7 Space-A Tips and Tricks for Experienced Military Travelers

The space available travel program, or Space-A, is a great transportation option for service members and immediate family that allows them to fly free or at a reduced cost across the country or world. Even if you’ve taken advantage of this benefit before, here are seven tips – gleaned from the experiences of other military travelers – to help you make the most of the Space-A travel program.

A quick review of the basic Space-A travel process

Before diving into specific tips, here’s a quick recap of the Space-A process, formally known as Military Airlift Command or MAC. If it’s been more than a few months since you last flew Space-A, the basics can help you plan for future trips.

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Ready to Book Your Space-A flight?

Now that you have learned all the tips and tricks, it’s time to start planning.SIGN UP

  • Sign up: Air Mobility Command maintains a list of terminal contact information you can use for Space-A travel planning. Sign up for Space-A flights at all potential terminals – arrival and departure – as soon as 60 days out from your expected date of travel. Most retirees and dependents try to sign up 50-55 days before their planned travel date, as those who are on the list for longer will board before others in the same category.
  • Double check: Closer to the date of travel, call the terminal to double check your status on the list. Give them the day and time you signed up, while taking notes of your conversation to create a paper trail to avoid potential miscommunication later.
  • Mark yourself present: On your intended departure date, check in at the terminal – luggage in hand, paperwork signed, car parked and all dependents corralled – at least an hour before your desired flight’s roll call for passengers. Check your terminal’s online schedule frequently, as flight schedules and roll call can change without notice.
  • Wait: Space-A passengers will board according to their travel category, not rank. If there’s still space on your requested Space-A flight, terminal staff will help you board and prepare for takeoff. If you’re bumped from this flight, you’ll still have “sign-up” time seniority – though your category remains the same – for future Space-A flights. Ask the terminal attendant to be considered for all flights going to your desired destination.

Space-A travel tips

Once you have signed up, you can take advantage of these in-depth tips and tricks used by other military travelers to fully leverage the Space-A travel program.

  1. Plan to trade your time for the discounted ticket. The lower your category, the more likely it is that others in higher categories will take available seats on popular flights. Give yourself three-day buffers on each end of your travel plans to catch flights – and remember that more Space-A flights tend to be scheduled on weekdays, Mondays through Fridays.
  2. Avoid drill weekends and school breaks. Drill tends to fill military Space-A flights, and many families schedule vacations around school breaks. To avoid these, call the terminal’s base to ask if the local Guard or reserve unit will be drilling the weekend you intend to leave. Then, check the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA, school calendar for seasonal school breaks.
  3. Be willing to take Space-A flights that get you close – but not directly to – your final destination. If you’re traveling from the U.S. to a European destination, for example, consider grabbing a more open flight from a convenient local base to a country close to your destination, then take local civilian transportation.
  4. Plan for every climate. You might be on a flight initially scheduled to go to Hawaii, but have an emergency reroute to Alaska to fulfill the military Space-A flight’s primary mission. Don’t be caught with just flip-flops in your luggage.
  5. Be flexible. Make the delays and alternate routes an adventure, rather than an inconvenience. You may not have expected to go to Germany instead of France, but it’s an opportunity for spontaneous sightseeing.
  6. Don’t expect a traditional civilian flight unless it’s Patriot Express. Sometimes, the military contracts with a civilian airline for troop movement, making a Patriot Express flight available for Space-A. Other Space-A flights will be on large – and loud – military cargo planes, complete with five-point harnesses for passengers during lift-off and landing. Patriot Express flights also charge a $20-35 fee per passenger, so plan accordingly.
  7. Bring supplies for a comfortable flight. Consider taking a small sleeping bag, pillow, blankets and even a yoga mat if you think you’ll want to sleep during Space-A flights on large military planes. While some crews provide military-issue earplugs for the noise, you may want to bring your own or some noise-canceling headphones. Winter hats and gloves might help, too – some planes get very cold.

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If you’re ever unsure of the Space-A travel program’s current processes or information, Air Mobility Command will have all the latest updates to make your next Space-A trip successful.

Article written adopted from MilitaryOneSource, January 2, 2019

Travel Agent Training Video

Welcome to the world of travel! I thought I would create a quick video to explain our military travel agent program and how you can start your own home-based business.

The Travel Agent Online Training Program will teach you all you need to know to start a travel career. You will learn about the airline industry, ground transportation, hotels and resorts, cruises, tours, international and domestic travel, reservations and pricing, specialty travel, and more.  

This online program consists of three modules. You will first participate in a travel career development program, which will teach you the basics of the travel industry, followed by a second module in which you will study geography for leisure travel professionals, focusing on destinations all over the world that you are most likely to recommend and sell to your clients. In the final module you will choose the GDS computer reservation system you wish to study. We will help you to select the proper GDS system to best achieve your career goals.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Our limited for this week is five new agents so if you are interested please register quickly. The price is $200 after the promotion code and there are no other fees or ongoing costs.

Thanks!

Andrew, CEO (USMC Veteran)

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You can book travel yourself – but why would you want to? A Virtuoso travel advisor elevates every trip. They know how to get the best value for your time and money, and, thanks to their global connections, they can VIP you at hotels, on cruise lines, on tours, and more. With a portfolio of nearly 1,700 top hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more, Virtuoso represents the best of the best in travel.

A great travel advisor…

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A Virtuoso travel advisor can secure special benefits that you can’t get on your own, such as complimentary breakfast, spa credits, and upgrades at hotels. But they also see the nuances in every trip. From big-picture aspects (where to go – and when) to the details that matter (booking the hotel rooms with the best views, where to get the most authentic pizza on the Amalfi Coast), your travel advisor knows how to plan a memorable trip.

In bloom in Sant’Angelo on the Italian island of Ischia.
 
Photo by Photo by GoneWithTheWindStock/iStock/Getty Images Plus
In bloom in Sant’Angelo on the Italian island of Ischia.
 
Photo by Photo by GoneWithTheWindStock/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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…knows the world.

Just as you might use a financial planner, an interior designer, or personal shopper, it makes sense to entrust your most valuable asset – your time – to an experienced travel advisor.  The best advisors spend a lot of time on the road themselves – scouting out hotels, deepening relationships with tour guides, and finding the best restaurants and things to do. 

Watching the sunset over temples in Myanmar.

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A Virtuoso travel advisor understands what’s most important to you and your traveling companions. You may want to take a cooking class or a private tour, or you may not want to leave the resort pool! Perhaps you want to use travel to educate your kids, plan an unforgettable anniversary trip, or celebrate a milestone birthday with friends and family. Your Virtuoso travel advisor will have plenty of suggestions on what might work best for you.

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A great travel advisor will help you think creatively about where to go and what to do. Italy, France, and Hawaii will always be popular. But your advisor also knows the best ways, say, to see Chile, Portugal, New Zealand, and many other hot destinations – plus new ways to experience the places you’ve already visited. Together, you can plan your next dream trip or weekend getaway. 

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Camel ride in Egypt.

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