Friday, August 4, 2017

TOP STORY >> Flying cheap: passenger terminal offers free flights

By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron Passenger Terminal offers a unique travel opportunity to service members and their families at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Space-Available flights allow authorized passengers to travel by Defense Department owned and operated aircraft after mission and equipment have been accommodated. 

After the cargo and mandatory passengers are assigned to an aircraft for a mission there may be free seats and sometimes those go unused,” said Airman 1st Class Amber Bell, 19th LRS Air Transportation journeyman. “Those spots are available to authorized individuals for use at a first-come, first-serve basis.

Although flights are not guaranteed, being aware of the requirements can improve the chances of getting a seat.

Active-duty, National Guard, Reserve personnel and retirees can fly with Space-A, but Defense Department civilians must have orders in order to participate in the program. Families of service members and retirees can also travel with their sponsors if space is available, but guardsmen and reservists may not bring dependents unless the member is on active orders.

“I think it’s great that military members, their families and retirees have the opportunity to travel the world at little to no cost,” said Tech. Sgt. Mark Czerwonka, 19th LRS Aircraft Services section chief and Space-A traveler. “It allows family members to get to ride on and see unique aircraft that military members see every day; my kids loved exploring the aircraft.”

Flights are made available three days before departure, but are subject to cancelation at any time. Active-duty, guardsmen and reservists are required to be on leave before being allowed to board.

Personnel accept emails, phone calls and walk-in requests for flights up to three days in advance, other bases may have different policies depending on their mission. The earlier a request is submitted for a flight, the more likely a seat will be available.

The following items are required prior to boarding the aircraft:

Military identification card

Orders for emergency, environmental morale or ordinary leave passengers

Unaccompanied family members of service members who are deployed 30 to 365 days require a letter verifying eligibility from the service member’s commanding officer

A passport and appropriate visas for overseas travel

DD Form 1853: Verification of Reserve Status for Travel Eligibility for eligible National Guard and Reserve members

“Make sure you ask questions if you don’t understand the process,” Czerwonka said. “Always have a contingency plan and give yourself extra time to get home.” 

For more information about flight availability, contact the 19th AW Passenger at 501- 987-3342. 

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