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  • Space-available travel is a privilege (not an entitlement) that accrues to Uniformed Services members as an avenue of respite from the rigors of Uniformed Services duty. Retired Uniformed Services members are given the privilege in recognition of a career of such rigorous duty and because they are eligible for recall to active duty.  The underlying 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.
  • Space available passengers travel only after all duty cargo and passengers have been accommodated.  All available seats are released, but there is no guaranteed movement in the preferred time frame,  Have sufficient funds available to complete travel using commercial transportation if necessary.  
  • Space available (Space A) eligible travelers may not use their privilege for personal gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Space A travel may not be used to establish a home or when international or theater restrictions prohibit such travel.
  • Family members may travel within the CONUS when accompanied by their sponsor
  • Space A seats are normally identified as early as 2-3 hours and as late as 30 minutes prior to departure.  Recommend checking with the passenger service center for the space available show time prior to departing the terminal. Be ready for immediate processing and boarding.
  •  Travelers are assigned a category (see below) upon registering for travel and compete for seats within categories based on the date and time of registration. This date and time of sign-up is valid through to the final destination; a new date and time are assigned for return travel. Travelers may stand by for any available flight. 
  • Space required passengers or cargo may require the removal of Space A passengers at any point. If removed en route, travelers may re-register with their original date and time of registration. Passenger agents will assign a new date and time to any country changed or added to an application. Names of all originating space available passengers who depart on a flight will be removed from all destinations. Travelers should be prepared to purchase onward or return commercial transportation, meals, and lodging.
  • Travelers remain on the register for 60 days or the duration of their leave orders or authorization, whichever occurs first.

If you have questions or comments, please contact an AMC supervisor or use AMC Form 253, Air Passenger Comment, available in every major AMC operating location.

Passengers must register for travel at Passenger Service Centers in the passenger terminal in person and/or may also sign-up in writing by fax, mail, or E-mail. Sponsors who register in person for family members traveling with them should present all required documents: Identification cards (DD Form 2, Armed Forces Identification Card), passports, immunization records, and visas when required by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. Travel documents must be presented when selected for travel. Travelers may select up to five countries. We recommend the "all" choice for the 5th destination so that the traveler may take advantage of unscheduled unique travel opportunities.

The following documentation is required. Please have them ready for review when selected for travel:

  • Active Duty Uniformed Services Member (includes National Guard and Reserve members on active duty in excess of 30 days and Cadets and Midshipmen of the U.S. Service Academies): DD Form 2 (Green), US Armed Forces ID Card (Active), Form 2 NOAA (Green), Uniformed Services ID and Privilege Card (Active), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Green), US Public Health Service ID Card (Active), and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
  • Retired Uniformed Service Members: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 (Blue) NOAA, Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
  • National Guard and Reserve Members:   Authorized Reserve Component Members (National Guard and Ready Reserve) and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List:  DD Form 2 (Red), Armed Forces of the United States ID Card (Reserve) and DD Form 1853, Verification of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility.
  • Retired Reservists Entitled to Retired Pay at Age 60: DD Form 2 (Red) and a notice of retirement eligibility as described in DoD Directive 1200.15. If the automated DD Form 2 (Red) has been issued, the member is registered in his or her service personnel system as a Reserve retiree entitled to retired pay at age 60, and a notice of retirement is not required.
  • Retired Reservists Qualified for Retired Pay: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 (Blue) NOAA, Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
  • On Active Duty for 30 Days or Less: DD Form 2 (Red), orders placing the Reservist on active duty, and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
  • ROTC, Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC), and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Members: When enrolled in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program: DD Form 2 (Red) and DD Form 1853.
  • Family Members of Uniformed Services Members: DD Form 1173, United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card.
  • EML Travelers: EML travel orders issued in accordance with Combatant Command procedures.

The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals and their category of travel.  A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R, Air Transportation Eligibility. 

Category 1- Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel. Transportation by the most expeditious routing only for bona fide immediate family emergencies, as determined by DOD Directive 1327.5. This travel privilege shall not be used in lieu of a funded travel entitlement.

  • Uniformed Services members with emergency status indicated in leave orders.
  • U.S .citizen civilians stationed overseas and employees of the Uniformed Services/Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) activities and whose travel from the CONUS, Alaska or Hawaii was incident to a PCS assignment at NAF expense.
  • Dependents of members of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor.
  • Dependents, command sponsored of : 
  • U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Uniformed Service, stationed overseas
  • U.S. citizen civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas and paid from NAF, or
  • American Red Cross full-time paid personnel serving with a DOD Component overseas.

Category 2 - Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave (EML) status and their dependents traveling with them, also in EML status.  “Sponsors” includes:

  • Uniformed Services Members.
  • U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Armed Forces who are eligible for Government-funded transportation to the United States at tour completion (including NAF employees).
  • American Red Cross full-time, paid personnel on duty with DOD Component overseas. 
  • USO professional staff personnel on duty with the Uniformed Services.
  • DODDS Teachers during the school year and for Employer-approved training during recess periods.

Category 3 – Ordinary Leave, Close Blood or Affirmative Relatives, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor Holders, Foreign Military, and Others.     

  • Uniformed Services members in a leave or pass status, other than emergency leave, including members of the reserve components on active duty, in leave or pass status.
  • Dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor in a leave status.
  • Uniformed Services members traveling under permissive TDY orders for house hunting incident to a pending PCS. 
  • One dependent may accompany a Uniformed Services member.
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their dependents (when accompanied by their sponsor).  Except for active duty, traveler shall present a copy of the Medal of Honor Award Certificate.
  • Foreign cadets and midshipmen attending U.S. Service academies, in a leave status.
  • Foreign Exchange Service members on permanent duty with the DoD, when in a leave status.
  • Dependents of foreign exchange Service members on permanent duty with the Department of Defense when accompanied by their sponsor. 

Category 4 – Unaccompanied Dependents on EML and DODDS Teachers on EML During Summer.

  • Dependents traveling under the EML Program, unaccompanied by their sponsor.
  • DODDS teachers of dependents accompanied or unaccompanied traveling under the EML Program. 

Category 5 – Permissive TDY (Non-House Hunting) Students, Dependents and Others.

  • Military personnel traveling on permissive TDY orders other than for househunting.
  • Dependents (children) who are college students attending in residence at an overseas branch of an American (U.S) university located in the same overseas area in which they reside, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor, who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense.
  • Dependents, command-sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense. Unaccompanied travel is permitted to and from the nearest overseas military academy testing site to take scheduled entrance examinations for entry into any of the U.S. Service Academies

Category 6 – Retired, Dependents, Reserve, ROTC, NUPOS and CEC

  • Retired Uniformed Services members
  • Dependents of retired Uniformed Service members, when accompanied by their sponsor.
  • Dependents, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor who is: (1) A member of the Uniformed Services; (2) A U.S. citizen civilian employee of the Department of Defense (paid from either appropriated funds or NAF); or (3) An American Red Cross full-time, paid employee serving with the Department of Defense. Unaccompanied travel is permitted to the U.S. for enlisting in one of the Armed Forces when local enlistment in the overseas area is not authorized. If an applicant for Military Service is rejected, return travel to the overseas area may be provided under this eligibility
  • Authorized Reserve component members and authorized Reserve component members entitled to retired pay at age 60 (gray area retirees) traveling in the CONUS and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Newly commissioned ROTC officers who are awaiting call to extended active duty.  Travel is authorized within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories.

Each passenger may check two pieces of checked baggage, 70 pounds each, up to 62 linear inches in size (L+W+H). Family members may pool their baggage allowances. Each passenger is permitted to hand-carry one article (small baggage, backpack, etc.) and one personal item (purse, briefcase, etc.) for storage on the passenger cabin area. Hand-carried items will bo longer than 45 linear inches and must fit under the passenger’s seat or in the overhead compartment, if available.
Note: Baggage weight may be limited due to type of aircraft or other restrictions.

People not familiar with the Space A system often do not know the questions to ask to make their travel easier.  The following are some of the most common Space A questions and their answers:

Question 1: Is Space A travel a reasonable substitute for travel on a commercial airline?
Answer: The answer depends on you!  If your travel schedule is flexible and finances permit for a stay (sometimes in a "high-cost" area), while awaiting movement, space available travel is a good travel choice.  While some travelers sign up and travel may be the same day, many factors could come together to make buying a commercial ticket your best or only option.  Remember, Space A travel success depends on flexibility and good timing.
Question 2: Who determines eligibility to fly Space A?
Answer: The four Services jointly establish Space A eligibility.  DoD’s first responsibility is airlifting official DoD traffic. Space A passengers are accommodated only after official duty passengers and cargo.
Question 3: How long does my name stay on the Space A list?
Answer: All travelers remain on the register 60 days after registration, for the duration of their leave orders authorization, or until they are selected for travel, whichever occurs first. Revalidation has been eliminated.
Question 4: What is country sign-up, and how does it affect me?
Answer: Under this program, you may sign up for five different countries rather than five different destinations. You are also eligible for the "ALL" sign-up which makes you eligible for all other destinations served. This gives you a greater selection of destinations from which to choose.
Question 5: What is remote sign-up?
Answer: Remote sign-up allows passengers to enter the backlog by telefaxing copies of proper service documentation along with desired country destinations and family members' first names to the aerial port of departure. The telefax data header will establish date/time of sign-up; therefore, active duty personnel must ensure the telefax is sent no earlier than the effective date of leave.  Terminals are not responsible for faxes not received. Mail entries will also be permitted. Some of terminals now accept e-mail sign-up. The original date and time of sign-up shall be documented and stay with the passenger until his or her destination is reached. On reaching destination, the passenger may again sign-up for space available travel to return to home station.
NOTE: If applicable, a statement that all required border clearance documents are current, is required.
Question 6:  What is self sign-up?
Answer: Self sign-up is a program that allows passengers to sign-up at a terminal without waiting in line. Most locations now provide self sign-up counters with easy to follow instructions for registration. Active duty personnel must ensure sign-up takes place no earlier than the effective date of leave. If your travel will take you to a foreign country, ensure border clearance documentation is up to date. If you are unsure, verify it with a passenger service representative on duty.
Question 7: How can I find where my name is on the Space A register?
Answer: Each terminal maintains a Space A register (organized alphabetically, by priority and the date and time of registration for travel) that is updated daily. The register is conveniently located in the terminal and directly accessible to you. Travelers may call the terminal direct to find where they stand travel wise.
Question 8: As a Reservist, where can I fly?
Answer: Reserve members with DD Form 2 (Red) identification and DD Form 1853 may fly to, from, and between Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the CONUS. Additionally, when on active duty, members may fly anywhere overseas that DoD has flights operating.
Question 9: As a Retiree, where can I fly?
Answer: Retired members with DD Form 2 (Blue) identification card may fly anywhere DoD has flights operating, including the CONUS.
Question 10: Where and when can my family members travel with me?
Answer: Except EML, Emergency Travel, and Command Sponsored Category V, family members must be accompanied by the sponsor to fly Space A. Family members may also travel to/from and between overseas locations. 
Question 11: Can I have family members travel with another military member if given power of attorney, other releases, or authority?
Answer: No. Family members may only travel when accompanied by their sponsor.
Question 12: I am disabled. Can I have a brother, sister, or friend accompany me to help me?
Answer: The only persons permitted to accompany you are your dependents (not in the CONUS) or other persons eligible for Space A travel. Every effort shall be made to transport passengers with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to travel. Passenger service personnel and crew members shall provide assistance in boarding, seating, and deplaning passengers with special needs.
Question 13: Do I have to be in uniform to travel?
Answer: Each Service determines their own travel uniform policies. Currently, all the services permit appropriate civilian attire on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. When civilian clothing is worn, use common sense. Attire should be in good taste and not in conflict with accepted attire in the overseas country of departure, transit, or destination, as defined by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. It should also be capable of keeping you warm, especially on military aircraft.
Question 14: How much baggage can I take?
Answer: As a Space A traveler, you may check two pieces of luggage at 70 pounds each per person. Family members traveling together may pool their baggage allowance as long as the total does not exceed the total allowance. You may hand carry only what fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment, if available.
Question 15: Can I pay for excess baggage when flying space available?
Answer: No. Only duty status passengers may pay for excess baggage.
Question 16: Do you have any recommendations on baggage?
Answer: Yes. Travel light, take only essentials. Do not place valuables, medicine, or important documents in your check baggage. Be sure your name and current address are on and inside your bags.  Terminals have baggage ID tags available for you to use.
Question 17: Can my pet travel with me on a Space A flight?
Answer: No. DoD has reserved pet shipments for passengers in permanent change of station (PCS) status only. Additionally, travel with pets would be difficult at best due to limited aircraft pet spaces, pet import documentation requirements, and the possibility of quarantine in the event of an aircraft divert.
Question 18: Will Space A travel cost much?
Answer: In general, no. Some terminals must collect a head tax or a federal inspection fee from Space A passengers on commercial contract missions. Meals may be purchased at a nominal fee out of most air terminals while traveling on military aircraft.
Question 19: What facilities are available at terminals (nursery, BX, snack bar)?
Answer: Facilities at most military terminals are generally the same as commercial facilities. Facilities include exchanges, barber shops, snack bars, pay television (free television lounge in some military terminals), traveler assistance, baggage lockers or rooms, United Services Organization (USO) lounges, and nurseries (at major terminals). The type of facility available will vary according to the terminal size and location.
NOTE: Most passenger terminals close at night. Space A travelers should be prepared to defray billeting expenses.
Question 20: What are the trends in the availability of Space A travel? Does it seem as if there will be more or less Space A travel in the coming year?
Answer: Although AMC has led efforts to improve Space A travel in the past few years, movement still remains a result of unused seats. Present DoD personnel and budget trends are affecting Space A movement opportunity. AMC is dedicated to putting a passenger in every available seat.
Question 21: What is the best time of the year to travel Space A?
Answer: Any time other than peak travel and holidays (December-January and June-July) periods.
Question 22: Is it easier to go to some destinations?
Answer: Yes. Places where we fly often (Germany) are much easier than low frequency areas (Australia or New Zealand).
Question 23: Can people travel Space A to Alaska or South America?
Answer: Yes. Travelers may obtain Space A travel to Alaska, South America, and other interesting locations; i.e., Australia, New Zealand, etc. Travel to Alaska when departing from the West Coast (Travis AFB, California, and McChord AFB, Washington). Travel to South America and other remote areas is much more difficult. Infrequent flights to remote areas are primarily cargo missions and have few seats available for passenger movement. Expect long waiting periods for movement.
Question 24: I am retired and am traveling on a passport and my flight originated overseas. Where in the CONUS can I fly into?
Answer: When traveling on a passport (family members, retired uniform service, reserve, etc.), you may return to the CONUS only through authorized ports of entry where customs and immigration clearance is available. While you may depart the CONUS literally from any military airfield, reentry locations for passport holders are limited. Active duty passengers who do not require immigration clearance have more reentry options open.
Question 25: Can I fly on Space A on other than AMC flights?
Answer: Yes. Travel eligibility is for all DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. 
Question 26: Can I call the bases for flight information? If so, what are the phone numbers?
Answer: We encourage you to call the passenger terminal you plan on traveling through 30-60 days before travel.  The terminal will be happy to discuss their flight schedule, Space A backlog, movement forecast, etc.  If you don’t have the phone number, ask the base operator for the passenger terminal.


  • Plan, be flexible, be patient. As a rule of thumb, military ports offer more travel opportunities than commercial gateways (i.e., travel chances are better to Europe from Dover AFB DE than Baltimore-Washington IAP).
  • If possible, travel at off-peak Space A travel periods (i.e., peak periods are the summer months after school is dismissed and Christmas holiday season). Historically, February-March and October-November are low travel periods.
  • Be as flexible as possible in choosing a destination. If you want to get to Ramstein AB, Germany, consider a flight into Spangdahlem AB, Germany, or even RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, as an alternative. At Mildenhall, try for another flight bound for Germany.
  • There is a head tax on CONUS outbound or federal inspection fee on CONUS inbound international commercial charters.
  • When traveling Space A with young children, prepare for possible delays along the way where baby supplies may not be readily available. A good supply of games and books is also recommended. Be aware that a baby's ears, like an adults, are sensitive to altitude pressure changes.
  • Space A is just that—space that is available after all mission requirements are fulfilled. Military aircraft are subject at all times, first and foremost, to DoD mission response.

Source: Air Mobility Command




July 18, 2001