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Space-A Travel...A Benefit Worth Using

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Henry Kehs
  • 3rd Aerial Port Squadron
Want to get away? Sick and tired of paying outrageous airfare prices? Why not fly Air Mobility Command?

Department of Defense aircraft sometimes will have passenger seats available after fulfilling active-duty mission requirements. These seats become available to military personnel as Space Available seating.

"Space Available travel is an invaluable resource that is open to all active-duty and DOD retired personnel," said Maj. Peyton Smith, 3rd Aerial Port Squadron director of operations. Smith recently traveled Space-A to Europe for a family vacation. "There is nothing better than flying for free. Passenger service agents have your best interest in mind and will try to help you get to where you want to go. Traveling with Air Mobility Command is a great resource," he said.

Space Available travel, commonly called, 'Space-A,' is a benefit that military members often overlook and underutilize. Flights from Pope Army Airfield on Fort Bragg typically release an average of 2,000 seats per month. Of those available seats, only two percent are filled for travel.

With flights traveling to many locations in the continental United States (CONUS) and overseas (OCONUS), understanding the Space-A system will help get you to your destination with little to no expense.

Active-duty military, dependents and retired DOD service members are all eligible to fly Space-A. Determining flight eligibility is based on priority of movement and a first come, first serve system. For example, a passenger on emergency leave has priority over a passenger on ordinary leave status. Additionally, someone who has been on the Space-A sign-up roster for an extended period of time will have priority over a recent applicant. Military dependents are also welcome to fly, but not without traveling with an accompanying sponsor, unless the sponsor is currently deployed.

The procedure first includes locating an available flight. CONUS and OCONUS flights from Fort Bragg are advertised on the Pope Passenger Terminal's Facebook page three days prior to the mission. You must 'Like' the Facebook page to have access to aircraft schedules, destinations and seat releases. After identifying a potential flight, you can sign-up through the Passenger Terminal either in person or by email. A passenger will remain on the Space-A roster for 60 days or throughout the duration of their leave.

The experience of traveling on military aircraft is just as easy as the commercial alternative. Passenger show time is three hours prior to an aircraft's departure in order to accomplish a quick security screening as conducted in commercial airports. Passengers are allowed to travel with two bags, free of cost. Fees associated with Space-A travel are few. A small 'head tax' is charged when traveling on channel missions to OCONUS locations. Channel missions are regular, recurring flights from larger air terminals usually located on the East and West Coasts to specific locations. However, there are no channel missions that depart from Pope Army Airfield.

Due to the nature of the active-duty mission, aircraft schedules are subject to change with little notice. Therefore, travelers must have time and flexibility when traveling Space-A. Should adjustments be required, a passenger service agent will explain alternative travel options. While there are no guarantees, promises, or reimbursements, the potential for money savings is worth the consideration.

The 3rd Aerial Port Squadron operates the Space-A program on Pope Army Airfield. At 61 years old, it is the oldest active-duty aerial port squadron in the Air Force.

To inquire further about Space-A travel opportunities, please call or visit the Pope Passenger Terminal (910) 424-6527, or email: You can also view updated flight information on their Facebook page:

The Pope Passenger Terminal is located on Pope Army Airfield at 704 Surveyor Street. Terminal personnel are also available to brief units about Space-A travel upon request.