We took two military Space Available (Space A) flights to the east coast to visit family for the holidays. We found the flight information posted 72 hours before time on the Facebook pages for the North Island and Naval Station Norfolk air terminals. It’s a great way for military personnel, active and retired, to travel when there are empty seats on military flights. We didn’t plan on Space A as our primary means of transportation but as a way to save money. We bought tickets on Southwest for a week after my leave started to give us a good chance to get on a free flight because of their cancelation policy. You can cancel your ticket with Southwest and keep the credit for a year, so we’ll use Southwest later for a return flight from somewhere.
It was a cool experience flying this way. We piled our bags onto a cart and walked down the flight line to the plane.
Our flights were on U. S. NAVY C-40’s. The first was all personnel from San Diego to NAS Oceana. The second flight was half cargo and half personnel from Norfolk Naval Station to Jacksonville NAS.
Our first stop was at Tim and Martha’s house in Norfolk. We haven’t visited them there since we lived in their furnished attic in 2006 when I was in school at Dam Neck. Tim took Sully on a trip up the stairs on their lift.
Sully got to ride the lift by himself too.
Flying Space A can be exhausting. We spent a few hours waiting to find out if we got a seat on the plane and had to make lots of higher stress last minute accommodations for transportation and lodging. It also messed out Sully’s normal sleep schedule, but he’s back to normal after two days.
We hopped our second flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville late at night and arrived after midnight and got a late checkout from the hotel. I was out getting a rental car while Natalie and Sully got the luggage out of our room.
We went to visit my buddy Josh’s boat. His beard is epic and Sully is very jealous of it’s glory.
Josh and his girlfriend Shea are prepping their boat to cruise the Caribbean again. We stopped by for a visit before heading to Georgia to see Natalie’s Grandparents on our way to Florida for Christmas.
It took a lot of planning and preparation, but we found some things out. It ended up being cheaper to rent a car one way from Jacksonville to Tampa than taking the train for both of us. It was also cheaper to rent a car by the day for the first few days and then return that car and rent again for the trip to Tampa instead of renting the car one way for 5 days.
All in all, Space A is a good way to travel if you have a loose travel plans and you’re willing to make lots of last minute arrangements.