For military - active, retired, spouses/dependents, etc.

Discussion in 'Money Talk$' started by Don, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Don

    Don
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    Based on experiences over the last couple of weeks, I've found some things that I feel I should pass on. Most of these, most military folks probably already know; but if there's anything that can help, I hope to pass it on. Don't know if any of this is applicable to Reservists or Guardsmen; you'll need to check with your local travel folks to find out.

    1. If being assigned to an overseas location, ensure that ALL of your dependents are identified as "command sponsored." Any children that are in school are then authorized one "free" trip a year. You have to procure the ticket, but it goes on your government travel card. You file a travel voucher for the trip, and get reimbursed.

    2. www.military.com has a section for travel; you have to select "Off Duty," then the tab for "Travel." It works like Expedia, Orbitz, etc.; but it searches for military rate airlines. For example, a plane ticket I just recently researched was $387 on Orbitz; but only $282 on Military.com.
    - Note 1: it won't let you book flights within 24 hours. Basically, it requires you to plan ahead at least 2 days.
    - Note 2: Ensure that you pay attention to the flight. Off to the right of each identified flight, it'll let you know if there's a penalty for cancellations or changes. American Airlines, for example, is usually a non-penalty flight; United and Delta, however, are not.
    - Note 3: Again, pay attention to the flight and other information. With most of these airlines, there's an extra charge for baggage (United, for example, charges $25 per checked bag); this has the unfortunate side-effect of making take-off times a few minutes delayed, because a lot of people are trying to save the $25 per bag and carry on as much luggage as they can. On the other hand, the web site indicated that American Airlines had additional baggage charges; but when I checked into the terminal, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they didn't charge me for up to 3 bags for each person.

    3. Continental Airlines has a separate section on their website for military/government rates; select the "Products and Services" tab, then select "Travel for Military and Government Personnel." These rates are usually lower than their standard fares.

    4. Southwest has some outstanding web deals. Unfortunately, those incur penalties for changes/cancellations. HOWEVER, they were kind enough to only charge me the difference between my original tickets and the cost of the new tickets. PLUS, they don't charge for baggage.

    5. Space-Available travel is seriously hit or miss. I have seen quite a few folks over the last month or so that are stuck in terminals because they don't have a high enough priority.
    - Note 1: First, remember the time frame you're traveling. June 1 is especially heinous because graduations just occurred, coupled with Memorial Day weekend; active duty military people are traveling in droves, and always are a higher category than retirees.
    - Note 2: Holiday weekends are nasty, too. I flew Space-A into Las Vegas; the terminal on the base was closed for the holiday weekend, and the one guy who was there told us they never should have let us on the plane.
    - Note 3: Use takeahop.com to sign up for your Space-A travel; beats trying to sign in at each terminal.
    - Note 4: If using Space-A, try your best to travel as light as possible. There are many flights that may be going to your desired location, but have a "one bag, no more than 50 pounds" limit.

    Okay, more later.
     
  2. Salty

    Salty
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    When you say school, I thing you actually mean college. Another wards, a student will not be authorized an annual trip for just being in high school
     
  3. Don

    Don
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    Depends on the situation...but in most cases, yes, college.
     

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