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Space A program provides holiday travel options

By Bob Hieronymus | Wingspread staff writer | Nov. 29, 2006

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The space available air travel program offers Airmen flights to the aircraft's destination when seats are available.

Although the Air Education and Training Command mission at Randolph warrants less
transient aircraft than an Air Mobility Command base, the various headquarters located here require support flights that often have open seats.

"One of the great privileges that goes with military service is Space A travel on military aircraft - and that privilege continues after retirement," said Carlos Davila, 12th Logistics Readiness Directorate passenger travel assistant. "I really enjoy being able to help people catch hops to wherever they hope to go. Some days we have a room full of people lined up for a flight and sometimes we go for several days without any available seats."

For a number of years, all seats on military aircraft have been controlled by the Air Mobility Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Mr. Davila explained.

"That's done to make the most efficient use of military airlift resources. Persons on official duty and official cargo always have first priority, but after those needs are satisfied it makes good sense to fill the aircraft," he said. "It costs just as much to fly almost empty as it does to fly full, and the aircrews are always happy to help people along."

Flights passing through or originating on Randolph only go to stateside bases. Travelers going overseas may be able to make connections for Space A seats at an east or west coast major military air terminal.

Retirees make up the bulk of Randolph's Space A travelers, Mr. Davila said. "I think its because they are often able to work with the uncertainty of scheduling seats to specific
locations," he said. "The important thing is for Space A travelers to be patient and flexible."

Requests for Space A seats can be filed with the travel office by active duty military members of any branch of service, federal employees, retirees and Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets for specific destinations as much as 60 day in advance. If no
flights are available that meet the traveler's needs in that time, they must file new requests.

Dependents must fly with their sponsors, Mr. Davila said.

The Randolph passenger terminal is located on the second floor of the base operations building. A recorded message about available flights can be found at 652-1854.

Requests can be filed in person at the terminal; by e-mail at www.randolph.af.mil and select 12th Logistics Readiness Division, then Space A Travel; or by fax at 652-5718.

Passengers should expect to go through the same baggage inspection procedures used at commercial air terminals.

For more information, call the passenger terminal at 652-5287.