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9 Things to Know About Flying Space-A on the Patriot Express

17 September 2018 by

You can fly Space-A on the Patriot Express to Greece, Germany, Japan, and many other places around the world!

Have you ever heard reference to the “Patriot Express” or the “rotator” and wondered what it was? It’s one of many possible aircraft you may take when flying military Space-A, and some seasoned Space-A travelers would argue that there’s no better way to travel!

The Patriot Express (PE) is a commercial charter flight contracted by the Department of Defense to transport passengers on official military duty and their families. As with other Space-A flights, extra seats on the PE may be available for non-duty passengers after all space-required passengers have been accommodated. If you are new to Space-A flying, read this Quickstart Guide first to get a basic understanding of how Space-A works.

Here’s what else Space-A passengers flying on a PE should know.

NOTE: If you are PCSing on orders, you are not flying Space-A, even if you are on a PE. This brochure explains many of the rules that duty passengers need to know and describes the aircraft’s amenities.

1. The Patriot Express is a regular commercial aircraft.

After you board the plane, the experience is similar to a commercial flight. Your boarding pass will have an assigned seat, and there are civilian flight attendents. The PE has full in-flight meal service and other standard amenities, such as movies. It’s also warmer and quieter than military cargo planes.

2. The signup process is the same for the Patriot Express as for other Space-A flights.

When you sign up for Space-A travel, you are signing up to fly from a particular passenger terminal; you are not signing up for an individual flight. If you’ve signed up at Norfolk, for example, you can take whatever flight has available seats on the day you want to travel. It could be a PE, or it could be a C-17.

3. You may pay a small fee to fly Space-A on the Patriot Express.

This fee is charged per passenger (no age minimum) and covers head tax and inspection fees. The amount varies depending on where you’re traveling to/from but maxes out at $35.20 for flights from outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS) to within the continental U.S. (CONUS).

4. Patriot Express schedules are posted for one calendar month at a time.

Terminals post the monthly PE schedule on their respective Facebook pages as early as a week before the upcoming month and as late as a few days after the month starts.

Keep in mind that the monthly PE schedules do NOT tell you how many Space-A seats are available. As with other Space-A flights, the passenger terminals share information about seats on the PE a maximum of 72 hours in advance.

5. Patriot Express flights have standard routes and schedules.

About the author
Hi, I’m Stephanie! In 2015 my husband retired from the Army and we took a year off to travel. I quit my job, and we set off on an adventure to break from our routine and explore the world. Military resources and Space A travel were a major part of our strategy for making our voyage affordable. The other part – immersing ourselves in the local economy – not only saved money, but gave us unique experiences we never would have shared if we followed the tourist circuit or stayed exclusively on military bases.
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