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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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For SCoA Military Retirees (and Active) - Did you ever fly Space-A?

It seems a good percentage of our SCoA members are Retirees along with some Active Duty members so I was wondering who has ever taken advantage of Space-A? Seems Neon spiked me to get thinking about planes.

For those who don't have a clue as to what Space-A or Space Available travel is, it is where extra space is utilized in Air Force planes for passengers (or even other services aircraft too). You can pretty much fly almost wherever the planes are going for free or almost free. (excluding warzones). You can go on a variety of types of planes, C-5's can carry 73 pax except for a few of them, C-17's, C-130's and the other cargo planes vary for the amount of pax they'll hold. You could even go on a C-21 (Leer Jet), C-12, C-9 (DC-9 but the seats are backwards and it is configured for medical transport) and some other planes too but those are the common ones.

So who here has utilized it? Was it a nightmare you'll remember forever or was it nice because you saved a lot of money. I know there are a LOT of horror stories out there and I have dozens of other people's stories to include my own. Personally I took lonely solo vacations (let the wife at home) and went all over the place. I've gone to Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Germany, and Italy several times using this free service for military. Seen plenty of retirees utilize it so I was wondering who here has. It's a decent way to travel, if you have the time and patience.



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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 05:44 AM
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Combine it with Military Vacations for Families from Armed Forces Vacation Club and you can save Lots of money on a vacation



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 06:01 AM
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Yup, the CONUS - Europe routes. Good places to go, but often you have to transit via Rhein-Main first and wait on another hop. Some places are now off the route or with reduced service - Keflavic is gone entirely, and you basically have know someone for a direct hop to Rota (one non-scheduled "Five" a week out of NAS NORVA, usually carrying "ninjas" and Special Boat Unit gear). But no problems if you are prepared, and AMC has lots of info and tips available. Last time we went (Lajes, Azores) it was $12 apiece for each leg ($48 total for two with "meals").

C-5A and KC-10, very comfortable; commercial charters cramped; C-141, KC-135 not too bad; C-130, you hafta wanna go bad unless it's a short hop. The 141s, and 130s are either too hot or most likely too cold and always noisy. Actually with a 141 or 130 you can often go aft and stretch-out full-length on the side sling seats and sleep (the loadmasters always have ear plugs to issue).
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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C-141's are a thing of the past now. They are finally out of the active inventory. Rhein Main is now a thing of the past too, Ramstein is the new intransit location.

That's funny about the "ninjas". A few years back they stuck Space A passengers on when I was passing through Rota coming home. I whined about it but they got lucky and switched our inbound to Dover to clear customs. We originally had 6 or so passengers in the back of a C-5 and had the whole plane to our cargo and us. All those kids made for a miserable ride home. I was a duty passenger that trip, just trying to get home.

Tips for anyone traveling Space-A. Stay away from sitting near the ladder to the troop compartment on a C-5 unless you dress warm. Stay away from sitting in the far back (actually towards front as the seats sit backwards). The far back doesn't recline and it is right next to the bathroom which really stinks, especially during the summer.

My fondest memories of Space-A were on a C-21. Had a whole Lear Jet to myself. Went from Okinawa to Japan for that ride. The other favorite ride was a C-9. Once again it was a ride to myself.

Tip: Befriend your Passenger Service Agents, they can make your life much easier. I know it seems like a lot of them hate their jobs but there are a few who love their jobs. Either way, they are the people who make sure you'll take a vacation with or without your clothes .



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bum-bling-B View Post
... Tip: Befriend your Passenger Service Agents, they can make your life much easier. ...
Yup on the agents. We were on our way to Souda Bay, Crete via Sigonella, Sicily. The agent at Lajes checked down the line for us and found big problems at SIG, so instead we went island-hopping in the Azores and had a good time.

Last edited by Old smart; 03-19-2010 at 09:32 AM. Reason: sp.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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It's a great way to go as long as you're flexible on where/when you want to go. You'll meet lots of wonderful folks who'll be happy to share their experiences and tips with you.

Regards,

Dan
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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Dancote is right.................

You need to have LOTS of TIME on your hands but it IS a great way to travel for little $$$$.

You MUST be VERY FLEXIBLE !!!!

I have flown on many C131's and even a P1 :eek:
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