Air force passenger terminal

Photo Credit: Meagan Shamy / Military TravelingMom

A military hop is a unique military travel benefit for military members to travel on a military aircraft for little to no cost. This is also known as Space Available (Space-A) travel.

Flights available are random, because they are on military planes that are already going somewhere for military business, but have empty seats. If a military aircraft is going somewhere and has empty seats, they will often release these seats and allow passenger terminals to put people on the flight.

In order to take a military hop, the military member must qualify for the flight. Depending on military status and circumstances, they will either be eligible or not. Those eligible for Space-A travel will be assigned a category.

There are six categories; most people who hop are either category 3 or 6. Active-duty members on approved leave qualify for category 3. Retired military members are eligible to hop in category 6.

For active duty members traveling for pleasure, they must be on approved leave and have their paperwork with them. At the passenger terminal the paperwork will be ask for, along with their military ID. If they are bringing along family members age 10 or older, they will also need the child’s IDs and social security numbers. If they are taking a child under the age of 10, birth certificate or passport is required.

Travelers are allowed to put their name on the list at a passenger terminal one day before leave starts. When checking in, travelers should make sure their name was on the list when it was suppose to be. This only matters when there are a lot of people trying to hop — you want to make sure you are on the list where you are suppose to be, so you are as high on the list as possible.

Good luck!