to United States Uniformed Services members. Retired members are given the privilege in recognition of their career and because they are eligible for recall to active duty. The criteria for extending the privilege to other categories of passengers is their support to the mission being performed by Uniformed Services members and to the enhancement of active duty Service members' quality of life.


The branches of service who receive this are:


There are rules and guidelines which apply to such travel. Uniformed personnel may only travel Space-A while on leave or pass for the full duration of their Space A trip, and Space-A travel can not be used in conjunction with travel required by the service. Space A travel may not be used for personal financial gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Other nations' laws and policies, as well as U.S. foreign policy, may limit the ability to travel using Space-A.

Aside from members of the United States Marine Corps, travelers do not have to be in uniform for their flights.

Basic process

Passengers wanting to travel using DoD military space available travel are required to sign up with a military installation and are then placed on a locally-managed Space A register. The registration process varies depending on the installation, but most installations allow signups via electronic mail, fax, or postal mail. Some installations have created their own web-based sign-up forms. There is also a private (at time of writing: free) website which enables signing up at multiple installations.

Each installation's passenger service center maintains the Space-A register. Each person signing up is placed on this register using two factors: category of travel, and signup date.

Based on status (active duty military, retired military, emergency traveler, etc.), Space-A Travel applicants are assigned a category of travel from 1 to 6, which categorizes their priority of movement, 1 being the highest priority. Thus, an applicant with priority 1 will gain a place on an available aircraft over an applicant with priority 4, for example.

Just prior to time-of-flight, the numbers of available seats is determined. After sorting the signup register by priority of travel and signup date, the passenger terminal personnel follow a selection procedure. If there is sufficient seating for everyone desiring a seat, then everyone boards; otherwise, a cutoff point is determined.

Aircraft generally allowing for DoD Space-A travel

C-5 Galaxy
C-12 Huron based on the Beechcraft Super King Air business aircraft
C-17 Globemaster III
C-20 Gulfstream III based on the Gulfstream III and Gulfstream IV business jets
C-21 Learjet based on the Learjet 35A business jet
C-22B based on the Boeing 727 passenger jet
VC-25A based on the Boeing 747-200 passenger jet
C-32 based on the Boeing 757 passenger jet; used as Air Force Two
UC-35 Citation V based on the Cessna Citation V business jet
C-37 Gulfstream V based on the Gulfstream V business jet
C-38 Courier based on the IAI Astra business jet
C-40 Clipper based on the Boeing 737 passenger jet
C-130 Hercules
C-135 Stratolifter derived from Boeing 367-80 prototype jet (the basis for the Boeing 707 passenger jet)
KC-10 Extender based on the civilian DC-10-30 airliner
KC-135 Stratotanker

The majority of flights that passengers take occur on: C-5, C-17, C-130, KC-10, and KC-135 aircraft.

Space-required versus space-available

Space A travel is not without its pitfalls. Unlike traditional commercial air traffic, military flights are not always assigned predictable takeoff times. Many factors go into planning a military flight, with space-required cargo and passengers forming the basis of planning. There is no consideration given to potential Space-A travelers during the planning process.

Non-governmental support for Space-A

The Space A traveler might meet abrupt, sometimes even in-flight, changes in travel. This need for pre-planning has given rise to a small industry surrounding such travel. Non-governmental enterprises (for the most part, publishers) produce products, primarily books and maps, which provide travelers with information regarding their Space A benefit.

There are also Internet forums where users exchange Space-A travel tips. One such forum's members ( place traditional red paisley bandanas on their luggage while Space-Aing, in order to identify each other.

See also


External links

  • CONUS Space-A Travel Location Listing Private and current web-based list of CONUS Space-A Terminals - retrieved on March 16, 2008 (Current)
  • Europe Space-A Travel Location Listing Private and current web-based list of European Region Space-A Terminals - retrieved on March 16, 2008 (Current)
  • Pacific Space-A Travel Location Listing Private and current web-based list of Pacific Region Space-A Terminals - retrieved on March 16, 2008 (Current)
  • - Private Space A discussion bulletin board - retrieved on November 27, 2007 (Current)
  • - Private, non-commercial method for Space A registration - retrieved on November 27, 2007 (Current)
  • - Military Space A Travel Information and Resources - retrieved on August 28, 2007 (Contains partially outdated references)
  • - Private website with Space A references - retrieved on November 5, 2007 (Current)
  • on Facebook - Latest breaking news in the Space Available Travel world and forum for answering he occasional Space-A question

Further reading

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