Well as simple as anything in the military is…  As long as you know the rules, you can profit from them, but if you are not aware of them, you will certainly be disappointed in the results.

You may think it is sacreligious for a frequent flyer to advocate using Space A travel, but it does have its uses – such as being almost free to use.  It is a great service to use if you are young and don’t have much money or you are retired and have more time than money.  I remember using it on my honeymoon to travel all over Europe.  We flew from Travis AFB (I was stationed at Ft. Ord at the time) taking two days to finally reach Frankfurt. we spent a few days each at Frankfurt, Naples, and Mildenhall using them as bases to take day trips to various adventures along the Rhine or to Pompei.  We did run intl the main problem when you take Space A.  That being that we ended up only able to get a hop from Mildenhall to South Carolina and couldn’t get out of there back to California, so we ended up buying commercial tickets to get home befofre my leave was up.

For those of you who are adventurous, the official Space A site is here.  However, there is a great site that simplifies everything.  Created by and called John D.’s Military Space-A Travel Pages, this boils everything you need to know down to an easy to follow dialogue including typical routes and phone numbers to call.  Here are some common things John lists to increase your chances of success in getting the flight you want.


  • number of flights to your destination
  • number of Space-A seats on those flights
  • number of people ahead of you trying for the flight
  • number of seats you need (1 is better than 6!)
  • seniority of your signup date in your particular category
  • time of year (summer and non-school periods are the worst)
  • amount of time you’re prepared to tolerate (i.e. burning leave) waiting for a flight in the terminal (and not at Burger King!)
  • amount of legs (different flights) you’re willing to take to get from A to B
  • type of aircraft you’re willing to fly on
  • weight of your baggage (under 30lbs enables you to compete for more types of aircraft)
  • your willingness to take a flight to a less popular location e.g. McConnell versus Dover

Your chances will improve the more you know the rules, methods and timing of sign-up, perseverance, patience and timing or travel.

So good luck and good hunting to those of you out there who want to try this great military benefit.

Posted by glenn | 7 Comments

7 responses to “Space A Travel Made Simple”

  1. Benji says:

    It stings a little bit to see your base listed as the less popular location. I would point out that while beggars can’t be choosers, you will have a much better experience on a c-17 than on a KC-135. 50+ years yields a lot of improvement to comfort. Also, c-5’s are notorious for breaking everywhere they go.

  2. Jen says:

    We have had great luck out of Travis AFB….direct to Mildenhall once and direct to Rota another time. Lots of other, more circuitous routes.
    One thing for the Space-A flyer to keep in pocket is this: On two different occasions where we couldn’t quite get all of the way home, we were able to find UA one-way Saver Award availability from the East Coast to the West Coast either the next day or the day after. So, Space-A West Coast USA to Europe and back to East Coast USA, then 12,500 United miles back to the West Coast.

  3. glenn says:

    @Jen – Great tip and great use of your FF miles!

  4. […] comes up.  This strategy also works well if you are flying Space-A and can’t get a hop back […]

  5. Military travel discounts are hard to find. Space-A travel certainly has it’s advantages. If you’re considering Space-A flights, always be sure to have a backup plan in the event the aircraft you are aboard changes it’s flight plan.

  6. John Jackson says:

    I believe that my website is like an extension of this website. This site gives good tips on how to make Space A Travel easier and mine makes it easier to find things like hotels, restaurants, attractions, Space A Facebook pages/forums, phone #’s, hospitals, transportation and other things. You can search the many selections on my site and even make reservations before you leave. There are locations on and off base at just about every Space A location in the world. Check it out. I believe these 2 sites compliment each other wonderfully.

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