Ease stress of holiday travel with space-A

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Cantrell
  • 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron
The underlying theme of this year has been the economy as rising and lowering of gas prices, food and the unpredictable stock markets have left many families struggling to break even. 

Unfortunately, the prices of airline tickets are on the rise as well. For a flight during Thanksgiving week, the price of airline tickets through a commercial grade company from McCarran International to Baltimore, for a family with two children can, cost anywhere from $900 on up. That doesn't even include the $98 fee for long term parking of your vehicle. The cost can be overwhelming. Don't worry, the Nellis Air Terminal can help.

The U.S. military has combated this very issue with the Space Available Passenger Program. It allows eligible passengers to fly anywhere in the continental United States and overseas for little to no cost on a space available basis. Sign-up is as simple as an email or just a walk-in visit at the air terminal. This military benefit is available to eligible retirees, guard and reserve personnel, and active duty personnel and their dependents.

The process of flying on a Space Available Flight or Space-A is very simple. You just need to plan your trip, be flexible, patient and have a little bit of money reserved for emergency situations. A key thing to remember about the program is in most cases, the military sponsor must accompany their dependents to utilize this program. One of the most important steps in this program is signing-up or registration. If signing up via email request, please send to: SPACE-A.SIGNUP@NELLIS.AF.MIL with the sponsor's name, social security number, branch of service, flight category, number of seats requested and social security numbers of any dependents flying with you. If signing up in person, any passenger can visit the Air Terminal located in Building 809 right next to Base Operations normal duty hours are from 7a.m. to 4p.m. daily. Customers can also utilize the passenger self service center to sign up and check available flights at any time throughout the day. When asked what he thought of the Space-A Passenger Program, Master Sgt Rodolfo Palacios of the 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron said, "The experience was great. The process is very efficient and if the opportunity arises I would definitely fly with Space-A again!"

All travelers who sign up for Space-A remain on the register 60 days after registration, or for the duration of their travel orders authorization, leave duration or until they are selected for travel, whichever occurs first. Passengers may stay informed with outbound flights simply by calling the flight schedule recording at (702) 652-6099, or by stopping by the air terminal for an update. All military flights are subject to change without notice, so be sure to check the flight forecast periodically.

John Quandt, an Air Force Retired Lt. Col. said, "I check the Space-A outbound flight board often for flights to see family through the Midwest. When planning trips I always use the program as an inexpensive back-up plan to help plan my travel".

Were you aware that your family can fly in the Space-A program while you are deployed? Everyone knows that the Air Force mission must carry on throughout the year, but that doesn't mean your family has to stay home in your absence. All that's necessary is a letter from your Unit Commander listing your family members and their dependent identifacation card, and they can still benefit from the Space Available Program.

George Schultz, an Air Force retiree had this to say, "I've been traveling on Space-A since the Vietnam Era, and I've always found the system very convenient. I sometimes travel using Space-A three or four times a year visiting family and my favorite part of the program is the camaraderie between service members who are utilizing this program. You never know who you may meet and what experiences they've had".

The Space-A program is a quick and easy, no cost alternative to your normal travel woes. Passengers are handled with the care and excellence they deserve without the hassle of lines and fees commonly found at your local airport. By reducing the amount of stress on holiday travel, the Space-A program is truly a great example of the U.S. military supporting our community. Any questions can be directed to the Nellis Air Terminal Building 809, or call (702) 652-2562 for more information.