Space A Eligibility Extended for Family of Deployed Troops

Space A travel.

In a quiet-ish change that occurred on 9 June 2015, the eligibility requirements to use Space A travel within the Continental United States (CONUS) were extended to include the dependents of service members who are deployed for 30 days or longer.  This is going to be a great benefit for families who might want to travel during deployment and can use Space A to cut costs.

Many years ago, spouses and children were not able to use Space A travel benefits within CONUS except under very limited circumstances such as emergency leave and TDY for house hunting.  In recent years, the rules have been revised a few times to include dependents whose service member was deployed for a specified period of time.  This recent change, to 30 days deployment for eligibility, represents the most generous CONUS Space A benefits to date.

Dependents gaining their Space A eligibility due to service member deployment will be Category IV in priority.  Those requesting travel will require a memo detailing their eligibility, and a sample memo can be found at the AMC website.  This definitely requires a little pre-planning to have the eligibility memo before you start the travel process.

Space A is a great way to travel at highly reduced cost if you have the patience and flexibility to wait for available flights.  Before starting on your first Space A adventure, do some research to learn about the process so that you have realistic expectations.  The first place to read is the Air Mobility Command webpage and  There are also many smaller groups and forums that discuss Space A travel.

Interestingly, this change is one of the 15 recommendations made by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission Recommendation Assessment.  While the majority of the recommendations were about pay and health care issues, the final six issues are direct quality of life topics.  It is fascinating to me how the commission worked.  You might find it interesting to read about the different subjects they reviewed.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Mark

    100% disabled vets allowed? Would be nice but no support in the past.

    • HAWK

      100% DAV’S should be granted SPACE A, along with thier spouse’s. As most of them don’t have much more money then the regular troops. I tried this by contacting SEN. CORYN’S office in TEXAS and never got a answer?? So what else is new the only time thses people want you are when they are running for office.. What say you???????????????????????????????

    • Roland STEIBEL

      I am not sure about 100% disabled veterans unless you are on the retired rolls. Space-A travel can be very inconvenient at times. I once flew 11 hrs, from March ARB, CA. to Germany standing all the way, resting my head on a cargo crate to sleep standing up. Have also assisted retired, physically challenged retirees get their luggage on and off the plane. Getting up the ramps to the 3rd deck of a C-5 is not easy and sometimes, one has to climb interior rung ladders, hand over foot. Unfortunately, the air crews are usually too busy to assist but they do try and courtesy and a thank you sometimes goes a long way.

      • Dave N

        If you had to stand for 11 hours it’s not because you didn’t have a seat available. You would not have gotten on the plane without one.

        • Roland STEIBEL

          Seats were available on a KC-135 refueling tanker. However, they are the canvas seats and not too comfortable. Believe me, I stayed more relaxed standing up and using an inflatable pillow on top of a cargo crate. No complaints. Currywurst, pomme frits, and bier at club when we arrived in Germany more than made up for the inconvenience.

  • Linda Ferro

    Are Retirees and their spouses elidgeable?

    • Gene

      Retirees and spouse are allowed Space-A.

      • Bob

        But what catigory do retirees fall into (I’ve forgotten the catigories)? If active duty personnel on leave travel on Cat.3 & dependants of deployed personnel are cat.4, it sounds like retirees (who’ve served tieir time) once again wind up on the bottom of the CRAP pile. Any idea of the catigory list?

        • Rich Logan

          Not sure why you feel ‘entitled’ to this – Retirees have ALWAYS been at the same level – and you should feel LUCKY to be able to travel this way at all; I used it to travel to Korea for my brother’s retirement; took my daughter with me…for less than $30; imagine what it would’ve cost me to go commercial…

          • Claudette

            How were you able to travel Space A to see your brother and to Korea? What kind of documentation do you need and how can I travel to Korea? My husband is on his way there.

        • REtired SPaceAer

          Category 6

    • clement hartlaub

      I think Retirees who draw their retirement are eligible with a blue card and those who only have a red card and haven’t received there retirement checks aren’t.

      • REtired SpaceAer

        Blue card and red card can fly space A with dependents.

        • Dave N

          Actually red card ID (reservists) are very limited in there space a travels, conus and US territories only and there dependents are not authorized travel. They come eligible when they turn 60 and will receive a blue ID at that time. They then have the full space a benefit including dependent travel to anywhere there wanting to go within the regulations. (there are a few places where space a isn’t authorized except under very limited conditions and even active duty on leave cannot go there.)

    • Girlygurl

      As long as you have a blue card, yes you are eligible. You will be category 6, the lowest category.

    • ojie


  • Sandra Harris

    Is this for retirees and their spouses too?

    • Dale

      Retirees are Space-A category VI and are allowed to move anywhere around the world with their sponsor. Retirees may sign up a maximum of 60 days in advance. A 17 page AMC Space-A handbook exist and can be found using Google. Use the 2013 edition. The handbook also offers 45 FAQ at the end of the .

  • Anna M Castillo

    Are ex-spouses of retirees eligible?

  • Darlene

    We are retired military. Very, very hard to get space a travel as we are the last category to get a seat. Recently tried for 3 days, no luck from BWI.

    • Fred

      Why don’t they just open it to everyone? It’s about the way now.

    • Rich Logan

      A lot has to do with where you’re going, frequency of flights, etc. Going to Korea/Japan is EASY from the West Coast (or at least it has been in the pasts); best thing to do is do your research BEFORE traveling – and find out what your options are – and where best to fly out of. Sometimes it pays $$$ to fly commercially to another location – depending upon where you live – and fly from there…especially if flying overseas.

    • Girlygurl

      3 days! I volunteer at the USO metro, I probably met you. We have had category 6’s in the lounge for a month trying to fly Space A.

    • Chris

      It really is dependent on location and timing. I am retired and my wife and I flew nonstop from Guam to WA. It was a rare flight. The total available seating was over 50+ and only 6 passengers signed up.

  • Julious Holloway Jr

    Are Retires and their spouses elidgeable?

  • Enid Hernandez


    • Gene

      AAIK, not yet. Wish it were possible.

    • alx

      I was told by my CACO 10 years ago, that my young children and I could fly Space A. When I checked into it to actually do it, they told me he was wrong. That my (dead) husband would have to be with me. So, I’m not sure why your comment asks about “overseas”. Can widows/widowers fly Space A? And does this recent change apply to us at all?

  • Roland STEIBEL

    True, retirees have to be flexible to travel Space-A (Cat VI) but after all, who else has the most time to be flexible. My spouse and I have flown Space-A to Germany or Spain a total of 11 times in the past 15 yrs. Usually only one day delay in waiting for a flight. Just flew round trip this June from Travis AFB to Ramstein AB, GE on the exact days we wanted to travel. Incidentally, I am retired U.S. Coast Guard and I have never met another Coastie on a flight, in a military terminal, or on a sign-up list.

    • Gene G.

      I am retired with a red ID card. I retired from the Air Guard and I am 50 yrs. old. I work full time and my wife is 40. Can we both fly space A with our daughter to Hawaii?

      • guest

        I’m surprised that so many red card holders don’t know their true title. You are not retired unless you have a blue/gray card and are getting paid. You are in the ready reserve – not drilling or adding to your points – and you have the LOWEST priority of ANYONE! Your wife and daughter can NOT fly with you unless they ALSO have red ID cards.

        • Gene G.

          Thank you for your comment but my card says indefenent and my wife and daughter both have ID cards.

  • cheryl Brown

    Can widows fly in the states?

  • Jackie

    My husband died from a service connected disability and I am grateful for Commissary, Exchange, and MWR privileges. I wish I also had the privilege to fly Space-A.

    • R . STAGGERS

      What is MWR privileges?

      • usmaels

        I’ve been out a long time..but I think it means Morale, Welfare, and Recreation…but not positive.

        • usmaels

          With these privileges, for example…in regard to the ”recreation” part of it…you can rent various recreation equipment that is on most bases. Such as campers, boats, jet skis…the list is quite numerous and varies greatly from base to base…but it is an excellent deal. We used to rent jet skis for something like $75 per ”day”…where that is less or near the hourly rate many places. Same thing with ski boats. The Welfare part can also do many useful services..such as grants for emergency cash…such as utility bills, car repairs, travel money for funerals, etc. Or, instead of the outright grants which don’t have to be paid back…they also give significant loans. The Moral part largely is for entertainment provided free..such a s Movies, bowling and so much for. We have been helped by every aspect of MWR over the last 30 years…with time that were bad and good. If there is anything you donate to…you should consider donating to MWR.

  • Doris

    Can Spouses of retired Military fly alone or does the sponsor have to accompany them?

  • Charlene

    I am the widow of a retired service member. We were married 31 years. He is not here to fly with. Much of the time he served we had to for go vacations to meet the needs of service responsibilities. Now, I am retired, could travel and would wish to do so. Space A for widows/widowers would be nice.

  • Can Spouses of retired Military fly alone or does the sponsor have to accompany them?

  • Benjamin

    I am a blue card holder, me and my wife travel space A from Beale AFB Marysville, CA. To Dover AFB stay over night and the next day to _England, Italy, Germany. Once you are on starting manifest you will be not be bumped off, we have traveled for the past 7 years stay in Europe an average 30 days. From Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA to Hawaii, Johnston Is., S. Korea, Guam, Japan, Saipan.

  • Randy

    It looks like if you’re retired and on orders for 30 days your family can fly Space A. I haven’t seen many retired people on 30+ day orders…

  • forgottenvet

    I feel for the family and the service member trying to go Space A out of Rein Mein.

  • Elizabeth

    Can spouses of active duty that are stationed in S.Korea fly space A within the states while they are gone?


    I have a hard time with the fact that a Retiree does not have a higher or at the least the same status as spouse. My personal feeling, I think my time in the military was worth as much as a spouse. I doubt that a spouse was ever under many of the situations that I was exposed too.

    • Kate

      Mr. Gilmore, I would be surprised if anyone consideres a spouses time more valuable than a veteran. I suspect the logic is more that spouses are typicall using the benefit for more family reasons that are related to their current posting with their active duty member, and retirees are typically using it for leisure purposes. For example, I last flew space A from Europe to the US because we were stationed in Europe and we had several family issues in the US, and our budget didn’t support flying commercially.

      I’m not sure if this is accurate or right, but I suspect that is what the policy makers are thinking.