Stateside 'Space-A' travel test extended

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, ILL. -- The one-year test to expand space-available travel privileges to family members of active-duty and retired personnel traveling within the Continental United States was extended, according to a Feb. 24 message released by Air Mobility Command's Air Transportation Division.

In the message, Lt. Col. Darcy Lilley, Chief of the Air Transportation Division's Passenger Policy Branch, said the extension will allow the test to continue while the Office of the Secretary of Defense completes its evaluation of the test.

Under the "Space-A" test phase, the family members of active-duty and retired military people are able to travel "Space-A" aboard military flights when accompanied by their sponsors, according to John Lundeby, AMC Passenger Policy Branch. He said the test does not apply to "gray-area retirees" - Guard and Reserve members who are retired, but are not yet eligible for retired pay and benefits.

Lundeby explained that in December 2000, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command outlined the proposed test as a way to improve quality-of-life privileges for military service people and their families. After reviewing the proposal, Defense officials approved the one-year test period.

"Prior to the test, regulations prohibited family members from flying space available within the CONUS," said Lundeby. "This privilege was available only to active-duty and retired military people. During the test period, dependents can accompany them."

To register for space-available travel, active-duty sponsors must be on leave or a pass and remain in the status while awaiting travel and through the entire travel period.

Additional Space-A travel and signup information is available through the Headquarters AMC Passenger Policy Branch Web site at http://public.amc.af.mil/SPACEA/spacea.htm. A list of passenger terminals and phone numbers can be found there.