Thursday, September 18, 2008

Space-A

I have thought of using Space-A travel before, that is, flying on military flights where there is space available for passengers, but was never quite able to figure out how to go about doing so. A few weeks ago at a BBQ, a Navy retiree filled me in on some useful information, and I found that getting signed up and learning more was a simple visit to my local Air Force Base. Thinking that the passenger terminal would be closed over the weekend and holidays, I went in the day after Labor Day to get myself signed up and learn more.

It was easy. Show them my military ID card and I go on the list for 60 days. The sooner I know I want to go somewhere and can sign up, the better my chances for going. I was then given a sheet with telephone numbers for bases all over the world and told to call ahead to get on their lists. With a dark week (read: no hours) coming up at work, I signed myself up and made a mental note to stop back by a couple of days before I wanted to fly out. I was told that if I came in person, I could get flight information for the next 72 hours.

On Monday I stopped by after work. The next flights that looked to get me close were headed to California, but I was told they would be a good bet because the base there acts as a hub. I had to work Tuesday, so I wrote down the info for Wednesday and went home, thinking that would be the earliest I would have a chance to get out.

Tuesday I stopped by again, just to see if there was anything new. There was. A direct flight, and if I wanted to make it, I would need to be back ready to go in 3 hours. Good thing I travel light, I was able to finish up work stuff, get packed, and go see my boyfriend before heading back to base to see if I would make the flight. Of course, it helps that the base is only 15 minutes away. About half an hour after getting there I was told I would fill the 5th and final spot available on the plane. When I was handed my ticket, I was told not to go anywhere, we were loading shortly. The plane was meant for take-off an hour after the seats had been assigned.

Now for the other part of Space-A: it is unlikely you will be on a plane meant to carry passengers. I rode on a C17. It was full of cargo. Hence the reason for only taking 5 additional people.
(not the plane I was on, but I pic I found online)

I arrived at Ft. Lewis (near Tacoma, WA) at about 5am local time. Made it to my Dad's house a few hours later, and now I'll be here for about a week visiting family and friends. I think next time I might see about traveling out of the country. That would be fun, but I probably need to save some cash first.

2 comments:

alw_ays said...

totally cool, and fun, and sounds easy. Take some pics, if you can.

Little Red said...

Weird, how many times did we see those monsters fly overhead? It would be even weirder if bro was your loadmaster...