Hooray! You’ve determined you are eligible to fly space a, Category 6! Everyone at Lady Cat 6 (me) is thrilled for you!
Before you can travel, you must sign up. The good news is, Category 6 AMC sign ups (some non-AMC affiliated Navy, Marine Corps,and other terminals are different) are good for 60 days! The bad news is, Cat 6 is the lowest space a travel category. Outer space a, so to speak. As you can imagine, and may have unfortunately experienced, there are a lot of people who come ahead of Cat 6!
The first thing to understand is, what are you signing up to do? This basic concept has tripped up many a new Cat 6 traveler! You are signing up to fly out of a particular air terminal. It does not matter at all where you are bound to. You are also not signing up for a particular flight. You are only signing up to fly from. You may sign up at as many terminals as you wish. There is no limit. You must, however, submit a sign-up to each terminal you wish to fly out of. And, you may sign up for both your outbound and return trips, as long as your return will be within your 60 day window.
The sign up process may be completed in person (should you be fortunate enough to live near an AMC terminal location), via email, snail mail, fax, or, for a very few terminals, over the phone. There is an official form (of course there is!) – AMC Form 140, available at the AMC travel site: http://www.amc.af.mil/Portals/12/documents/AFD-140926-014.pdf that may be downloaded, filled in and dropped off, faxed or attached to an email. However, this form is not necessary. As long as you include all the information required, you may use whatever structure suits you. The sponsor of Lady Cat 6 has developed an email draft that includes the following:
Sponsor’s Date of birth
Location at sign up – name of city and time zone (very important for establishing priority at roll call!)
Sponsor’s status: Cat VI
Seats (the number of seats being requested)
Dependent date of birth
Destination address (you may say unknown at this time)
Destinations (up to five countries may be listed – it does not matter what you list)
As long as you include this information, your sign up will be accepted even if you do not use the official form.
Where do you send this information?
The internet is your friend! There is a very handy website, called Take a Hop: www.takeahop.com that has an excellent sign up form! Simply fill in the information, then click on the bases you would like the form submitted to. There is a limit of five bases per form, but you may fill out as many forms as you wish. Take a Hop will send the sign up request to each of the bases you select. They will also provide you with an archive copy of the email they send.
If you wish to develop your own, personalized sign up format, you will need email addresses or fax numbers for each terminal you wish to submit your form to. Again, the internet, and Facebook, are your friends! You will find the web (Facebook) pages of all AMC, and several non-AMC terminals at the AMC travel website: http://www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/ The list is on the right hand side of their page. The email address and fax numbers (if they accept fax sign ups) will be in the “about” section of each Facebook page. These pages are also indispensable because they also show the 72 hour flight forecast, which will be discussed later. My sponsor has copied the email addresses of many terminals into his contacts list. When he wishes to sign up, he pulls up his template, adds each terminal he wants to travel from to the “To” line, and sends it off. Done.
- Very few terminals will send confirmation verifying they’ve received your email. They are just too busy.
- And so, it is extremely important that YOU keep a copy of your sent mail, or the archive copy of your take a hop sign up confirmation! You may print out paper copies if you are a paper person, but an electronic copy will suffice. When travel time arrives and you go to the terminal to mark yourself present (information on this step of the process coming soon!), you may need this confirmation mail to establish your date and time of sign up. If the terminal representatives have not entered your email into their system (this has happened to us with surprising frequency), and you have no proof that you’ve sent a request, your date and time of sign up will become the date and time you checked in at the counter on travel day. This could be disastrous! Be SURE you have a copy of your sign up with you!
Whew! Signing up seemed so easy and straightforward, but there’s a lot to absorb here! I think Lady Cat 6 will leave the rest until next week. Spend some time exploring the web links, perusing the forms, and reviewing the sign up mechanics. Should you have questions, I am happy to answer!
Coming next: Sign up strategy!