There’s a little known privilege available to active duty and retired military personnel that allows them to travel around the world virtually free. This perk is called Space Available, or Space-A, travel.
Since November 2016 I had been watching the flight schedules from several bases near us, my husband, granddaughter and I, to get an idea of some “regularity” in order for us to plan our trip. Other than us needing to be in London on March 6th to meet my brother who was joining us for his 10 day vacation we were very flexible on when and where we wanted to go.
I found that the base closest to us, McConnell AFB in Wichita at two hours away, has a pretty regular flight to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England weekly so we decided that we were going there first. Next we needed to decide when to go. Well, as I said before other than March 6th, we could go anytime. We were already going to Ireland and Scotland while with my brother so we decided we would try to catch the first flight available after February 15th and try to get to Germany or Italy.
Suddenly on February 7th there were two new flights added to the schedule, one leaving the next morning and one for Friday, February 9th. For the most part we were already packed with each of us carrying our own backpack for what we planned to be six weeks of travel. So with passports in hand we loaded up the truck and headed to Wichita on Friday for the 4PM roll call. After a four hour wait after checking in we finally boarded the KC-135 bound for England.
When it was time to come home we once again made our way back to RAF Mildenhall to catch a flight back to anywhere in the states. We waited nearly a week before there was a flight heading home. Unfortunately for us that flight was full so we caught the next flight out heading close to home, Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington. once in Washington, we shared a rental car with two other retirees who were heading back to McConnell AFB and drove home.
By using this perk we literally traveled round trip to Europe for FREE! Saving us nearly $4,000.00.
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