Space-A Eligibility

Space-A Eligibility

UPDATEOn 22 April 2022, OUSD (A&S) issued the attached memorandum to the Services and
USTRANSCOM reinstating all Space-Available Travel Program Categories as defined in Department of
Defense Instruction 4515.13,“Air Transportation Eligibility,” Change 6.
Units and passenger terminals will start accepting eligible Space-A travelers effective immediately. Units
should continue to train, conduct mock processing events, and adjust seat releases as determined by
terminal leadership to build capability. Units and passenger terminals will take necessary actions based on
assessment of their capabilities to restore full servicing by 13 May 2022

Also, see AMC Mask Policy as of April 22 2022.

Previous Information and Policy below:

As of March 15th 2021, Space-Available travel aboard DoD and DoD-controlled aircraft remains restricted, except for certain Category I, IV, and VI travel. Details are available in this Table of Allowed Categories.

Regular Space-A (as we know it) for the most common Categories (Active Duty on leave, authorised unaccompanied dependents, retirees) is prohibited except for compelling cases (necessary for humanitarian purposes or due to extreme hardship).

Passebgers with compelling cases require an ETP (Exception to Policy) letter issued by the first O-6 or civilian equivalent in the traveler’s chain of command or supervision. For travelers not assigned to a command, the approval authority is the first O-6 or civilian equivalent with operational responsibility at the travel point of origin.

The temporary suspension remains in effect until further notice.

SOURCE:  DoD Memorandum, 15 Mar 2021


  • Yes.  Uniformed Services Retirees (receiving retirement pay and possessing a BLUE Retiree ID Card) and their accompanying dependents can travel Space-A anywhere that Space-A is allowed.  In addition, "Gray Area" Retirees have limited eligibility (but not their dependents).  See the separate FAQ article for "Gray Area' Retiree Eligibility.

Dependents of active duty and retired personnel are eligible to travel CONUS or OCONUS when ACCOMPANIED by their sponsor. Eligible (command sponsored and non-command sponsored dependents whose sponsor is stationed overseas can travel unaccompanied (some CONUS restrictions apply) as CAT-V.  Finally, dependents whose sponsor is on a deployment (30 days or more) may travel unaccompanied without their sponsor anywhere Space-A is allowed as CAT-III (selected after Active Duty CAT-III for deployments 365 days or more) or CAT-IV (30 -364 days). All dependents under 18-years of age must be accompanied by an eligible parent or legal guardian. Dependents of retired military members cannot travel unaccompanied without their sponsor.

Prior to 1 April 2003, CONUS dependent travel was not authorized unless en-route on a mission to/from an overseas location. A one-year test was conducted between April 2003 and March 2004 which allowed dependents of active duty and retired uniformed service members to travel space available with their sponsors within the CONUS. The test produced excellent results and, as a result, Space-Available privileges are extended to the test audience (DEPENDENTS OF ACTIVE DUTY AND RETIRED UNIFORMED SERVICE MEMBERS ONLY) on a permanent basis. This privilege will be incorporated into the existing regulation through an interim policy change to Air Transportation Eligibility (DoDI 4515.13). Dependents can now travel with their sponsor in CONUS.

BOTTOM LINE:  Depenents can accompany their Active Duty or Retired Sponsor Space-A anywhere within and between CONUS, OCONUS and Overseas wherever Space-A is allowed.

Reserve members on the Active Status List (may train for points and/or pay and may be considered for promotion) with their CAC (Reserve) identification and DD Form 1853 may fly Space-A to, from, and between Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the CONUS as CAT-VI.  They cannot use Space-A to/from other overseas locations and dependents cannot accompany the member (even within CONUS).

Reservists placed on active duty for more than 30 days may take ordinary leave and they (and their accompanied dependents) can use Space-A anywhere (CONUS, OCONUS, Overseas) that Space-A is allowed.

Members of Reserve Components may travel "Space-Required" to attend IDT assemblies within CONUS, between CONUS and OCONUS or within OCONUS.  An official Travel Authorization (TA) must be presented to AMC Passenger Service Agents to be considered during the Space-R travel selection process. Approved written authorization may include a memorandum letter or appropriate service form, directing a member to perform IDT and must indicate the dates and locations of training and be signed by an approving authority other than the member. All travelers must have a valid ID card and all other required travel documents (e.g., passport).

Typically the answer is "No." If your sponsor is in a reserve or guard unit making drills and annual training then their dependents can not fly Space A. The sponsor can fly within the limits as per Table 3 of the DoD regulation. If your sponsor is a retired reserve (guard) not age 60 then dependents cannot fly Space A. The sponsor can fly as per the regulations (see "Gray Area Retiree FAQ below). If the person is over 60 and holds a retiree ID card (blue) and the dependent holds the DD Form 1173 dependent card then the dependent can fly Space A when accompanied by the sponsor. They are treated exactly like regular retired and can fly Space A anywhere there are flights going.

If your sponsor becomes activated for more than 30 days then the typical answer of "No" changes to "Yes" and the dependent has all the Space-A privileges of an Active Duty Dependent accompanied by their sponsor on ordinary leave (except dependents cannot travel unaccompanied under the Command or non-command sponsored travel programs). IMPORTANT! - Make sure all dependents of an activated Guard/Reserve Member update their ID Cards to a regular DD Form 1173 (United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card) versus the DD Form 1173-1 issued to Guard and Reserve dependents!

Only your military dependent(s) (not another sponsor's dependent) can accompany you.

Per DoDI 4515.13, Foreign exchange service members on permanent duty with the DoD and their "acccompanied" dependents are elgible for Space-A when in a leave status.

Foreign exchange service officers, as defined in DoDD 5230.20, must have:
(1) A CAC.
(2) A valid leave authorization.  Dependents of foreign exchange service officers must have a DD Form 1173.  Dependents of uniformed services members who are under the age of 10 and traveling without a DD Form 1173 must travel with the sponsor or eligible parent.

For info on how to signup and other procedures please see the FAQ at

Per DoDI 4515.13, Section 4, Table 3, a Gray Area Retiree (Reservist who is "eligible" for retirement pay at 60 years of age but not fully retired with a BLUE ID Card), can fly Space-A only within the CONUS and directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. ""The DoD reg, Section 4, Table 3 does not authorize Gray Area Dependents to fly Space-A"" until the Gray Area Retiree has fully retired and has his/her BLUE Uniformed Services ID Card.   Once the Gray Area Retiree has his/her BLUE Uniformed Services ID Card then they and their accompanied dependents can use Space-A to travel anywhere Space-A is allowed. (also Reference PASSENGER SERVICE UPDATE DTG: 261800Z OCT 01 para 1.K).  NOTE:  Some reservists may obtain retiree status before age 60

Authorized veterans with a permanent service-connected disability rated as total and their dependents (when accompanied by their sponsor)traveling in the CONUS or directly between the CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa
(Guam and American Samoa travelers may transit Hawaii or Alaska); or traveling within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands

Veterans with a permanent service-connected disability rated as total, must have a DD Form 2765, "Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (TAN).”

Source: DoD Instruction 4515.13, January 22, 2016, Change 5, October 23, 2020, Table 3, Item 47

The policy changed in October 2020 and certain surviving spouses and their accompanied dependents are now elegible for Space-A travel (CONUS to CONUS only). 

The updated policy applies to surviving spouses and their dependents (when accompanied by the surviving spouse) of:

  • Service members who died on active duty
  • Retired military members
  • Service members who died in an inactive duty training status
  • Service members who died in an annual training status

Full details on the updated policy can be found in DoDI 4515.13, January 22, 2016 Change 5, October 23, 2020 (Change 5 (Section 4, Table 3, Items 48-51).

  • a. Yes (but not your dependents if ROTC), When enrolled ( I read "contracted" versus "taking" ROTC) in an advanced ROTC, NUPOC, or CEC course or enrolled under the financial assistance program, on presentation of the following valid: Military ID Card and DD Form 1853.
  • b. Category of Travel is Cat 6 and travel is authorized ONLY within and between the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and the US. Territories
  • c. If you have been commissioned but waiting for active duty then you are still Cat-VI (have your old Det Commander sign your DD Form 1853.
  • d. On a related topic, Academy Cadet Graduates may be granted up to 60 days of non-chargeable leave in conjunction with their PCS and will travel in Category-III (CONUS-CONUS, CONUS-OCONUS, OCONUS-CONUS). Graduates will not possess a leave form, but the authorization for leave needs to be stated on their PCS orders.
  • e. Per the DODI, ROTC Cadets must travel in Uniform and Academy Cadets should follow their Service and Academy Uniform regulations.
  • A pet, parent, grandkid (or other non-dependent) cannot accompany you if you are flying in a Space-A status.
  • Only your(not someone-else's) authorized (i.e. registered in DEERS and has ID card if 10 years old or more) military dependents may accompany you. Sponsorship cannot be delegated to another military member. Dependents under 18-years of age must be accompanied by an eligible parent or Legal Guardian. Per the regs, Space-A travel eligibility cannot be delegated or transferred except for dual Uniformed Services members. The source of eligibility is the sponsor. Powers of Attorney do not create legal guardianship, therefore, travel under a power of attorney, non-court ordered adoptive guardianship, etc. is not authorized.
  • Members traveling on PCS Orders on DoD Commercial Chartered missions (e.g. Patriot Express flights or other commercial contract missions (e.g to/from BWI, Seattle. Ramstein, Japan, Korea or Travis and Hawaii) can take a pet (defined as a dog or cat only) along on a Space-A basisOnly a few Pet Spaces are available each mission (some in-cabin) and passengers must request a Pet Reservation through their official travel office as soon as they have their PCS orders.  "Pets" are not allowed on Military aircraft (e.g. cargo/tanker aircraft) even if the member is in a PCS status.   See AMC's Pet Brochure for more information and contact your TMO for details regarding shipping pets in conjunction with your PCS.
  • There are no blackout dates for pet travel.
  • For those of you PCSing here's the pet rates (current as of September 2016):
    • Pet and container weighing up to 70 lbs - $125
    • Pet and container 71-140 lbs - $250
    • Pet and container 141-150 lbs - $375
    • If PCSing to Germany there is (current as of March 2015) a 55 Euro fee paid to the German Government upon claiming your pet/processing through customs. The fee applies to any arrivals in Germany (military or commercial.
  • It may be "possible" for a family to take more than two pets when PCSing but "probably " unlikely as Pet Spaces tend to fill up quickly.  Per the JFTR, 15 days prior to AMC flight departure, any pet spaces that have not been filled open are available to travelers that already have two pet spaces booked. Requests for additional spaces can be sent to Scott AFB Passenger Operations, or fax to DSN 779-7876, commercial (618) 229-7876.
  • Legitimate "Service Animals" are allowed on DoD-controlled missions (see the separate FAQ article for details).


Space-A passengers may travel with an Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service or Service Animal when documentation requirements are met IAW DoDI 4515.13. If PSAs are unable to validate documentation, the animal will be denied transportation. Note: Passengers with service animals, as listed above, are prohibited from exit row seating. Also, see the the Service Animal Policy.

Per a 14 Jul 08 memo, the DoD rectified a restriction which only allowed the designated military sponsor to accompany a dependent child traveling Space-A. Now, certain dual Uniformed Services member parents/step-parents may accompany their dependent children regardless of which parent is designated as the sponsor in the DEERS. The policy applies to Uniformed Services members on active duty, retired from active duty, and retired Reserve/Guard members 60 years or older who are receiving retired pay.

The designated military sponsor may give the military non-sponsor parent the authority to accompany their dependent child when traveling Space-A in the same category of travel as the military non-sponsor parent.. The sponsor parent must authorize the non-sponsor parent in writing (Sample Dual-Sponsor Memo) with his or her signature notarized. The letter is valid for 180 days from the date it was signed and notarized. Only the ORIGINAL letter with the sponsor's signature notarized may be accepted for Space-A travel and the non-sponsor parent must carry this authorization letter during all phases of travel along with his or her valid military identification card.


Women up to the 34th week of gestation can travel Space-A unless medically inadvisable by your doctor. Women who are 6 weeks or more post partum and infants at least 6 weeks old may travel unless medically inadvisable by your doctor. Infants under 6 weeks old and women who are less than 6 weeks post partum may travel if considered medically sound and so certified in writing by a responsible medical officer or civilian physician.  Infants require a DoD ID Number or Passport as identity.  SSN is no longer acceptable (as of January 2017).  If going overseas to a foreign country then the infant needs a passport.  If going to Guam then proof of U.S. Citizenship (Passport or Birth Certificate) is required.

U.S. citizen civilian employees of the Armed Forces (and their accompanied dependents) stationed overseas who are eligible for Government-funded transportation to the United States at tour completion (including NAF employees) are authorized to travel Space-A using EML (CAT-II) with their dependents. In addition, civilians are eligible for Space-A under Emergency conditions (sample Letter available at In both cases (EML and Emergency) CONUS-to-CONUS travel is not authorized. Dependents using EML unaccompanied by their sponsor would travel CAT-IV. Also, DoDDS Teachers stationed overseas are eligible for Space-A when on EML.  More info on EML is available here.