General Information / Categories

Space A General Information

  • Space available passengers travel only after all duty cargo and passengers have been accommodated.  All available seats are released, but there is no guaranteed movement in the preferred time frame.  Have sufficient funds available to complete travel using commercial transportation if necessary.
  • Space available (Space A) eligible travelers may not use their privilege for personal gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Space A travel may not be used to establish a home or when international or theater restrictions prohibit such travel.
  • Family members must be legal dependents – spouses and children – of military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve members).
  • Space A seats are normally identified as early as 2-3 hours and as late as 30 minutes prior to departure. Recommend checking with the passenger service center for space available show time prior to departing the terminal. Be ready for immediate processing and boarding.
  • Travelers are assigned a category (see below) upon registering for travel and compete for seats within categories based on the date and time of registration. This date and time of sign-up are valid through to destination; a new date and time are assigned for return travel. Travelers may stand by for any available flight.
  • Space required passengers or cargo may require the removal of Space A passengers at any point. If removed en route, travelers may re-register with their original date and time of registration. Passenger agents will assign a new date and time to any country changed or added to an application. Names of all originating space available passengers who depart on a flight will be removed from all destinations. Travelers should be prepared to purchase onward or return commercial transportation, meals, and lodging.
  • Travelers remain on the register for 60 days or the duration of their leave orders or authorization, whichever occurs first.

If you have questions or comments, please contact an AMC supervisor or use AMC Form 253, Air Passenger Comment, available in every major AMC operating location.

Registration  Passengers may register for travel at Passenger Service Centers in the passenger terminal in person by fax, mail, or E-mail. Sponsors who register in person for family members traveling with them should present all required documents: Identification cards (DD Form 2,Armed Forces Identification Card), passports, immunization records, and visas when required by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. Travel documents must be presented when selected for travel. Travelers may select up to five countries. We recommend the “all” choice for the 5th destination so that the traveler may take advantage of unscheduled unique travel opportunities.

The following documentation is required. Please have them ready for review when selected for travel:

  • Active Duty Uniformed Services Member (includes National Guard and Reserve members on active duty in excess of 30 days and Cadets and Midshipmen of the U.S. Service Academies): DD Form 2 (Green), US Armed Forces ID Card (Active), Form 2 NOAA (Green), Uniformed Services ID and Privilege Card (Active), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Green), US Public Health Service ID Card (Active), and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
  • Retired Uniformed Service Members: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 NOAA (Blue), Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
  • National Guard and Reserve Members:   Authorized Reserve Component Members (National Guard and Reserve) of the Ready Reserve and members of the Standby Reserve who are on the Active Status List:  DD Form 2 (Red), Armed Forces of the United States ID Card (Reserve) and DD Form 1853, Authentication of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility.
  • Retired Reservists Entitled to Retired Pay at Age 60: DD Form 2 (Red) and a notice of retirement eligibility as described in DoD Directive 1200.15. If the automated DD Form 2 (Red) has been issued, the member is registered in his or her service personnel system as a Reserve retiree entitled pay at age 60, and a notice of retirement is not required.
  • Retired Reservists Qualified for Retired Pay: DD Form 2 (Blue), US Armed Forces ID Card (Retired), DD Form 2 NOAA (Blue), Uniformed Services ID Card (Retired), or PHS Form 1866-3 (Blue), US Public Health Service ID Card (Retired).
  • On Active Duty for 30 Days or Less: DD Form 2 (Red) and orders placing the Reservist on active duty and a valid leave authorization or evidence of pass status.
  • ROTC, Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC), and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Members: When enrolled in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled in the financial assistance program: DD Form 2 (Red) and DD Form 1853.
  • Family Members of Uniformed Services Members: DD Form 1173, United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card.
  • EML Travelers: Travel orders issued by the Unified Command. Participants of the EML program may take no more than two trips per year and may not be taken within 6 months of the beginning or end of the service.

Categories of Travel The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals and their category of travel.  A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD 4515.13-R.

Category 1- Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel Transportation by the most expeditious routing only for bona fide immediate family emergencies, as determined by DOD Directive 1327.5 This travel privilege shall not be used in lieu of a funded travel entitlement.

  • Uniformed Services members with emergency status indicated in leave orders.
  • U.S.citizen civilians stationed overseas and employees of the Uniformed Services/ Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) activities.
  • Dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor.
  • Non-command sponsored dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services, residing overseas with the sponsor, one-way to the emergency destination.
  • Dependents, command sponsored of :
  • U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Uniformed Service,
  • U.S. citizen civilian paid by the NAF stationed overseas, or
  • American Red Cross full-time paid personnel serving with a DOD Component overseas.

Category 2 – Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave (EML) status and their dependents traveling with them, also in EML status.  “Sponsors” includes:

  • Uniformed Services Members.
  • U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Army Forces who are eligible for Government-funded transportation to the United States at tour completion (including NAF employees).
  • American Red Cross full-time, paid personnel on duty with DOD Component overseas.
  • USO professional staff personnel on duty with the Uniformed Services.
  • DODDS Teachers during the school year and for Employer-approved training during recess periods.

Category 3 – Ordinary Leave, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor Holders, Foreign Military, and other.

  • Uniformed Services members in a leave or pass status.
  • Reserve components on active duty, in leave or pass status.
  • Dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services when accompanied by their sponsor in a leave status.
  • Uniformed Services members traveling under permissive TDY orders for house hunting incident to a pending PCS.
  • One dependent may accompany a Uniformed Services member.
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their dependents when accompanied by their sponsor.
  • Foreign cadets and midshipmen attending U.S. Service academies, in a leave status.
  • Dependents of foreign exchange Service members on permanent duty with the Department of Defense when accompanied by their sponsor.

Category 4 – Unaccompanied Dependents on EML and DODDS Teachers on EML During Summer.

  • Dependents traveling under the EML Program, unaccompanied by their sponsor.
  • DODDS teachers of dependents accompanied or unaccompanied traveling under the EML Program.

Category 5 – Permissive TDY (Non-House Hunting) Students, Command Sponsored Dependents.

  • Dependents (children) 18-23 years of age who are college students attending in residence at an overseas branch of an American (U.S) university located in the same overseas area in which they reside, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor.
  • Command-sponsored dependents stationed overseas with their sponsor are permitted to travel unaccompanied to and from the nearest overseas military academy testing site to take scheduled entrance examinations for entry into any of the U.S. Service Academies.
  • Command-sponsored dependents of Uniformed Services members accompanied or unaccompanied who are stationed overseas

Category 6 – Retired, Dependents, Reserve, ROTC

  • Retired Uniformed Services members
  • Dependents of retired Uniformed Service members, when accompanied by their sponsor.
  • Dependents, command sponsored, stationed overseas with their sponsor are permitted unaccompanied travel to the U.S. or enlisting in one of the Armed Forces when local enlistment in the overseas area is not authorized. If an applicant for Military Service is rejected, return travel to the overseas area may be provided under this eligibility.
  • National Guard/Reserve component members and authorized Reserve component members entitled to retired pay at age 60 (gray area retirees) have limited space a travel.
  • Newly commissioned ROTC officers who are awaiting the call to extended active duty.


  1. Ryan C. Tate on 30 Aug 18 at 1414

    I am retired military, and my wife and I live in North Carolina. We are looking to travel Space A to Hawaii to visit our Daughter and Son-In-Law. If you know, could you tell me where I would fly to from North Carolina to get to Hawaii.

    • UJ on 30 Aug 18 at 1526

      I can do even better than that. I can send you a link that will let you see which locations normally fly to Hickam, in order from the most frequent to the least and where Hickam normally flies, same order. Remember though, no Space-A flight is guaranteed and be sure to sign up at least 40-50 days before you plan to travel. You will still need to check the schedules either on-line or call (if they don’t have an on-line schedule). All the contact information can be located within this blog. After a quick look, it doesn’t look like you will see too many flight going from the North Carolina area straight to Hickam. I suggest, if you can’t flight a straight through flight, that you get to Travis AFB CA. They usually have many flights heading to Hickam.

  2. T.Neves on 01 Mar 18 at 0647

    Thank you for this awesome page. We are civilians on dual orders that just PCSed to Yokosuka, Japan. My husband’s grandmother passed away and we are trying to find a way to get our family of 4 home to Hawaii for the funeral on April 7. We have initiated a case file with the Red Cross in hopes of getting category 1. Any other tips, suggestions? I think Yokota flies out to Hawaii? Other than that, this whole Space A process is very new to us. Thank you.

    • UJ on 05 Mar 18 at 1356

      You seem to be doing the right thing. Yes, Yokota does fly to Hickam. I’ve never been on a Cat 1, but from what I understand, on the way back home you will not be Cat 1, but your regular Cat, whichever that one is for you. Yokota’s Passenger Terminal page:

  3. cortchie welch on 22 Sep 17 at 0758

    hello. i’m af retired. there’s a certain aspect of space-a travel that i have never been able to understand or figure out. that aspect is the return trip back to your home station/residence. with your experience and knowledge of space-a, which is the more practical event to happen, regarding the return trip back to your original destination: getting a space-a flight or flying back commercially?

    for example, from peterson afb, i get a space-a flight to joint andrews afb. when i land at andrews, what do i need to get back to peterson? thanks

    • UJ on 03 Nov 17 at 1448

      Assuming that Peterson AFB had flights to Andrews AFB and vice versa, just sign up at Andrews as you did at Peterson. If you are not staying long, and will be within a 60 day period (from first sign up), then you can sign up at both locations at the same time.
      Sorry it took me so long to answer. I’ve been on vacation and just got home a couple of days ago.

  4. Leslie on 01 Sep 17 at 0447

    Hi. Great info here! I’m dependent spouse of retired navy, living in Japan under husband’s Status of Forces Agreement as a GS employee, stateside hire. What category would we fall under and may I travel without my husband since we’re stationed overseas?
    I loved traveling Space-A when we were stationed overseas and he was still active duty.

    • UJ on 01 Sep 17 at 1119

      Traveling with your husband you would be a Cat 6, so traveling when the kids are all in school is the best time to travel. Since he is retired you cannot travel without him. While he was still active duty you could have traveled within the Pacific theater, but not once he is retired. Here is a list of the travel categories: I’m pretty sure that some GS employees stationed at some places overseas are allowed Space A travel at times. Please ask at your local passenger terminal, at Kadena for Okinawa and most likely Yokota for mainland Japan unless you are closer to Misawa.

  5. Susan hill on 24 Apr 17 at 2055

    Hello my daughter is a midshipman at the US Merchant Marine Academy. I realize above it says they qualify, I just wanted to make sure the clause didn’t mean just NAvy Academy since USMMA is different. And which form would she need?

    • UJ on 25 Apr 17 at 1105

      Since I have been talking to you on Messenger about this I will just say, for other viewers, that you should contact a passenger terminal representative to find out for sure. If I had to guess, I’d say that if she has an ID card, then she is eligible. The passenger terminal would also be able to tell you if any other forms, besides the ID card is required.

  6. Elena Montes on 11 Dec 16 at 1655

    If my husband is a retired 100% disabled Veteran and I am his caregiver, is there anyway I can fly Space A by myself.

    • UJ on 12 Dec 16 at 1301

      No. In fact if he doesn’t have the blue id card, he probably can’t fly either. Also even the spouses of non-disabled, retired veterans cannot fly alone.
      Check questions #1, #3 and #8 under Space A Eligibility:

  7. Armina on 22 Oct 16 at 0501

    Could Space A be use for personal purposes (ex. Vacation) If so, would that be considered Cat. 5?

    • UJ on 22 Oct 16 at 0859

      Yes you can use Space A for personal purposes, that’s what it is for. If it was military related, you wouldn’t be Space A, you’d be Space R (Space Required). All categories are for personal use it just depends on your status as to which category you are assigned. The page that you were on when you asked this question explained each category and how each person is categorized. What your association with the military is, is mostly the determining factor. What is your association with the military? I’ll help you narrow it down so you can read up on your category and what you need to do to fly. It seems hard when you haven’t done it yet, but it’s actually quite simple.

  8. Nelson Lorezca on 20 Mar 16 at 0555

    Steven, I’ve done that route so many times. Just head over from McChord to McGuire or Dover and monitor which terminals offer a lot of flights and seats. They both terminal goes Ramstein and Mildenhall. And often used C17 with 40 plus seats. And if no luck on those two terminals, you can also monitor BWI PE flight which is scheduled 2-3 times per week. And if you think you would want to catch that, do a one-way car rental and drive over, check and see if you can find fellow space A pax that you can share cost, other wise you’ll be on your own. Coming back will be just the reverse from Ramstein to any point in USA.

  9. Neil on 24 Aug 15 at 0120

    Is an adult son of a retired USN officer eligible for Space-A?
    I thought there was an age cap, or maybe *dependents* only, but Wikipedia says “family”.

    • UJ on 24 Aug 15 at 0809

      Do you have a valid military ID card? If so, for some reason, then you are probably eligible. I don’t know of any reason why you should have one though already being an adult. Even if you do have one, you must travel with the retiree. Even the retiree spouses (and dependent children) must fly with the retiree and if the retiree dies, that spouse (or any dependent children) are no longer eligible. Does this sufficiently answer your question?

  10. Danli Samonte on 13 Jul 15 at 0649

    Any flight leaving out of Tinker anytime soon?

    • UJ on 13 Jul 15 at 0816

      I have no clue. They do not have an online schedule so you would have to contact them to get that information. By joining our free Space A forum for Tinker, you would have all that contact information and any insight on other Space A information that can be provided by the other members.
      Of course the contact information is also on this site, but in the forum you’d have more people with more experience to ask questions.

  11. Patricia Allen on 29 Jun 15 at 1823

    I am widow of a deceast A F Chief Master Sgt. and I am National Guard Vet. Can I fly space A.

  12. Doug on 22 Jun 15 at 0221

    Trying to get from nasni(north island). There number is also just recordings. Just want to find how long the list is for going to Hawaii. Any suggestions?

    • UJ on 22 Jun 15 at 0837

      I’ve never been to North Island so I can’t tell you how the personnel there are for phone numbers. Where are you coming from again? Did you know that Travis AFB in Sacramento flies to Hawaii even more than North Island? If you are below a Cat 3, it’s a good bet that you could be stuck for awhile this time of year and that the list for Hawaii is long at all locations.

  13. Doug on 22 Jun 15 at 0217

    how does one find out if they r on list at hickam terminal.i tried their phone no. But just recordings and pressed 7 to speak to a rep. But no one answers. I just want know if they received my signup request. Help!

    • UJ on 22 Jun 15 at 0834

      If you sent it to the correct place, don’t worry about contacting them. Just bring a copy of the e-mail or be prepared to show them on-line that the e-mail was sent to them. As long as it is the correct address, they will honor what you show them. I have had to do that twice and it was not a problem. Many others tell me that they have had to do the same thing. I’ve only been to Hickam a couple of times, but I know that when they do not have a flight coming in soon, they only have 1 person working the desks. That person usually deals with the people that are there in person, before answering the phone. That could be what’s going on there If you just have to know, keep trying.

  14. Rae on 25 May 15 at 1346

    It is my understanding that my husband (active duty on leave) cannot sign up/register for a flight until his first day on leave. Is this correct, if so, can I (his dependent) sign us up/register before his first day of leave? I do not mean to actually travel before his leave starts but just to register. Thank you.

    • UJ on 25 May 15 at 1351

      That is correct. Active duty must wait until the leave starts before signing up for Space A. I believe most people will do that at 0001 of the first day of their leave to try to get a little jump on it.
      Sure you can sign up for him, if you have any paperwork done (required if traveling out of theater without spouse) and you also will be at a lower priority than he is. Instead of a CAT III you most likely will be a CAT V. I see no advantage in that, but if you figure one out, please let me know.

  15. Steven Frey on 21 Apr 15 at 1123

    I am retired Navy heading to the EU. I am coming from WA state
    For contingency purposes I may need to travel between Dover, McGuire, and BWI.
    What are the best/cheapest ways to travel between these bases?

    • UJ on 21 Apr 15 at 2139

      I’m afraid I do not know that answer. However there is a free Space A forum that should be able to answer that for you. In fact, I’m sure someone there can. It’s actually the site that inspired me to do this site. – And we have a free forum for all the major Space A location and even some for some of the less major ones.

Leave a Comment

Captcha Plus loading...