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Report: Expansion Of Space Available Flight Program Would Hurt Military Fliers

Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft flight
Jim Greenhill
Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft flight

Congress wants to expand the Space Available Flight program, which allows active-duty and retired military to fly free when there's available space on a commercial or military aircraft. But that expansion would actually reduce the chance of a service member getting a free spot on a plane, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

The proposed expansion of "Space-A" would include international travel for active-reservists, retired reservists, and their dependents; and domestic and international travel for military widows and their dependents.

The GAO report finds this expansion would lead to roughly 20,000 travelers "not being able to obtain space-available seats."


The report says the proposed expansion could hurt uniformed service members, for whom the Space Available Flight program was created:

For example... a lower-priority passenger who already has a seat cannot be rotated off of an en-route flight at a subsequent stop by a space-available traveler in a higher-priority category. Therefore, the higher-priority uniformed service member may have to take leave while waiting to obtain a space-available seat on another flight or purchase a ticket with a commercial airline.

Do you use the Space A program? What do you think about the proposed expansion?