Monday, October 3, 2011

Space Available

Happy to get onto this flight bound for Osan AFB in Korea.
I'm hoping to get back into blogging every week.  September was a busy month, and its only bound to get busier from here on out especially if I start working full-time.  I have so many topics I want to cover that I better get a move-on.

Today's blog is about Space Available flights (also called MAC or Space A).  One of the many perks we have living abroad is being able to take advantage of these military flights.  Each family member is entitled to 2 EML (morale leave) flights per year.  We can fly to such places as:  Korea, Hawaii, Alaska, Singapore, Guam, Okinawa, etc.  We're very fortunate to live within a couple hours of two bases that offer Space A.  The most important things you will need to travel are:  EML orders (I got them drawn up from Justin's command) or not if you're flying in the lowest category, your passport, military ID, patience and  some faith.

I like the price for the flight.
My friend asked me earlier in the year if I would be interested in taking a Space A flight to Korea.  Of course I said yes!  So, the week before last, we ventured up to Yokota Air Base and attempted to get onto our first Space A flight.  We weren't sure how it was going to go since the typhoon had knocked out power to the AFB air terminal.  We still had hope since the plane we wanted to go on was still scheduled to fly out that day.  Its very helpful that you can call the air terminal ahead of time to hear a recording of scheduled flights for the week.  Of course you need some flexibility because flights are subject to change. 

When taking these flights you can email or fax your orders ahead of time so that your name is in their system.  This is advantageous since anyone flying in a lower category (we flew in category IV) than us, had lower priority.  The reverse is also true.  Anyone flying in categories I-III had higher priority than us.  This did cause a bit of concern, but we still checked in upon arrival to the terminal, and tried to patiently wait until roll call.  If they call your name during roll call, then you made the flight.  Luckily, we were flying on a large airplane that had extra seats so we were able to make it to Korea.

The trick is to make it back to your original destination.  Fortunately, we were able to get onto the flight back to Japan.  This isn't always the case.  That's why you need to truly look at this as an adventure, give yourself extra time, and do your research.  There's always the possibility that you may have to pay for a ticket to fly on a commercial airplane if you cannot return via Space A.

While I certainly enjoyed my time in Korea, I cannot wait to take a Space A flight with my family! There are so many places for us to you can't beat the price!

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