Want to Save With Space-A? Get Travel Advice From an Expert

Want to Save With Space-A? Get Travel Advice From an Expert
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Americans are prioritizing travel this year, and with travel costs on the rise, many retirees and active duty servicemembers are looking to use one of their earned benefits, Space-Available (Space-A) travel, to get to their destination for less.


MOAA’s 2023 webinar on the topic was so well-attended that a follow-up event, covering advanced Space-A travel tips, will take place April 9 – register for free at this link. The host for both webinars, Stephanie Montague, is the founder and president of Poppin’ Smoke, a website dedicated to helping the military community take advantage of travel-related benefits.


Montague estimates she’s saved more than $20,000 over the past eight years of travel by taking military “hops.” Watch a recording of last year’s webinar and check out a q-and-a with Montague, whose husband retired from the Army in 2015, below.



Q. How is this April 9 webinar different from your previous one?

A. This webinar will help viewers understand how the rules and regulations work in practice, plus explain some of the strategies we’ve learned over the years to boost our chances of getting seats.


Q. What do you want people to know about Space-A travel before they attend this webinar?

A. Viewers will get the most out of this webinar if they’ve already watched the first one and/or read the Quickstart Guide at Poppin’ Smoke. This will give them a general familiarity with the process and help them understand a few basic points about how Space-A works, such as:

  • What flying “military Space-A” means
  • Who is eligible
  • How the priority system works


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Q. Have you had any good Space-A adventures lately?

A. Yes! In November, we hopped a C-17 from our home in Rota, Spain, to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. After spending about two weeks in the states, we did the same trip in reverse.


We got very lucky with the return flight. We had been tracking the mission from JB McGuire back to Rota, but the night before the flight, we stopped by the terminal and were told they weren’t releasing seats. We showed up the next day anyway, and we arrived just in time: At the last minute, they released 53 seats! That’s one of the topics I’m going to address during the webinar: Should you try for a flight when the schedule says there are no seats?


One important thing to note about our trip is that Space-A into Rota is restricted (more details here). We were eligible to hop that mission from JB McGuire because we are residents of Spain.


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About the Author

Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®
Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®

Quintiliani is MOAA's Program Director, Financial and Benefits Education/Counseling. She is a former Army Military Intelligence Officer as well as the spouse of an active-duty servicemember, and worked for over a decade at military installations as a personal financial counselor.