Knowing the ins and outs of Space A travel

Base Info
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Iles, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron air transportation passenger service agent, gives customers information on flights for the Space Availability program on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 29, 2013. The Environmental Morale and Leave program is a section of Space A which gives service members and their families a higher priority level when they fly. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Iles, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron air transportation passenger service agent, gives customers information on flights for the Space Availability program on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 29, 2013. The Environmental Morale and Leave program is a section of Space A which gives service members and their families a higher priority level when they fly. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)

Knowing the ins and outs of Space A travel

by: Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins | .
18th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: January 31, 2013

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  - Ever wanted a free flight? Maybe a chance to travel to a different country?

The Space Availability program offers just that -- an easy way to travel to multiple countries.

The process to obtain a flight with Space A starts at the passenger terminal.

"We always recommend passengers call the terminal to obtain information to get them started, find out if they are eligible for a flight and inform them of the next step they would need to take," said Master Sgt. Jessica Coombs, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron superintendent of passenger operations.

Coombs also added passengers can visit the Air Mobility Command/Space A website from the Kadena home page, which is another way to receive travel information, or take a trip to the passenger terminal to have their questions answered.

There are two ways to secure a flight through the program. Members can appear for roll call at the selected time frames, or use the Environmental Morale and Leave program, which gives travelers a higher priority level.

EML is only offered at certain locations, and Kadena happens to be one of them.

"The military mission comes first," Coombs explained. "Once all military requirements are satisfied, the available space is given to the passenger terminal for people hoping to get that free flight."

She said EML does not apply to everyone. An individual has to be on station for at least six months and cannot be leaving within six months.

But flying with Space A is not always reliable, she added.

"The aircraft is flying for a specific military mission and plans can change. You have to be flexible, open to change, have time available and have a plan B when flying with Space A," Coombs explained.

The ability to fly anywhere for free, or for a small cost for commercial aircraft flights like the Patriot Express, is just one of the benefits to flying with Space A. The $29.10 fee for a commercial aircraft flight covers the head tax, customs and border patrol fees.

Members can also view the Electronic System for Travel Authorizations for requirements to enter a specific country on the AMC website. The system is always being updated with new changes or restrictions.

"If you have time to spare, are patient and your family is flexible, flying Space A is an adventure and an exciting opportunity," Coombs added.