In October 2019. Charlie Hampton, Jim Williamson and Tom McVey went on a space A trip. We enjoyed our trip to Ramstein Germany and the overall space A process.
As of October, 2019
Consider these steps
Download the take a hop app to your phone. Check out the App. Learn how to use all it’s features. Save the Passenger Terminal Facebook groups on your Facebook app. This makes it easy to find them inside of Facebook.
T-Moble is a good cellphone service to have for over seas travel. It also offers a hot spot for the use of your traveling mates. You also may want to check overseas options with your cell phone company. Staying in airplane mode and using wifi calling at hotels is a good option. No one wants to get a big phone bill as a surprise.
- Check your passport. You will need this for travel outside the US. It needs to have more that 6 months before it expires.
- Check your military ID. It can not have your SSAN on it. Get a new ID if you SSAN is on your ID.
- Your spouse can also fly. Check her ID and passport. We think she will like the adventure and excitement.
30 Days Before the Trip
- Decide on the dates you want to travel October to March are the better dates.
- Pick your 5 destination country choices.
- Pick your departure passenger terminals. Include Travis, McChord, McGuire, Norfolk, Wright Patterson, Pear Habor plus any other departure air fields.
- Wright Patterson is good for getting out. But hard to get back to. Be prepared to fly back to WPAFB if you get stuck someplace.
- Register for Travel using the take a hop app. Registering will set your Julian date and time.
- This is important in getting you on the plane. When the plane has 20 seats and 25 people show up ready to fly. Then the passenger terminal put the people in order by category and registration date and time. The passenger terminal then selects the people to fly with the lowest category and the lowest Julian date and time. Retired and spouses are category 6. This is the highest category. So we are the last one’s to be selected.
- You want your Julian date to be around 30 when you start traveling. You registration is good for only 60 days. You don’t want it to run over 60 days, cause then you have to register again and you will have a high Julian date and time. That will make it harder to be selected.
- The take a hop app will prepare a email. You need to send the email.
- Make a printed copy of the registration email and take it with you.
- Make a copy of your passport and take it with you.
- Set up an account on hotels.com
- Make sure you know how to use Google maps for directions and finding hotels. This will save you time and money.
Week of travel
- Each day check the flight schedule of your departure passenger terminals.
- When you see a flight you are interested in, then see if the first flight lines up with other flights to get to your final destination.
- Get ready to go. Pack your bags. Consider taking one backpack and a smaller backpack for walking around. Only take what you need. Buy some light fast drying clothes. Wash clothes in a sink and hang up to dry.
- Plan where you will stay in case you make all the connections. Consider making a reservation.
- Find a car rental place. Set up account and consider making a reservation on line.
Day of Travel
- Arrive at the pax terminal about an hour early.
- let them know you are here for the flight. They will mark you present.
- Get a long term parking pass.
- Park your car and standby.
- When roll call starts be alert to see if you get selected.
- If selected.
- Check any bags.
- Enjoy the trip.
- Be flexible. Things can change quickly.
If not selected
- Cancel reservations
- Consider next steps
On the Return Trip
After being selected for the flight
- Make a car reservation to get back hone
- Make a room reservation. You may need a room after a long flight. Don’t get to eager to get home that you push yourself too hard. A extra night on the trip is better than getting in an accident.
Long term parking is behind building 142. A five minute walk.
You can purchase food and drinks on base. You can also eat at the chow hall.
BX, commissary and renting cars on from on base is not allowed. Go off base.
Off base in Ramstein village is going to be less expensive than on base. Search for hotels on google maps. Book on-line then take taxi, a taxi can be found outside the pax terminal.
Bus to Italy
This bus ran in Oct 2019. Check with the USO desk in Ramstein. It is a 12 hour ride. They stop three times.
Charlie Hampton Posted to the Cat 6 Page
I joined this group awhile back and soaked up all the info I could from experienced Space A travelers. On October 17 I, along with two friends decided to make use of the Space A benefit. We left Wright-Patt, first stop was McGuire then on to Mildenhall and finally Ramstein. We spent a week in Europe visiting Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and a France. We made some great memories and had a wonderful time.
The info I received on this site was invaluable.
1. Print a hard copy of your sign-up; at Ramstein pax counter for sign-up my info was not in the system, I pulled out my hard copy and the airman said “that’s exactly what I need”, entered my info and I was all set. We also made a hard copy of passport, drivers license just in case.
2. The rental car company we used in Ramstein Village was AFCR. We found them very reasonable. One week car rental (Intermediate size) for Euro 275 included full insurance and the first additional driver was free and 2nd additional driver was Euro 15 for the week.
3. Although we retirees cannot utilize the commissary or BX, all of the food franchises were available to us.
4. We stayed in several hotels and they were all affordable, very clean and price included breakfast buffet. Average price was Euro 78. Use hotels.com and you can easily find hotels at affordable rates.
5. We used a backpack only and didn’t have luggage to check-in. This was a good idea for us because we were more mobile and didn’t have to do the bag drag. We washed clothes in our hotel rooms and they would dry by the next morning.
6. Taxi cabs are readily available at Pax Terminal and Ramstein Inn. Fare to the rental car company was Euro 8.
7. My cell phone carrier is Sprint and I could text free to the states, phone calls were .25 per minute, FaceTime was free as long as I was connected to wi-fi. One of my mates uses T-Mobile and he had the same rates as I did BUT he had unlimited data which we really needed because we used his phone for navigation, which is huge. He could connect to the internet at all times and it is included in the T-Mobile over 55 plan. I’ll be changing carriers to T-Mobile soon.
8. I wore cargo pants only for this trip because I wanted to have possession of my passport on my person at all times. The extra side pockets came in handy and it was a good choice for me.
I hope this info is valuable to some of you. Thanks to all for the advice and information you have posted previously.