Space-A Travel Comes to Bradley
By Capt. Bryon M. Turner, Public Affairs Officer, 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published March 13, 2009
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- The Bradley Air National Guard Base's small air terminal is now open for business providing access to space available air travel aboard Department of Defense aircraft.
"The Space-A program is an excellent part of any military member's benefits," said Tech Sgt. Christopher D. Fanelli, air transportation craftsman, 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. "We will do our best to help members take full advantage of the opportunities it provides."
Although the terminal has yet to process any Space-A passengers, "We've had numerous calls from around the country expressing interest in our terminal and the service we provide," said 2nd Lt. Cheryl L. Pilletere, installation deployment officer, 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. "We're already helping put Bradley on the map."
The terminal is physically little more than an information counter, security equipment and some folding chairs at the moment, but long term plans include the addition of comfortable furniture and television sets featuring arrival and departure times and entertainment for the passenger waiting area, said Pilletere.
"The terminal is still a work in progress," said Fanelli. "But we're doing the best we can to provide amenities to our customers with what we have."
Despite the current condition of the terminal, the potential for space available travel opportunities is plentiful, said Fanelli.
"Most of our planes leave Bradley with empty seats," said Fanelli. "Their missions often require them to depart here with little or no passengers so they have room to pick folks up at other locations. This means the potential for Space-A is high."
The unit's C-21s fly frequent missions to the Washington D.C. area, Virginia and Illinois, but flights to Key West, Texas and other locations have occurred when the mission calls, said Fanelli.
"It may seem like our aircraft don't go to many choice locations," said Fanelli. "But we go to larger bases that can act as hubs and provide you with additional Space-A opportunities across the nation and the globe."
The potential for space available travel aboard other transient DOD aircraft is possible as well, said Fanelli. But there are some things all space available travelers should know.
"Everyone needs to be aware that Space-A flights are not guaranteed round trips," said Fanelli.
According to the Air Mobility Command Web site, space available passengers travel only after all duty cargo and passengers have been accommodated. All available seats are released, but there is no guaranteed movement in the preferred time frame.
"You need to be able to get yourself home with your own financial means should your Space-A situation change," said Fanelli. "Ultimately, the pilots and aircrew have the final say on Space-A, and their mission requirements come first."
Space available travel requires passengers to travel light, especially aboard C-21s. A 30 pound bag limit per passenger is strictly enforced. Other guidelines exist for passengers aboard other DOD aircraft.
Traditional guard members and military technicians can travel throughout the continental United States only, unaccompanied by their civilian dependents.
Active duty members, including members on Active Guard Reserve status, and retirees currently collecting their retirement benefits can travel outside continental United States and can bring qualified dependents.
As always, security is critical. All federal laws that apply to commercial air travel also apply to space available flights aboard DOD aircraft.
"Don't bring anything to your Space-A flight that you wouldn't bring with you to the airport," said Fanelli.
"We follow the same guidelines they do at the airport, bags are x-rayed, passengers pass through medal detectors," said Fanelli.
"We adhere to the rules on fluids and other prohibited and restricted items."
Further details on baggage restrictions, travel eligibility, and small air terminal contact information can be found on the space available section of the unit's public Web site.