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Flying Space A

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

5948.jpeg Today I want to explain the process of flying Space Available, because I have been receiving questions about that.
You can fly space available on commercial planes but I don't exactly how that works, since we have never done that. What we do instead is hop on military flights. As an active or retired service member you have the privilege to use this amazing opportunity. Since it is a privilege we can never forget that the mission comes first and that any flight can change without notice. We literally just tag along allowing plenty of wiggle room for lay overs and destinations. Usually flights depart and arrive on Air Force bases stateside and overseas. Usually a 72 hour flight schedule will get posted but as I said it can change at any time. If you are pressed for time or need to meet a deadline, flying space A might not be the right thing. Flying during the busy season while the kids are out of school is definitely difficult. The first time we hopped from Charleston, SC to Rhein Main, Germany was about 15 years ago. We waited for several hours, finally made roll call, sat in our seats, took off and were in mid flight for about an hour, when we were informed that we had to return to Charleston, SC. The mission was changed and we had to start the entire process again. We spent some time in the family lounge until our next roll call. 20190107_084200.jpg 20190107_084217.jpg
The family lounge is for families with kids only and provides plenty of activities and toys to entertain the little travelers. Usually a separate room accommodates infants and toddlers with cribs and rocking chairs for nursing mothers.
If you stay overnight at the terminal, showers in the bathroom and hot coffee at the USO are fantastic to perk you back up.
The longest we had to wait on a flight was 3 days. We made the mistake to fly back to the States from Ramstein, during summer break, right before school starts at the end of August. That is one of the busiest times and finding an available hotel nearby can be tricky. We had to sleep on the floor a few times, because all hotel rooms were booked. 5950.jpeg
It can be exhausting but it makes for great memories. Our then 6 year old son decided to venture off, while we were asleep on the floor in the hotel lobby. Thank goodness I woke up to use the bathroom and discovered Landon snuggled up beside a soldier who was asleep on an air mattress. Quickly I removed my son and apologized to this guy. He said that it was ok but wondered why this kid layed down beside him. We had to laugh about that awkward moment and went back to our place on the floor.
We hopped to Spain on a Thursday in hope to connect to Germany a year ago. Once we arrived in Rota all car rentals were closed for the weekend and no flights left out of there. Sunday morning a flight to Charleston AFB popped up and we flew back. We literally spent a weekend in Spain, on the beach having picnics and Sangria and returned back to the states. 5942.jpeg
This year after spending Christmas in California without family, we had the urge to do something different and spontaneous. We hopped over to Hawaii and rang in the new year. We have been trying to fly back to the states for the last 4 days, but somehow a lot of flights have been canceled. This morning , Tuesday looked very promising. Our names were picked for roll call, but a few guys arrived last minute with a better category and bumped us off the flight. We slept overnight at the terminal on the front lawn in our sleeping bags. Thankfully I was awake around 3am, woke Tony up and grabbed my sleeping bag just in time, because the sprinkler system came on. Can you imagine us still asleep getting soaked in our sleeping bags. What a mess!
Like I said, traveling Space A is an adventure and totally unpredictable. Tonight we will sleep in our Jeep Wrangler on the beach , because we have to show up around 4 am to mark ourselves present. There is no need to spend $135 for a hotel room and sleep like sardines in a Queen bed. I will probably crawl into my sleeping bag on the beach and listen to the waves. Fingers crossed that we make it out of Hawaii tomorrow.
Aloha! 20190108_180250.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 12:59

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