Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Space A Experience - Part 1

 Today's blog is for all of those military dependents out there who have ever wondered about taking a Space A flight but have yet to do so.  You may have heard of Space A but never really knew what it was all about.   When it comes to flying Space A, the more information you have the better.

Well let’s start with the basics.  Space A stands for Space Available. There are military flights that go around the world each day.  These flights might be relocating people, moving cargo or a variety of other things.  Sometimes these airplanes are not completely full and that is when the available space is offered to the military sponsor and/or their dependents.  Some flights may have 5 open seats, while others may have over 30. 
Who is eligible for Space A?  Well that is a good question.  On a regular day, a uniformed member of the military along with his/her dependents is eligible to fly.  BUT, there are a few reasons that  dependents can fly without their sponsor.  This includes but is not limited to emergency situations, those with deployed sponsors, Command Sponsored OCONUS dependents,  Non-Command Sponsored CONUS located dependents,  Command Sponsored OCONUS dependents on EML. 

I know this sounds a bit confusing, but let me direct you to a site that explains in detail much of this information that I have shared.
I have learned a lot in the last few weeks as I prepared to leave South Korea and fly home Space A to visit my family in the United States.  One of these things is that those flying on Space A are broken down into different categories. Depending upon how and why you are flying, will determine which category you will be assigned to for your trip.

Since I was flying without my sponsor from an OCONUS duty station to CONUS, it put me in Category V (5) of the 6 Categories.   I made the decision to get approval for EML which bumped me up to Category IV.  Here is a summary of the categories:
                   Category I – Unfunded Emergency Leave
                 Category II – AD (Active Duty) on EML and their accompanying family members
                 Category III -   AD and their accompanying family members, House Hunting Permissive TDY, unaccompanied dependents of deployed service members (365 plus day deployment)
                 Category IV -  Unaccompanied dependents on EML or sponsor is deployed for 120 days
                 Category V – Unaccompanied dependents of AD (command/non-command sponsored), Permissive TDY
                 Category VI – Retirees and their accompanied dependents

I must tell you upfront, I am not the adventurous type and doing a trip from South Korea to the United States without my husband but with my 4 daughters in tow, was a big deal for me.  When we moved to Korea, I had to do this same trip but I was on a commercial flight with flight attendants, meals and movies.  From the stories I had heard, Space A would not be the same.  BUT the idea of saving the cost of 5 commercial airlines tickets at $1500.00 a piece is what enticed me. 
Tomorrow I will begin to share my Space A journey from South Korea to the United States with you.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

March Wrap Up

Where has the time gone.  I can't believe it's already May.  This year is moving by quickly.  Here is a recap of what went on in the month of March for our family.

We celebrated my husband's 43rd birthday.  Wow is he getting old. LOL  At least I can say that no matter how old I get, he will always be older than me :)

My mom (referred to as Mom Mom by my girls) arrived from the states to spend a month with us in South Korea.  The girls were very excited to have Mom Mom here.

We took Mom Mom to Itaewon for a little shopping.

The girls enjoy having "Tea Time" with my mom and being in Korea is no exception.  They asked Mom Mom to prepare a tea party for them to enjoy.

The end of March brought both joy and sadness.  The same day that we planned to pick up my dad (aka Pop Pop) at the airport, we also dropped off Angel's Chaplain Assistant Annette for her flight back to the United States.  Her tour here was only for a year and she was heading on to spend time with her family before reporting to her next duty station.  Annette, you will be missed.  I pray you are being blessed at your new duty station.

Later that same afternoon at the airport, we picked up my dad.  It had almost been a year since we had seen my dad...unless you count skyping.  One of the downfalls of being stationd don't get to see family as much as you'd like.

March was a whirlwind and brought April upon us quickly.  And that to was here and gone before I knew it, but I'll save that for a different post.