Is Space-A really free?

Yes and No. At this point in your life you should now know that nothing is really "free." In general, there is no charge for air fare on military aircraft (cargo, tanker etc...). However, on the chartered (Patriot Express) flights there is a per-person (infants are people too!) charge  of $17.80 from CONUS-to-Overseas and $35.20 to Overseas-to-CONUS to cover head tax and inspection fees. Patriot Express fees are made up of two parts: an International Air Transportation Tax ("head tax")  and a Federal Inspection Fee (FIS). Both fees apply coming to the CONUS from OCONUS (the FIS does not apply on flights from CONUS to OCONUS). If you travel on a Patriot Express flight from OCONUS to OCONUS (e.g. Aviano to Ramstein) then there are no charges. For hopping on commercial contract flights "within" CONUS (e.g. Norfolk-JAX and JAX-Norfolk) there is now a head tax fee of $4.00 per passenger and $8.90 OCONUS between Travis and Hickam.  This head tax is one way only.  Prepare to pay the Pat-Ex taxes in cash (US$) (although some locations will accept and encourage credit cards), exact change is appreciated and your payment is good for the whole route in a particular direction (i.e. east or west). - (as of April 2016)