Space-Available Travel (Space-A Travel)
Benefit Fact Sheet
Space Available (Space-A) travel allows authorized passengers to occupy Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft seats that are surplus after all Space Required (Space-R) passengers have been accommodated. Space-A travel costs nothing but is allowed only on a non-mission interference basis.
On April 22, 2022, Paul D. Cramer signed an updated Memorandum canceling Space-A travel program category limitations due to COVID-19 and reinstating all Space-A travel program categories as defined in Department of Defense Instruction 4515.13, Air Transportation Eligibility, Change 6.
DoD Mask Wear: On DoD Transportation Assets & DoD Transportation Hubs
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask on DoD transportation assets (e.g., planes, water transport, buses, trains, taxis, and ride-shares) traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and indoor DoD transportation hubs.
These requirements apply whether the DoD transportation assets and hubs are located inside or outside the United States, but exclude ships, submarines, aircraft, and other tactical vehicles and craft in their operational environment.
Army Reserve Soldiers on drill status are eligible for space-A travel.
Army Reserve Service members Drilling are eligible for Space Available (Space-A) travel when they meet the following conditions: Service members must be in a leave or pass status when registering; Service members must remain in a leave or pass status while awaiting travel; and Service members must be in a leave or pass status the entire period of travel. National Guard Service Members have the additional requirement to have a signed DD Form 1853 in addition to their Military ID Card.
When not on Active Duty, authorized Reservists may fly within the Continental United States (CONUS) and directly within/ between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska). Dependents are not authorized to travel Space A with these members.
Dependents are only authorized to travel when accompanied by the Service member on active duty in excess of 30 days.
Reservations will not be made for any Space-A passenger. Travel opportunity shall be afforded on an equitable basis to officers, enlisted personnel, civilian employees, and their accompanying dependents without regard to rank or grade, military or civilian, or branch of Uniformed Service.
A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoDI 4515.13. The following is a partial listing of eligible individuals.
Category I: Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel. Transportation by the most expeditious routing only for bona fide immediate Family emergencies, as determined by DoDI 1327.06 and Military Service regulations. This travel privilege will not be used in lieu of funded travel entitlements.
Category II: Sponsors in an Environmental Morale Leave (EML) status and their dependents traveling with them, also in an EML status.
Category III: Ordinary Leave, Relatives, House Hunting Permissive TDY, Medal of Honor recipients, and Foreign Military. Dependents of Service members that are deployed more than 365 days will be placed at the bottom of the Category III list
Category IV: Unaccompanied dependents (18 years or older) of military members deployed for more than 30 consecutive days traveling under the EML program. Family members under 18 must be accompanied by an adult Family member who is traveling EML.
Policy update in regards to the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019”: This act provided eligibility for Veterans with a Permanent Service-connected Disability Rated as Total to compete for travel aboard Space-available passenger transportation, using surplus aircraft capacity.
Category V: Permissive TDY (Non-House Hunting), Students, Dependents, Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence, and Others.
Category VI: Retired, Dependents, National Guard/ Reserve, Reserve Officer Training Corps, Nuclear Power Officer Candidate and Civil Engineer Corps members. Family members (with a valid identification card) of retired members when accompanied by a sponsor.
Space Available Travel Priority of Category VI (6) Authorized Veterans with a permanent service-connected disability rated as total traveling in the Continental United States (CONUS) or directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Authorized Veterans with a permanent service-connected disability rated as total or VA-100% Disabled Veteran.
NOTES: 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.
Click here to use the Automated Space-A Email Sign-up Form.
Or mail or email your information to the AMC Passenger Terminal at your desired departure location. Email addresses are located here AMC Travel Contacts.
Space-A seats are normally identified as early as 3-4 hours and as late as 30 minutes prior to departure. Recommend you check with the passenger service center for the space available show time for your flight prior to departing the terminal. Be ready for immediate processing and boarding.
Space-A Travel is a privilege (not an entitlement) that is afforded to Uniformed Services members, retirees and dependents as an avenue of respite from the rigors of Uniformed Services duty and may offer substantial savings for your leisure travel plans. Remember there is no guaranteed space for any traveler. The Department of Defense is not obligated to continue an individual's travel or return them to their point of origin or any other point. Travelers should have sufficient personal funds to pay for commercial transportation to return to their residence or duty station if space-available transportation is not available.
Space-A travel is authorized to/from Continental United States (CONUS) and Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) locations, and within/between OCONUS theatres. All travel will be on a noninterference (non-reimbursable basis).
Space Available Travel is permitted, provided all space-required passengers and cargo have been accommodated. Space Available transportation is allowed on a non-interference basis only. DoD aircraft, including training missions, will not be scheduled or sized to accommodate the movement of passengers on a space-available basis. Space-available transportation will not be used for personal gain or for a business enterprise. No additional funds may be used or flight hours performed to provide transportation under the space-available travel program.
Unaccompanied Dependents of Deployed Military Members
Dependents 18 years of age or older of deployed active duty uniformed services members are eligible to travel unaccompanied when the deployment orders indicate the deployment is for 30 consecutive days or more. Dependents are authorized to travel for the duration of the sponsor's deployment. There is no limit on the number of trips. Dependents may sign up for travel no earlier than 10 days before the sponsor's deployment and are eligible to commence travel effective on the first day of the sponsor's deployment. Space-A travel must be complete by the last day of the military member's deployment.
Dependents will be authorized to travel Space-A in Category IV. If the Service member is deployed for more than 365 days they will be placed at the bottom of the category III list. This authorization is only valid for the duration of the deployment period of the military member.
Eligible dependents must present to the air terminal personnel a verification letter (sample letter) signed by the member's commander verifying the member's deployment. The documentation must be in the dependents' possession during travel.
Active duty Service members, National Guard Service members (drill, federal and state active duty) and Reserve Service members on drill status traveling under circumstances including (but not limited to) official Permanent Change of Station (PCS), Temporary Duty (TDY), or Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders are eligible for Space Required (Space-R) Travel.
Space Required (Space-R) Travel:
Space Required travel includes transportation on aircraft that is operated by an activity financed through the Transportation Working Capital Fund (TWCF); it also includes transportation on other DoD aircraft when reimbursement is appropriate in accordance with Chapter 9 (Support to Foreign Governments and Alliances), travel orders, Invitational Travel Orders (ITO), and other forms of travel authorization or approval.
A Service member must have in their possession a travel order/authorization, and identification card published or issued by an approving authority.
Once a Service member's emergency leave is approved, they will be provided Government-funded emergency leave for movement between CONUS and overseas, within overseas areas, and between overseas areas. The following options will be provided in the order listed to meet the traveler's time-sensitive requirements: 1) Government-funded travel on previously scheduled DoD aircraft; 2) Government-funded commercial transportation when DoD aircraft are not reasonably available.
Leave between Consecutive Overseas Assignments
Service members traveling with leave taken between consecutive overseas assignments are eligible for Space-R travel, as are their command-sponsored Family members.
Command-Sponsored Family Members
Command-sponsored Family of Service members are eligible for Space-R travel when issued official travel orders under conditions similar to the circumstances for which emergency leave could be granted to the sponsor.
Unmarried authorized Family members of Service members stationed overseas are eligible for space-required travel if they are full-time students under 23-years old attending a school in the US to obtain a secondary or undergraduate education.
Authorized Family members of a Service member permanently stationed overseas are eligible for Space-R travel if they are students attending a DoD-operated seven-day-a-week dormitory school.
School Children who are authorized Family members of a Service member and are participating in various interscholastic activities for which transportation is authorized from appropriated funds under DoD instruction are eligible for Space-R travel.
Non-Command Sponsored Dependents
Non-command sponsored Family members of Service members are eligible for Space-R travel when they are issued official travel orders under conditions similar to circumstances for which emergency leave could be granted to the sponsor.
Non-command sponsored dependents of Service members acquired in an overseas area during the course of a Service member's current tour of assigned duty in that area who are not otherwise entitled to transportation at Government expense are eligible for Space-R travel.
Close blood or affinitive relatives who are permanent members of the household and dependent upon a Service member when they are is authorized transportation of Family members at Government expense are eligible for Space-R travel.
Not more than two Family members (without regard to command sponsorship) of a Service member who is seriously ill or seriously injured and hospitalized either in the CONUS or overseas are eligible for Space-R travel.
Please see DoD Instruction 4515.13 for information regarding other individuals that may be eligible for Space-Required travel.
NOTE: For specific travel information please contact your nearest Air Mobility Command Terminal.
For more information, please visit the Air Mobility Command Travel Page Space Available and Space Required webpage maintained by the U.S. Air Force:
Air Mobility Command Terminals:
DoD Policy on the Use of Government Aircraft and Air Travel:
Space Available Travel for Reserve and Guard Members:
Leave and Liberty Policies and Procedures:
Space Available Travel General Information Handout:
Department of Defense Air Transportation Eligibility Instructions: