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Thread: Flying Space-A

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    #1

    Flying Space-A

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    Hello! Kind of a reintroduction/advice post ha. I used to be really active on here about a year ago when DH was deployed. But a little bit about us he's currently stationed overseas, we decided it was best for my son and I to stay in our hometown instead of adding another year onto his time out there since he's not reenlisting.

    So here comes the advice part, my son and I are planning (because ya know nothing is ever certain) on traveling space-a to go see DH in a few weeks. Has anyone traveled this way? DH said one of his co-worker's wife used to travel from the states to Turkey that way and she said it was manageable. Already submitted all the appropriate info to prospective bases, just wondering if anyone has any advice about or any successful (even unsuccessful ha) stories to put me a little more at ease. DH has pretty much broken down how the plane will be but yet my anxiety still kicks in ha.

    On the positive note I could possibly be with DH in less than a month and I'm so excited to see him! My son and I went for Christmas and it was a really rough time for us when we came back. It feels like we're in the home stretch now with less than a year left of this craziness! I couldn't be more happy and thankful to see an end in sight and to be able to go spend the summer with him
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    #2
    I have never personally flown space-a but I have had friends who have done so a fair amount of times. Warning! If you positively have to be somewhere on time this should not be your first choice of travel. My friends experience has been all over the board. Flights are delayed, late, cancelled, changed ..... you name it. Remember the flights mission always takes precedent over space-a so there are a million things that can happen.

    All of that being said I have had friends who swear by it.
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    #3
    Summer (and Christmas) is the worst time to try Space A because there are so many other travelers, and in some cases there are PCSers who take priority. What category are you? The manifest people by category, so the higher the category, the better your chances of getting on.

    I know tons of people who have done (or tired) Space A. There are a lot of success stories, and a lot of people who never ended up getting out, or who ended up having to buy a commercial ticket one or both directions. It's great if your timeline is flexible. (Planes fill up, the cancel, and they divert to different locations.) It's great if you have the money to buy a ticket if it looks like you aren't going to get out, or if you can't get a flight home. It you are relying on it, that can be a mistake.

    Also, depending on the type of flight/aircraft, dress warmly. No open toed shoes. If you have good ear protection, bring it to supplement what they give you.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #4
    Villanelle is correct, summer and Christmas are the hardest times to fly Space A. So much also depends are where you are flying from and to as some routes are a lot easier than other routes. I have done it before, sometimes it works well, other times, not so much. You will be category V, which means only retirees are in a lower category.
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    My son and I flew Space A home from Germany for a vacation while DH was in Afghanistan. Summer and holidays are the hardest time to get on. We had it pretty easy leaving Germany, and got on the first flight out, no problem...but going back to Germany, we ended up getting stuck in Charleston's airport for about a week, and then took a flight to England, then a hopper to Italy, then took the train into Germany from Italy (which, with a 3 year old and several bags, was NOT fun). It was quite an adventure, and looking back on it, was fun and exciting, but at the time, it was stressful trying to keep everything together and keep my son busy and close by.

    Im so in love with you hunny. I know I have never felt this powerful of a love before, I have only thought it was possible for those rare lucky few. And now I think we have it. Or are we just now part of the lucky rare few? XOXO Love you hun. -DH 9/8/11
  6. Do or do not... There is no try.~ Yoda, Jedi Master
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    #6
    I took my three younger kids to Germany in July '14. I drove from Cannon AFB in NM to Charleston AFB to catch a flight. Once we got there, we discovered that no seats opened for Space A. Luckily, there was a flight leaving from Pope AFB, NC so the kids and I hauled butt to NC and got there in enough time to make a flight that night. There was only one other traveler on the flight with us.

    Getting back to the states required a little more patience. We sat in Spangdahlem for several days, waiting for any flight back to the states. We were able to get one in to Dover AFB, DE where we spent the night and then rented a car to get back to Pope.

    Having kid friendly snacks are a must and it's a good idea to bring a pillow for your child and a blanket.

    All in all, it was an easy trip. Just make sure you have the letter from dh's command, authorizing you to travel space a while he is deployed. Be sure to allow lots of travel time and make sure that you have enough to cover a TLF stay or a hotel downtown if a TLF isn't available while you are waiting for a flight to open.
    I'm not Lynn, but we ARE MSOS Best Friends and MSOS Twins.
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    #7
    DH & I went Space A in January. We were leaving Turkey. Turkey is where the rotator stops and turns around to head back to Europe. It's much easier to get on where the route starts. We had a friend who worked at the terminal and he said we weren't likely to get much further than Germany. Well the rotator had 3 Space A seats! We lucked out! We were the LOWEST priority to go. It was super LONG trip since we had to stop in Italy and Germany before finally arriving in Baltimore.

    Make sure you sign up ahead of time.
    "You will never completely be at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place."

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    #8
    Thank you all for the advice! We will be category V so this should be quite the adventure. Thankfully I do have a pretty flexible timeline, wouldn't have been able to try this at Christmas ha. DH is working on getting a non-command sponsored letter for us which I should bug him about again, but called the bases I've signed up at and we'll need it the day of.

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelsmom View Post
    My son and I flew Space A home from Germany for a vacation while DH was in Afghanistan. Summer and holidays are the hardest time to get on. We had it pretty easy leaving Germany, and got on the first flight out, no problem...but going back to Germany, we ended up getting stuck in Charleston's airport for about a week, and then took a flight to England, then a hopper to Italy, then took the train into Germany from Italy (which, with a 3 year old and several bags, was NOT fun). It was quite an adventure, and looking back on it, was fun and exciting, but at the time, it was stressful trying to keep everything together and keep my son busy and close by.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
    I took my three younger kids to Germany in July '14. I drove from Cannon AFB in NM to Charleston AFB to catch a flight. Once we got there, we discovered that no seats opened for Space A. Luckily, there was a flight leaving from Pope AFB, NC so the kids and I hauled butt to NC and got there in enough time to make a flight that night. There was only one other traveler on the flight with us.

    Getting back to the states required a little more patience. We sat in Spangdahlem for several days, waiting for any flight back to the states. We were able to get one in to Dover AFB, DE where we spent the night and then rented a car to get back to Pope.

    Having kid friendly snacks are a must and it's a good idea to bring a pillow for your child and a blanket.

    All in all, it was an easy trip. Just make sure you have the letter from dh's command, authorizing you to travel space a while he is deployed. Be sure to allow lots of travel time and make sure that you have enough to cover a TLF stay or a hotel downtown if a TLF isn't available while you are waiting for a flight to open.

    Just out of curiosity for you two ladies, what did your luggage situation look like? After not being able to catch a flight, lugging our bags around is my next concern. We've gone through commercial overseas flights twice and going through customs is a pain I'm dreading having to take a commercial flight to our departure base (maybe two) then another one back home from the base we land in coming back into the country. So any tips for packing really? (Feel like this is a random question haha) Every time we've gone I haven't managed to do the best at packing light but both times I've only taken one suitcase for the both of us so that's kind of good... even though it was a rather large suitcase haha. My son's almost 3 so I'm sure you both know how helpful they are when traveling
  9. Do or do not... There is no try.~ Yoda, Jedi Master
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzylady514 View Post
    Thank you all for the advice! We will be category V so this should be quite the adventure. Thankfully I do have a pretty flexible timeline, wouldn't have been able to try this at Christmas ha. DH is working on getting a non-command sponsored letter for us which I should bug him about again, but called the bases I've signed up at and we'll need it the day of.






    Just out of curiosity for you two ladies, what did your luggage situation look like? After not being able to catch a flight, lugging our bags around is my next concern. We've gone through commercial overseas flights twice and going through customs is a pain I'm dreading having to take a commercial flight to our departure base (maybe two) then another one back home from the base we land in coming back into the country. So any tips for packing really? (Feel like this is a random question haha) Every time we've gone I haven't managed to do the best at packing light but both times I've only taken one suitcase for the both of us so that's kind of good... even though it was a rather large suitcase haha. My son's almost 3 so I'm sure you both know how helpful they are when traveling
    Customs was relatively easy compared to the civilian equivalent. But I did find that having wheeled luggage was much easier, especially once we got to Dover (on a Sunday night and they didn't allow taxis on base) and the four of us had to walk a mile with all of our luggage to billeting. (That was the worst part of our entire trip, BTW!)

    As far as the packing goes, I just pinned a bunch of packing tip stuff on Pinterest and used a little from each one. I am not a light packer.
    I'm not Lynn, but we ARE MSOS Best Friends and MSOS Twins.
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    #10
    If you are going to be on unknown aircraft, make sure that you look at the baggage limits for all types of Space A aircraft. I believe some of them are even more limited than the general rules, IIRC. You want to keep as many options open as possible.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski

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