There’s good news for military hoppers: Space Available flights are back. The pandemic prohibition on passengers has ended.
There are still certain measures to meet before you attempt to hop a MAC flight, however. Learn more in our updated guide to Space-Available travel.
Space Available Travel Reinstated
AMC announced all passenger restrictions are now lifted as of April 22, 2022. Anyone qualified for Space-A travel can once again apply for passenger status.
Current COVID Restrictions on Space-A
Certain COVID guidelines still apply. AMC continues to mandate masks and full vaccinations for passengers.
Passengers must provide a negative COVID-19 test for U.S. entry, and other situations as outlined on AMC’s travel page. Limited exemptions apply only to emergency or redeployment travel.
COVID tests must also be within 3 days or less prior to departure. On-site testing is not always available. Passengers may have to secure their digital or physical proof of testing before arrival at their terminal.
What Is Space-A?
Flying Space-A refers to hitching a ride on MAC (Military Airlift Command) flights. MAC flights fly CONUS or OCONUS to assigned destinations on military missions.
Anyone who meets eligibility requirements can sign up to “hop” along on these flights. Military hops are generally free, or at very little cost compared to commercial flights.
Who Can Fly With Space-A?
Like all military benefits, there are certain eligibility requirements. Space-A travel is available to:
- Uniformed service members
- Military dependents (subject to certain qualifiers)
- DoD Civilian employees on official orders or emergency leave
- Reservist and National Guard members
- Veterans with 100% permanent service-connected disability rating
Other limited Space-A availability can apply to additional DoD-connected functions. Examples include entertainers, students, and contractors. Passenger hopefuls can check current DoD Instruction 4515.13 to see if they qualify.
Space-A Travel Catagories
It’s important to understand Space-A travel categories before attempting a hop. Passengers selected for a flight can be bumped last minute by higher priority passengers, such as Wounded Warriors or their family members.
The current categories are as follows:
- Category I: Emergency Leave
- Category II: Accompanied EML
- Category III: Ordinary Leave, Relatives, House Hunting Permissive TDY/TAD, MoH, and Foreign Military
- Category IV: Unaccompanied EML
- Category V: Permissive TDY (non-house hunting), Students, Dependents, PDMRA, and others
- Category VI: Retired, Dependents, Reserve and ROTC, NUPOC Candidates, CEC, Qualified Vets and Surviving Spouses, IDT or Annual Training status
Finances, work schedules, reservations, and other outside factors are not considered. It is the passenger’s responsibility to make sure they have the time and funds needed for travel.
AMC doesn’t directly manage airport schedules. Passengers must sign up at the applicable terminal gateway page.
There are also no guarantees for space available schedules. This includes takeoff times, passenger status, or arrival.
Flights can even take off but turn around to go back if required. Missions, safety, and other factors are always higher priority than passenger travel.
Flying Space-A to Your Destinations and Getaways
Space available travel is an amazing benefit for military members and their families. It can help them fly during last-minute emergencies. Or it can help them travel the world without spending thousands on plane tickets.
Passengers must stay current on rules and restrictions while using military hops. But a little flexibility will help you save big.
For more up-to-date information and news about military benefits, check out the latest articles at USMilitary.org.
This article originally appeared on USMilitary.org and was shared with permission.