Space A in's and outs's. Help please! — The Bump
Military Families

Space A in's and outs's. Help please!

My husband is deploying in the spring. I know they say if he's deployed 120+ consecutive days dependents can fly space a for free. I'm looking for some info on this! I looked online but I'm a little confused by it. I want to go home for a few weeks while he is away and want to be there for a wedding. He is usmc if it matters and we have a little guy that'll be about 18/19 months old when I go. Also, we are stationed in Okinawa. Anything you know or have experienced please share!!! I don't want to depend on it then it not work out when the time comes!
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Re: Space A in's and outs's. Help please!

  • Space a is free, except for airport tax, whether your husband is deployed or not. I am in key west right now thanks to space A and because it left from a navy base and not a regular airport I didn't have to pay an airport tax. You just need to get yourself signed up on the list and see what catigory applies to you. Go to Military.com it has info on the different categories.
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  • Where are you trying to get to/home?

    I have never paid an airport tax while flying Space A. Please be aware that while getting to the states from overseas is usually fairly easy, getting back really isn't and can take several tries.. You have to be patient with space A and know that you may not get on the first, second or third try.

     You will need a command sponsorship letter signed by your husbands commander. Your Space A terminal should have copies you can go by. If I remember correctly you will be a Category 5 traveling without your husband and that he is deployed.

    I flew with my 2 boys from England to California and there was no issues with them.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

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  • When I was stationed in Iceland I had to pay an airport tax going into the baltimore airport because it was a civilian airport....I didn't have to pay going to Iceland since it landed on a Navy base. This was back in 2003-2005 maybe it has changed since then.
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  • I'm trying to get from Okinawa to the Chicago area. I wasn't sure about getting all the way to Chicago but a ticket from the west coast to there wouldn't be a big deal. I was kind of figuring to allow myself a few tries. I guess I may want to have money to buy a ticket back if anything...? 

    I saw that the Army is changing to show flight Info 72 hrs prior. I wonder if that goes for MC Too? What is it like? Is it even practical to fly with a small child? Lots of stops or?

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  • image carecamp:

    I'm trying to get from Okinawa to the Chicago area. I wasn't sure about getting all the way to Chicago but a ticket from the west coast to there wouldn't be a big deal. I was kind of figuring to allow myself a few tries. I guess I may want to have money to buy a ticket back if anything...? 

    I saw that the Army is changing to show flight Info 72 hrs prior. I wonder if that goes for MC Too? What is it like? Is it even practical to fly with a small child? Lots of stops or?

    It really just depends on the type of mac flight you get. mine to Iceland from Baltimore and vice versa were always non stop. The one I just took here to key west from lemoore,ca was non stop also. My DH flies mac all the time for tad orders, sometimes they're non-stop and sometimes he has 3-5 stops. Since you're traveling over seas I would at the very least expect 1-2 stops. It's all just the luck of the draw and you can't really be too picky since it's free =P
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  • I fly SPACE A from Germany 2-3 times a year, for the past 3 years (total of 8 trips).  This is what I have learned over the years.  

    1) You must get a Command Sponsor letter from your DH's Commander. 

         a) this letter is GOOD FOR 90 days.  You can get a 30-day extension, but be prepaged to explain why. 

         b) work the timing of your letter around your tentative travel dates.  While you would be CAT III, where you rank on the CAT III list on the day you want to travel depends on when you signed up.  The early, the better.  I ALWAYS send my sign-up letter 30 days out. 

         c) send your sign-up letter to both any/all airports you may be using, both departiong out and returning from on the same day.  KEEP YOUR EMAIL OR FAX RECIEPTS (the AMC terminals have a tendancy to "lose" sign-up info - but with the return recipt, they will back date your request).

         b) when you fly, have 2 copies of the Command Sponsor letter.  They must be produced, along with your Military ID and Passports for all flights

    2) There will always be a cost to flying Space A.  From Ramstein to BWI, it was $42for  two of us.  From BWI to Ramstein it was $38 for two of us.  From Spangdahlem to Charleston, it was $21 for three.  You are required to help cover your costs for meals (on the rotator you cannot opt out and on the cargo planes, you dont need to eat their meal, but then you best pack something) and some taxes.

    3) Cargo Planes are cold and loud, but the best with kids. 

         a) bring earplugs and headphones so you can hear your equipment.

         b) bring a blow up mattress and blankets.  My DD ran around then passed out on the planes floor.  BEST THING EVER. 

     4) If you are only flying part of the flight, especially on a cargo plane (say starting in Dover, stopping in Tenn and ending in TX and you want off in Tenn) be sure that you are MANIFESTED through to your endpoint AND ensure that your luggage is separated from the luggage going to the end. 

    5) Even as CAT III, summer time and holidays are not the opportune time to travel.  You will be competeing with the DoDDs teachers and other dependents.  And with the end of our time in Iraq and the wind-down in Afghanistan, the number of flights have already lessened and the rest will be filled with guys/gals on orders. 

    So NOW is the time to fly.  I just took the rotator from Ramstein to BWI and back and there were over 100 seats (200 for my flight back home) open.  But that will not always be the case.

    I love this benefit and has been my saving Grace (its easiern and saner for ME to fly back to the States then to have my mother come to me).   

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  • When we were stationed at Kadena, I flew space A a ton and it was always an adventure.  I learned all about it on www.pepperd.com.  It is a message board and people are really helpful.  It's really important that you understand all the ins and outs of flying space A so you avoid super frustrating situations.

     I never had too much trouble getting in and out of Kadena, but you have to keep in mind the times of year that are more trafficy than others (summer and major holidays).  Also, I had trouble getting back to Okinawa when it was the end of the fiscal year and flight hours had been used up.

    There were plenty of people who flew with children, and I was always in awe of them.  Space A is a great way to travel, but it can also turn into a nightmare so be prepared to buy a ticket if need be.

    It's always good to swing by the AMC terminal with your paperwork to get everything double checked before your actual attempt to get out.

    Best of luck! 

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  • image carecamp:
    My husband is deploying in the spring. I know they say if he's deployed 120+ consecutive days dependents can fly space a for free. I'm looking for some info on this! I looked online but I'm a little confused by it. I want to go home for a few weeks while he is away and want to be there for a wedding. He is usmc if it matters and we have a little guy that'll be about 18/19 months old when I go. Also, we are stationed in Okinawa. Anything you know or have experienced please share!!! I don't want to depend on it then it not work out when the time comes!

    Also, check the facebook pages of the AMC terminals in which you might be going through...they post the 72hr schedules so you can keep an eye on it and see the trend of where the flights go and how many seats are available on each...

    From Okinawa, you're probably going to go from there, to Hickam, to Travis, which isnt far from San Fran...you'll most likely have to buy a ticket from the airport in San Fran...

     Another thing to check out is the amenities at the terminals in which you could possibly get stuck at...planes break...and if you're ticketed on a flight which then breaks before you get off the ground, you dont want to leave the terminal because it can fly as soon as its fixed and if your not there for check in they will give your seats away...example...this past summer I was flying from McGuire in NJ, trying to get back to Germany and they had us ticketed on the flight on a Tues, but the plane broke and didnt actually fly till Thursday...there were a fair share of ppl who left and lost there seats because they werent ready when the check in announcement was made...

     Summer is super busy....I'm active duty and a Cat 3 and still waited a week to get out...my finance works at the terminal so if you have any other questions just message me... 

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  • image carecamp:
    My husband is deploying in the spring. I know they say if he's deployed 120+ consecutive days dependents can fly space a for free. I'm looking for some info on this! I looked online but I'm a little confused by it. I want to go home for a few weeks while he is away and want to be there for a wedding. He is usmc if it matters and we have a little guy that'll be about 18/19 months old when I go. Also, we are stationed in Okinawa. Anything you know or have experienced please share!!! I don't want to depend on it then it not work out when the time comes!

    Also, check the facebook pages of the AMC terminals in which you might be going through...they post the 72hr schedules so you can keep an eye on it and see the trend of where the flights go and how many seats are available on each...

    From Okinawa, you're probably going to go from there, to Hickam, to Travis, which isnt far from San Fran...you'll most likely have to buy a ticket from the airport in San Fran...

     Another thing to check out is the amenities at the terminals in which you could possibly get stuck at...planes break...and if you're ticketed on a flight which then breaks before you get off the ground, you dont want to leave the terminal because it can fly as soon as its fixed and if your not there for check in they will give your seats away...example...this past summer I was flying from McGuire in NJ, trying to get back to Germany and they had us ticketed on the flight on a Tues, but the plane broke and didnt actually fly till Thursday...there were a fair share of ppl who left and lost there seats because they werent ready when the check in announcement was made...

     Summer is super busy....I'm active duty and a Cat 3 and still waited a week to get out...my finance works at the terminal so if you have any other questions just message me... 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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