Space A Flights

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Patriot26, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Patriot26

    Patriot26 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey everyone, my battle buddy and I are going to try and utilize the Space A flights over winter break. We understand that we can only fly CONUS and to US territories, and as cadets we are in the last priority bracket with retirees, but honestly we have no final destination and just want to go anywhere there are free seats. Have any of you guys/girls tried Space A, as cadets, before? If so, did you find it very hard to find available seats?
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    Honestly, I would think 2x about this unless you have a pocket full of change for a return flight using commercial travel or no time frame for return.

    In the 20 yrs Bullet was in the ADAF we know too many horror stories regarding AD members, let alone retirees or cadets. The variables are insane. You know you are the bottom of the barrel regarding priority. Planes brake down, alot more than you may think.

    If that plane doesn't take off, it means you will be in a hotel longer and renting a car longer too. It could be days before you get out. Granted, you could get out on time, but you need to have that WHAT IF? plan covered. 3 days in a hotel with a rental car, plus eating out is insanely expensive. Airlines are cheap right now, and you can go anywhere you want. 3 nights in a hotel plus a car and food you are talking on a good day 300 plus.

    Additionally, I get you don't care where you go, and I don't know where you are from, but I have to say McGuire AFB is not a hot spot in NJ (I am a Jersey Girl). It is in no-man's land in NJ, where you will need a rental car. Edwards is in the DC area,(live in NoVA now) but again you will need a rental car too, and the cost of a hotel could run you 100 a night for a so-so hotel in the outskirts, plus you now need to pay for parking, which is very expensive in DC. Expect 150 a day per person if you don't fly out on schedule. Kelly which is outside of San Antonio is not cheap either when it comes to hotels, food and rentals. I am sure if you want to go to N.D., it will be cheaper, you said you have no destination.

    Finally, unless things have changed you may need to show up 24 hrs prior to the AMC facility to sign up and than you wait until your name is called. It could be that flight or it could be the next.

    The flight is cheap, the cost that you may incur might not be cheap. Think about it before you go off on this route.

    Lastly, remember for the AF they have 2 times a yr that they do a PCS push. Summer (june/july) and Dec. I say this in case you think you will use the Q's for space A at those bases. You will be at the bottom of the priority list. You will have to accept the hotel room is a daily basis, and they can say goodbye at any time. Again why you will need a rental car.

    Have a plan B in place for wherever you go. Think about the details, such as hotel rooms and rental car cost. Take the time and make a plan so you will be covered.

    Just me, but I never got why someone would want to fly Space A. The hassle is just not worth it to me, I like knowing that I have a return seat for my return on a specific date, not worrying when I can get back home. I saw friends ADAF pay out their nose because they had to buy a 1 way ticket home or pay hotel/food/car for days as they waited to get on a S[ace A flight, spending more than they would have if they flew commercial in the 1st place. The Space A flight was not worth it when it came to my vacation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  3. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,669
    Likes Received:
    811
    Agree with everything Pima warned against. I would add that you would also have to plan for how you will handle the scenario if only one seat is available.

    Years ago, I did vacation this way a couple of times. Ran into every scenario Pima outlined. Been bumped at the very last minute (boarding) to a higher priority traveller. Paid out of pocket for unanticipated layovers. Had to buy a civilian return ticket. My strategy was not "I will go anywhere" as that never seemed to work. Packing becomes an issue. Planning becomes an issue.

    I tried to determine where the majority of flights went out of the particular Air Force base I was using and assumed that there would be more available seats for those destinations. There are also certain days that are loaded with more flights. It worked 1/2 the time.

    As Pima recommends, currently the U.S. market is quite cheap and there are deals on civilian carriers that make the decision easy.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Tgun

    Tgun Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    You might also want to check with your local ANG (Air National Guard) and/or AFRES (Air Force Reserve) flying units that have "big iron" like C-130, C-5, C-17, KC-135, KC-10 aircraft.

    I can virtually guarantee you will have better luck securing seats through an ANG / AFRES unit than with an active duty AMC (Air Mobility Command) base like McGuire (NJ), Charleston (SC), Travis (CA), McChord (WA), Andrews (D.C). With Andrews, they have an AFRES unit with C-141 aircraft (last time I checked anyways back in 2004 or so).

    You need to look up their Space A number, and if they do not have one, contact Operations to inquire on flights and general information.

    Many of the Space A flights for the ANG/AFRES are roundrip in nature. They fly out, then return to base (typically a 3-7 day trip), so your chances of getting a seat on the return mission is typically quite good (get to be friends with the Loadmaster, they will typically look out for you on the return and "bump" others over you guys (even if they have higher priority; at least that was my experience...). Remember, most of the crew on these ANG / AFRES flights also work full-time for a civilian company (airlines typically)
    so these "out and back" missions are quite common and normally run Wednesday through Sunday or Thursday through Sunday.

    Yes, I have traveled Space A numerous times:
    Charleston AFB SC to Minneapolis (round trip)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP (AFRES / ANG) to Patrick AFB FL (round trip),
    Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP to March AFB (CA) (round trip)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP to Kelly AFB (TX) (round trip)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP to Charleston AFB (round trip)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP to Maxwell AFB (AL) (round trip)

    The best one was to Patrick AFB. Was able to rent on-base billeting in a family unit which at the time was directly on Cocoa Beach. Shared it with a retiree. I rented a car and we did Disney World.

    As others have stated, be sure to have a backup contigency plan "just in case".

    Best of luck! :smile:
     
  5. Tgun

    Tgun Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Found some good information regarding CONUS SPACE A

    http://spacea.net/mediawiki/index.php?title=CONUS_Space-A_Locations

    Very comprehensive list of ANG, AFRES, AD AF, MCAS, etc., bases and contact information for Space A flight information.

    New DoD rules prohibit the publishing of Space A flights more than 72 hours in advance (FYI). :thumb:
     
  6. basilrathbone

    basilrathbone Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought ROTC students could only fly Space A while on training. Can they do it for pleasure travel?
     
  7. Tgun

    Tgun Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Non-contracted ROTC student= probably not.

    Can a ROTC cadet fly Space-A?
    a. Yes (but not your dependents), When enrolled ( I read "contracted" versus "taking" ROTC) in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program, on presentation of the following valid: Military ID Card and DD Form 1853.
    b. Category of Travel is Cat 6 and travel is authorized ONLY within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and the US. Territories
    c. If you have been commissioned but waiting for active duty then you are still Cat-VI (have your old Det Commander sign your DD Form 1853.
    d. On a related topic, Academy Cadet Graduates may be granted up to 60 days of non-chargeable leave in conjunction with their PCS and will travel in Category-III (CONUS-CONUS, CONUS-OCONUS, OCONUS-CONUS). Graduates will not possess a leave form, but the authorization for leave needs to be stated on their PCS orders.
    e. You must travel in uniform.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,545
    Likes Received:
    1,005
    As I understand it, as long as they are contracted they can fly Space A. In other words, if they are a college programmer who has not achieved Advanced Standing they may not fly Space A, (except perhaps for training purposes?).
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    kinnem, has it right as far as I know.

    Contracted: YES Contracted cadets get CAC i.d. which will be needed for the flight.
    Not Contracted: NO. They don't have issued CAC id.

    That being said I think USMC and I have illustrated that even AD members shy away from flying Space A.

    Theoretically it sounds great, realistically not so much.
     
  10. basilrathbone

    basilrathbone Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    I definitely agree with that. We've used it a couple times for some very awesome family trips but only overseas and never since 9/11. I'd rather buy a flight and have a flight home. However, I'm not 20 years old with 6 weeks off for Winter break or 2 months off in the summer. That colors my risk tolerance for sure. I know it would appeal to my adventurous mids, though. When I checked Tgun's link, it linked to DOD 4515.13-R which doesn't seem to include ROTC mids outside of training.

    C2.2.13. ROTC
    C2.2.13.1. ROTC students of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force at Field
    Training or the Naval ROTC summer training programs and competitions, on approval of the Field Training Commander.

    C2.2.13.2. ROTC students of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force during the school year. Travel may be on extended flights and must have the prior approval of the Military Department concerned. The traveling students must be enrolled and actively participating in formal ROTC and academic training during the school term in which travel occurs, and the flight must be in connection with this training. Students must be in uniform.

    DoD 4515.13-R, November 1994

    That's 18 years old, though. Does someone know of an updated Air Transportation Eligibility document that is more recent and shows if our ROTC mids can use Space A for leisure?
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,545
    Likes Received:
    1,005
    Don't know if this is more authoritative but from here:
    http://spacea.net/mediawiki/index.p...l_FAQ#What_are_.22Categories.3F_.28CATs.29.22

    from another area in the spacea.net site
    Of course Cat 6 is lowest priority, as it should be. Further it's defintely only contracted which is what the "advanced course" and "financial assistance program" imply... although the parenthetical statement above does help the "non-careful" reader.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  12. basilrathbone

    basilrathbone Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    ROTC mids are clearly eligible since they can use it for summer training. But do they still have to fall within the Air Transportation Eligibility requirements for the purpose of their travel? I know for dependents, we have eligibility but there are limitations beyond what are in the broad category list. Didn't that same website link to the DOD form for complete explanation of eligibility?

    Maybe there is an updated Air Transportation Eligibility document. I know the specific limitations have changed for dependents so maybe that linked form is out of date? Either way, it would be good for a ROTC mid or cadet to find that updated document, print it out and bring it with him in case there is any confusion.
     
  13. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
  14. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,669
    Likes Received:
    811
    Marist, I have always been impressed with your input and willingness to help on this forum. But helping 12 cadets fly from NY to Hawaii over spring break? WOW!

    Of course, it is actions such as those that make you and your unit stand out.

    Well done!
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    I had to chuckle at ROTC cadets can use it for SFT. This should illustrate even the AF prefers to use commercial when it comes to time constraints of being there by X date because they fly AFROTC cadets commercially to SFT.

    Marist wouldn't the cadets you sent be on orders? I thought I recall this was a ROTC event. If so, it would be different than the OP because they would not be on orders.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    OBTW forgot to say Marist you must be one dedicated AROTC instructor. I don't think they could pay me enough to not only fly Space A from the east coast to Hawaii with 12 college age students, but than to be with them 24/7 for a week.

    Than again, that might be because I had to do it with 3 kids from the east coast to Italy (and that was commercial):shake:
     
  17. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cadets were not on orders. They needed a DD Form 1853 and their Military ID Card. This excluded non-contracted Cadets unless they were in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve.

    It was a great trip. There were 2 instructors so were able to take turns supervising the Cadets.
     
  18. Patriot26

    Patriot26 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    From everyone's posts, it sounds like it could certainly be a difficult yet interesting experience. However, the quoted section above is exactly the information I was looking for. Thank you very much, sir.
     
  19. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    The only trips I have regretted are the ones I didn't take.
     

Share This Page