Most of us, having been affiliated with the military, know there are a lot of abbreviations and acronyms involved in mil-speak. It’s no different with military space a travel! Watching air terminal flight forecasts, reading information at the AMC and other websites, and reading online posts, you will see more than a few “abbreviations formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as words”. Some are self-explanatory, some are a bit more challenging to decipher.
Here’s a handy list of some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms you’re going to encounter during your travels:
AMC: Air Mobility Command (formerly known as MAC: Military Airlift Command). The Air Force command responsible for moving most cargo, fuel, and passengers around the world. For an in-depth look at the history and mission of the command, see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Mobility_Command
AMCI: Air Mobility Command Instruction – the official instruction governing travel on AMC aircraft: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/amc/publication/amci24-101v14/amci24-101v14.pdf Space a travel regulations begin on page 18.
CONUS: Continental (or, contiguous) United States – the lower 48.
DTR: Defense Transportation Regulation – the source of all things defense transport-related.
F: Firm – the number of seats that have been “officially released” for a flight…which are still subject to change without notice.
OCONUS: Outside the Continental United States – includes Alaska and Hawaii.
PACAF/PACOM: Pacific Air Forces/Pacific Command – PACAF is the Air Force wing of PACOM, which has command of US forces in the Pacific and Asia. Hickam and Elmendorf are PACAF (Travis, however, is AMC). In addition to the space a opportunities offered via AMC, there are also opportunities via PACAF. The important thing for space a passengers to understand is that very few flights from PACAF locations go to the east coast, and almost none go to locations in Europe. http://www.pacaf.af.mil/ and http://www.pacom.mil/Home.aspx
PAX REP: Passenger Services Representative (the men and women behind the counter and on the phone).
PE: Patriot Express (also known as the “Rotator”). Contracted civilian airline flights intended primarily to move PCS families and deploying troops overseas. If there are seats left over, they may be used for space a passengers. PE terminals in the US are: Baltimore/Washington International Airport BWI, NAS Norfolk, NAS Jacksonville, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), and Travis AFB. http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140807-040.pdf
RON: Rest Overnight (or, Remain Overnight) – the flight will remain overnight at one of the stops enroute for mandatory crew rest – if you are manifested through, you are going to need to arrange for lodging.
SP: Seats Pending – the number of seats available has not yet been determined.
TBD: To Be Determined – the same as SP.
T: Tentative – initial number of seats projected to be released…subject to change without notice.
SPAT: Space A Traveler – a term thoroughly detested by Lady Cat 6, as it connotes either the past tense of forcefully launching a wad of mucous-y spittle out of one’s mouth, or something intended to be worn over one’s shoe, EG (for example), “I found the scoundrel utterly despicable; therefore, I spat upon his spat!”
VRC: Virtual Roll Call – the process of conducting a Roll Call for a specific flight via the exchange of emails between the air terminal and PAX who have marked themselves present for the flight. Enables prospective passengers to avoid long waits in the terminal for Roll Call and Check In. Here’s a link to an overview of the process, from the Hickam Air Terminal: https://www.facebook.com/notes/joint-base-pearl-harbor-hickam-amc-passenger-terminal/virtual-roll-call-process/607379092664837/
Of course, since we are dealing with the military, we will no doubt run into a plethora of other initials and acronyms in our travels, but these are the basics associated with space a in particular. Feel free to suggest or add others you’ve encountered orbiting about the space a universe!