So You Want to Fly Space-Available on a Military Hop?

As a child of the Navy (with half my relatives in the Navy or other armed forces), I spent a lot of my time on bases growing up. When my father was on active duty, our family of five seized the chance to fly Space-A several times, including trips to California, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Germany, and Italy – and our flights were totally free! Well, one flight from Germany to Baltimore on a chartered plane did cost $10 per ticket.

Here are some tips to make it work for you and yours.

What is Space-Available?

As the name implies, space-available is the empty space in a military flight. For instance, if a bunch of sailors are being flown to Hawaii, but not enough to fill the whole plane, space-available is the extra seats that could be filled.

Where to Look for Flights

If you want to fly Space-A with any sort of predictability, you need to be going to a place with plenty of bases and activity. Ramstein, Germany, is one of the best locales in Europe, with frequent daily trips between there and the States. If you want to go somewhere else in Europe, you’ll have to travel to and from the base.

To see what flights are available, you’ll have to do some digging. My father kept a detailed Excel spreadsheet of people to call and websites to check, but the information goes out of date fast. Dig around for things like Facebook pages, find the base you want and call their contact, or get on the forums.

igorstevanovic / Shutterstock

How it Works

As mentioned in the last point, the regulations for this process change every year. To verify what you need to do, check with your contacts on base in the year you are traveling. Check out this website for some official guidance on what you’ll need to prepare before you go.

Straight 8 Photography / Shutterstock

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