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AMC officials unveil official travel Web site
People planning to travel the Air Mobility Command military travel system can now point their Web browsers to http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/index.asp for the latest in AMC travel information. (U.S. Air Force graphic)
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New Web site offers Space-A information

Posted 8/6/2009   Updated 8/6/2009 Email story   Print story


by Mark Diamond
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

8/6/2009 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command officials here recently unveiled its first official, command-level AMC Travel Web site.

People planning to travel the AMC military travel system can now point their Web browsers to http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/index.asp for the latest in AMC travel information.

The site, which officially went live July 24, offers prospective space-available travelers a wealth of information, including an updated AMC passenger terminal contact list (complete with phone, e-mail and Web links), and more than a dozen travel documents, example letters and brochures.

Every day around the world, hundreds of military and military-contracted commercial aircraft travel the world delivering troops and cargo. And each year, hundreds of thousands of military personnel, retirees, and their family members go along for the ride, courtesy of the AMC Space-A travel program.

Space-A flights, also known as "military hops," are a unique benefit to U.S. servicemembers, retirees and their families. Under the AMC travel program, unused seats on U.S. military and military-contracted aircraft are made available to non-duty passengers on a space-available basis (once space-required or official duty passengers and cargo have been accommodated).

According to one AMC travel expert, the AMC Travel Web site was created simply because "AMC customers deserve it."

"(The AMC Travel) site was created to provide our customers a wealth of AMC travel information, which can be counted on to contain the most accurate and up-to-date travel information available," said Tech. Sgt. Steve Katsonis of the AMC passenger policy branch. "Our customers deserved a Web site where they can obtain travel information that is correct, up to date and validated by AMC. This Web site will give them that."

Sergeant Katsonis said AMC officials understand the massive amount of anxiety and stress felt by space-required and Space-A travelers.

"Our goal is that this site will answer any questions the passengers will have, therefore minimizing their stress before they leave their homes," he said.

In the past, prospective Space-A passengers frequently turned to one of several AMC headquarters offices in search of Space-A travel information. Sergeant Katsonis said although these headquarters personnel are trained to respond to these public queries, he hopes the new Web site will provide all their information and more. Additionally, he said trained passenger service agents at AMC terminals around the globe are standing by to assist. People searching for up-to-the-minute AMC travel information are encouraged to contact their nearest AMC passenger terminal. A current listing is available on the new AMC Travel site.

Another great benefit of the new AMC Travel site is that it will be updated with the latest breaking news and updates. For instance, Sergeant Katsonis said dependent travel policies have gone through a few significant changes during the past few years.

"There have been many important changes over the last few years, with most of them relating to dependant travel," the sergeant said. "With the ongoing conflict, it is important that family members are taken care of (when the military spouse is deployed)."

He said the Department of Defense responded by allowing unaccompanied travel by dependents when the military spouse is deployed on contingency/exercise/deployment orders, also known as CED orders. According to Sergeant Katsonis, when the deployment is for 120 days or more, unaccompanied travel is authorized in category IV; and for deployments of 366 days or more, unaccompanied travel is authorized in the bottom of category III.

Additionally, a long-awaited change, made last year by DOD officials, allows dependents of dual military couples the ability to travel with either parent, with the appropriate documentation. Prior to this, dependents were only authorized to travel with the sponsor listed on their identification card.

According to AMC officials, today's challenging times underscore the importance of properly caring for our military servicemembers and the families who support them. Changes to the AMC travel program are a reflection of the trust and faith DOD officials place on men and women in uniform.

Sergeant Katsonis said he wants people to know that Space-A is a great benefit, but it can be a stressful experience without the proper planning.

"AMC never guarantees travel, and passengers need to be prepared for their (Space-A) trip to take more time than it would were they traveling commercial," the sergeant said.

He added that not every base is equipped with facilities or lodging capable of handling passengers stranded by a broken or rerouted aircraft.

"The most important thing to remember when traveling Space-A is be prepared to fly commercial if problems are encountered" Sergeant Katsonis said. "The key to a stress-free trip is to have a plan. Have enough money for all contingencies, and be mentally prepared for disappointment when plans don't come together."

The AMC Travel site cannot predict problems that may arise, but the sergeant said it should be a huge benefit in the planning phase.

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