Space A in Guam – What you need to know to get off island and back on. Space A is an amazing perk but it does have a huge learning curve. Hopefully this will help to make it easier for your family to use Space A here in Guam.
I’ve been doing some Space A briefings here in Guam & have helped quite a few families have successful trips. I have been asked quite a few times do a blog post on it to share the info, so here it is 🙂 While the general Space A info applies to everywhere this info does have some Guam specific stuff.
I also have a free printable PDF file (pic above) that goes along with this info, you can find it HERE
Please know this is a LOT of Space A info and is certainly not as in depth as the briefings but it should get you well started on your Space A adventures. You can also join my World Traveling Military Families Facebook group if you need more Space A info or Travel info in general. It’s open to all US military families, retirees, spouses, etc.
What is Space A? – Space-Available travel is a travel benefit that allows authorized passengers to occupy DoD aircraft seats that are surplus after all space-required passengers and cargo have been accommodated.
*Please note that flying Space is a is privilege and not an entitlement. Having a good attitude and being polite to the staff goes a long ways. The staff cannot control if flights are delayed, cancelled, etc. Be kind, it’s free 🙂
Cat I – Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel
Cat II – Accompanied EML (travel with Sponsor)
Cat III – Ordinary Leave, House Hunting Permissive TDY,
Dependents with Sponsor deployed more than 365 days.
Cat IV – Unaccompanied EML (travel without Sponsor)
Cat V – Students, Dependents (Cat for travel w/o Sponsor & no EML)
Cat VI – Retirees
More detailed CAT info can be found HERE
Restrictions & Notes – May NOT be used for personal gain & travel not guaranteed.
Air Mobility Command Reminder: Please be aware that Space-A travelers must be prepared to cover commercial travel expenses if Space-A flights are changed or become unavailable. ALL ASSOCIATED EXPENSES ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TRAVELER.
*If you can’t afford a commercial ticket back or several nights to a week in lodging/hotels if you get stuck, then Space A may not be the best option for you.
EML – EML is Environmental Morale Leave. In certain OVERSEAS locations, living conditions are such that leave must be taken in a more suitable geographic and cultural environment to accomplish its stated purpose.
Guam Authorized Destinations: CONUS, Hawaii, Japan, Guam, & Korea
Restrictions: Can be used twice a year, 6 mo after arrival & 6 mo prior to leaving. Letter good for 90 days OR 1 round trip.
-More EML location info: www.spacea.net/images/pacom_eml_instruction.pdf
*Note if you plan to use EML to Korea you must ALSO have a Command Sponsored Space A Memo, this is an extra requirement for this location.
*Once you reach for first EML Destination you revert back to your ‘normal’ category.
Ex. Traveling with your Sponsor on EML as CAT 2 – Once you reach Travis
you are CAT 3. Leaving Travis you’ll be CAT 3 until you get back to Hickam,
then you’ll go back to your EML category of CAT 2. You CAN continue to Space
A in CONUS with your Sponsor.
– Traveling WITHOUT your Sponsor on EML as CAT 4 – Once you reach
Travis you are CAT 5. Leaving Travis you’ll be CAT 5 until you get back to
Hickam, then you’ll go back to your EML category of CAT 4. You CANNOT
continue to fly in CONUS without your Sponsor, you’ll need to fly commercial
from this point.
Where Can I go? – depends on what CAT you are and/or WHAT memo you have
*Traveling WITH your Sponsor (EML) – CAT II CONUS & OCONUS
CONUS – Contiguous US (48 States)
OCONUS – Outside the Continental US
This includes HI, AK, & US Territories
*Traveling WITH your Sponsor (Non EML) – CAT III CONUS & OCONUS
*This is the least restrictive CAT for Space A travel. But does require AD member to be on & use leave.
*Traveling WITHOUT Sponsor (EML) – CAT IV OCONUS to CONUS (First EML Location in US) No CONUS travel after arriving at first base
Can only travel from 1 CONUS base TO your OCONUS location, no CONUS to CONUS travel. EML starts when you get back to HI.
*Traveling WITHOUT Sponsor (Deployed) – CAT IV OCONUS & CONUS
You MAY travel CONUS with deployed Memo
*This is the least restrictive CAT for dependents without their sponsor because it allows you to fly CONUS as well.
*Traveling WITHOUT Sponsor (Non-EML) – CAT V OCONUS & CONUS
(Only to first Location in US) OCONUS – Japan, Singapore, Korea, HI
Space A Destinations from Guam – Common: Travis, Hickam, Japan
Hidden Gems: Singapore, Australia, Osan, & Alaska
*Note Japan can be difficult for those in Guam. While there are often flights to Kadena, Kadena typically only flies back to Guam 3-5 times a month. So this requires some good timing and plans to not break 😉 Also Guam occasionally flies to Yokota and takes PAX, but Yokota doesn’t often fly back to Guam taking PAX. I have seen a few flights recently but it’s not on a regular basis. So know you may have to pay to fly back one way commercially from Japan. Which is around $200-$300 per person.
*The Hidden gems also require some creativity to get back to Guam.
~Singapore goes from Yokota 3 times a week, so you need to get to Yokota to take it. To come back you’d have to go back to Yokota and try to get back either from Yokota or hop down to Kadena. The commercial alternative would be to take a one way commercial flight for around $200-$300 per person from Singapore back to Guam.
~Australia goes from Andersen every few weeks, however recently it hasn’t been taking many if any pax. The last flight I seen only had 2 seats. Also note the flights coming back from AUS are only once every 2 weeks and often get cancelled or don’t take tax. So plan to stay for 2-4 week or fly back commercially. It’s around $600 one way and about 30 hours to fly back on budget airlines from AUS.
~Osan shows up from Andersen occasionally and takes some pax. But Osan does not fly back to Andersen, it does to to Yokota. Alternatives would be to fly back one way commercially on one of the discount airlines like Jeju or JinAir.
~Alaska flights go out of Hickam occasionally and out of Travis fairy often. You’d need to get to either of those bases to get there.
Cost? – Free unless on Patriot Express where you pay a head tax per person. (aka PE, which is a commercially chartered flight by the military) . Optional box lunches are often available for purchase. Carry cash as not all terminals take card payments or systems can be down.
*There is NO PE here in Guam. Most common PE’s are BWI to Ramstein, SEATAC to Osan/Yokta, & Norfolk to Rota. The head tax is around $20-$30 per person. You fly on a commercial plan so it’s really a great deal.
*This is THE source of current flight history & 72 hour flight info! Some bases do a much better job than others of keeping their FB page & slides updated.
*Also it’s ALWAYS good to check the slides or call before heading out to the terminal, things can and do change quickly with Space A.
*Knowing how to read a roll call report correctly is very important, BWI has a great slide on how to do it HERE
Facebook Group Info –
World Traveling Military Families ~World Traveling Military Families is my travel FB group to go along with my blog. Open to all US military families & spouses including retirees.
Space A DOD Travelers of USA ~Space A DOD Travelers of USA is a great group for learning about Space A & asking questions. Please make sure to read the pinned post before posting questions.
SpaceAtheWorld ~Space A the World is ran by my awesome friend Shannon, who has literally Space A’d around the world twice now! She was recently here in Guam and got to hang with us for a few days.
Helpful Websites –
www.takeahop.com ~ Takeahop, this is a great website to use to sign up for Space A flights. If using the website you can sign up for 5 terminals at a time (you can do this multiple times). You can also buy the app for $7 (one time fee) and you can sign up for 30 terminals at a time. It also uses your email to send the sign ups, which is VERY important! Because if you arrive at a terminal to check in and they do not have you signed up all you need to do is show your email with the sign up date & time and they’ll add you to the list with that date/time.
www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/ ~Air Mobility Command Official Website, this is the best places to find all the official info about Space A. It has all the forms that you need, info on categories, etc. There is also a new sign up link for the terminals on this site, it’s so new that I haven’t received any feedback on it yet.
www.worldtravelingmilitaryfamily.com ~World Traveling Military Family is my blog
www.spacea.net ~This site is great for finding info for each of the terminals and printing the AMCGRAM for each terminal. This info is also included in the takeahop app as well.
www.poppinsmoke.com ~Poppin’ Smoke is a great site for retirees wanting to use Space A as well as general Space A info.
Signing Up – Travel WITH Sponsor sign up at Midnight day leaves starts. Without Sponsor you can sign up date you get memo. If your Sponsor is deploying you can sign up 10 days prior to them leaving, can leave as early as the first day they deploy.
Sign ups good for 60 days OR flight through terminal
Sign up at ALL terminals you ‘may’ use going & coming back
Keep a copy of the sent emails!
Once you fly through a terminal sign up again ASAP for route back
*For Space A all passengers count as 1 person/seat. There is no such thing as lap babies for Space A, everyone must have a seat. So if your a family of 4 and there are only 3 seats available you will not be selected for the flight.
*Don’t forget about signing up for your return flight terminals as well, that way you’ll be higher on the list when coming back.
*Once you fly through a terminal, it voids the sign up, and you need to sign up again after getting to your next destinations. EX. Guam>Hickam>Travis, once you fly through Hickam you need to sign up again for your flight back, you can do it once you arrive at Travis. But don’t forget!
Required Documents – Military ID, for all 10 & over. Under 10 need DOD ID or Passport. Use MilConnect for DOD ID. Kids 10 & over must have Military ID.
*While civilian passports are not required for US travel they do offer you more options for getting back to Guam. It will allow you to Space A to Japan if needed as commercial flights one way from Japan are MUCH cheaper. It also will allow you to purchase a flight that may route through one of the asian locations need here. I highly recommend always traveling with a civilian passport. Kids are good for 5 years and adults (including kids ages 16 and up) are good for 10 years.
*Getting a civilian passport here in Guam is fairly easy and you get it back quickly. We had to get our kids renewed here and we got them back in 10 days. Also know if your taking kids under 16 to get a passport both parents will have to be present. If your spouse is deployed there is a form they can fill out to allow you to get the passport.
Marking Self Present– Must be done to compete for flight, do at terminal up to 24 hrs prior. While there also verify that your on the list and sign up date/time is correct.
Roll Call/Show Time – This the time listed on the slide and is normally 2-3 hours before flight will leave. I recommend arriving at least 1 hour early but others recommend 2 hour prior. You’ll need all passengers present, required docs, luggage, & be ready to fly! Seats called by Cats from lowest to highest.
Manifested – Selected for flight! Make sure to get manifested through if you’re traveling to another base after! Book lodging if needed, find transportation, & commercial flights.
*Getting manifested through is VERY important if your traveling en route to multiple locations!
For Example: Andersen>Hickam>Travis
If you are NOT manifested through to Travis then when you get to
Hickam you would have to compete again against all the people there
to get on a flight!
This is also important if your traveling to a CONUS location further than Travis from Andersen especially WITHOUT your sponsor.
If your WITHOUT your sponsor once you reach the first CONUS
location (Travis) you are unable to fly Space A in CONUS. The
exception to this is if your manifested through to a further location
from an OCONUS location. So if you get manifested through from
Andersen to TX you CAN then still get on the flight at Travis to get to
TX. Note you will NOT be able to Space A back from TX to Travis, you’ll
have to fly commercially, but one way tickets are generally reasonable
in the US.
*You cannot be manifested round trip back to your location, the flights are one way and you’ll have to compete again for the return flight.
*While in the terminal waiting the hours before boarding use this time to book lodging, locate taxi numbers, etc. This will help to ensure that you get lodging & know what transport to use in the area. Also know that the flights in Hickam from Andersen often require 10-12 hour crew rest, make sure to ask at the terminal so you’ll know if you need lodging. The terminal in Hickam is NOT open 24 hours so you’ll have to leave during the closed hours.
Flying Cargo – Must have closed toe shoes! This is a requirement for flying Space A.
Dress in layers! The flights are usually cold.
Floors are cold, while you can lay on them a blanket is normally enough to prevent the cold. We take small camping mats that roll up and can be thrown into a duffle bag if we need to check them for further commercial flights.
Seating first come, look for outlets above seats.
Car seats can be used.
No running water in bathrooms, bring sanitizer.
Flights are loud, bring earplugs or noise cancelling headphones!
Some PAX offer boxed lunches but not all do, you can bring food. Drinks after security are OK.
Baggage is ‘usually’ 2 bags that are 70 lbs plus a carry on per person. However if you are flying commercial after the Space A flight keep those baggage limits & costs in mind.
Country Restrictions – Japan: Stamp from Customs off base upon entry & departure which require a taxi ride.
Singapore: no gum/knives/shorts. All members must have pants or long skirt.
Australia: need VISA before leaving Guam, this can be done online. It’s $35 per person and is good for a year.
Lodging Info – Use www.Spacea.net info & AMCGRAM, secure before leaving your location if you can.
Arriving at Destination – Use transport, head to lodging/airport, make return plan!
I hope you found this info helpful and that it’ll help you to have a successful Space A in Guam experience. Keep in mind Space A is not guaranteed, so be flexible & enjoy the journey so help have a positive experience.