Do Military Dependents Get Free Checked Bags On American Airlines – These are not the words people want to hear when starting their OCONUS PCS. But from there, things got crazier and crazier for Megan and her husband. They were supposed to take the AMC Patriot Express flight, but they ended up taking the commercial flight.
After a series of unfortunate events, they finally made it to USAG Bavaria. Megan was kind enough to share her experience with us, as well as some tips on how to make your journey less stressful!
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Do Military Dependents Get Free Checked Bags On American Airlines
It’s not the most luxurious flight, but it will certainly be the cheapest. And for that reason, it’s the most popular way for people to come to Germany.
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In fact, you may be required to use Patriot Express. Check your order for confirmation before booking yourself a commercial flight. The most common exception is no seat, but you need a rare or serious case for a commercial flight to be approved.
Patriot Express also known as “The Rotator” or “Cat B Flight” is a Department of Defense (DoD) commercial charter flight operated by Air Mobility Command (AMC). It is responsible for transporting passengers under official military travel orders – especially for military families with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) order to overseas missions.
However, Patriot Express flights will often have a mix of “PCSers” (those arriving and departing from new/old mission locations) and those leaving flying “Space-A”.
Space-A travel is the process that allows eligible travelers to fill “Space-Available” vacancy on board aircraft for official business trips.
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Like most commercial airliners you’ll ever be on, Patriot Express offers comparable amenities like designated seats, in-flight meal service (special meals with advanced requests), civilian flight attendants, movies, headsets and pet transport.
Pacific routes: If PCS flies to the Pacific region (such as Japan, Guam, and South Korea), these flights depart from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the United States.
European routes: If PCS is to a European region (such as Germany), then routes begin at Baltimore International Airport in the United States. If PCSing is to European regions outside of Germany, your Patriot Express flight may originate from Naval Base Norfolk, VA.
One of the positives of using Patriot Express is that everyone on the flight was in the same situation as you. So when everyone landed at Ramstein Air Force Base, everyone was given instructions on what to do and where to go next.
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So if you’re really worried about missing a step or getting lost, this flight might make your transition to Germany a little easier.
Important Tip: You can reserve a Patriot Express flight for you and your pet up to 90 days in advance of the reporting date (RNLTD)
Patriot Express only travels from Baltimore (BWI) to Ramstein on specific dates. No matter where you are in the US, you need to get yourself, your family, and your luggage to BWI in time for your flight.
The travel office at your current station can take care of your flight itineraries, but be sure to double-check to make sure your flights are booked and paid for!
Exceptions And Waivers For Our Baggage Policies
Don’t forget to get commander grants for your family members. Check out our PCS Checklist blog post for all the things you need to remember on the go!
• 1 45-inch carry-on item (small suitcase, bag, backpack) to fit on top or under seat
• 1 portable personal item (wallet, cosmetic box, briefcase) that fits on top or under a chair
And that’s every person. However, keep in mind that you will still have to carry it from airport to airport, on the bus, and then to your hotel!
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After a nine-hour flight, you’ll land in Ramstein, located on the opposite side of Germany from USAG Bavaria. After you’ve picked up your luggage, you’ll check in at the Ramstein Inn (located across from the station above Ramstein SUPER BX) or you’ll stay in a nearby town (contact your unit or sponsor for accommodations) live).
Important Tip: If you’re taking the Patriot Express, you don’t need to reserve your transportation from Ramstein to Grafenwoehr/Vilseck when you land. USAREUR (Army Command for Operations Across Europe and Africa) is in charge of that.
After a good night’s sleep (hopefully), the bus will take you to Grafenwoehr/Vilseck. It’s a long way and it will probably take all day.
. You can see on Google maps that it is less than 5 hours, but since you are traveling on a slow bus and the bus driver is taking a break, driving will take a long time.
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. Please note that by German law, all pets must stay in their kennel under the bus for the entire journey. You can potty them when the bus breaks.
But when you start building 244 at USAG Bavaria Grafenwoehr, you’ll start processing and meeting your sponsor.
Can you avoid the bus? Good question. Although uncommon, you can ask your sponsor to pick you up at Ramstein. If they’re kind enough to give you a ride, give them gas for the ride and make sure their vehicle is big enough for your whole family, luggage, and any pet crates.
Occasionally, newly arrived families will take the time to thoroughly share their Patriot Express experience. This is useful as it gives you a realistic perspective of what you can expect from BWI to Ramstein.
Us Military Housing, Barracks, And Housing Allowance
Meet Emily Poplawski and her military family of 5 (+ dogs) who joined the Patriot Express in June 2022.
“We flew out of BWI. We are a family of 5 with 3 young children (8, 6, 2).
We have 8 checked baggage, 5 hand luggage, 5 backpacks (personal items), a stroller, a car seat and a large dog in the 48″ Impact crate. We arrived at BWI confusingly early (because we are nervous people). We arrived at 10 am.
We were dropped off at the AMC door and my husband went in and down the USO stairs to find a volunteer and a stroller. We arrived early so the USO volunteer was not upstairs yet. The trolley is on the left as you go through the airport door. The USO lady directed us to sit on the first bench. The diagonal benches opposite the AMC table is where they started lining up families. While waiting at the bench, you will receive a baggage tag for your checked baggage and paperwork to fill out for a health check. You can go downstairs and get snacks and food from USO while you wait, but there should always be someone around to hold your luggage.
Military Pcs Move Important Items & Documents
At 13:20 they started the health check (common questionnaire with questions about COVID). For families, a member of the health care team visits families and checks paperwork and vaccine cards.
***Note if you have J&J and you can’t prove you’ve had a booster shot, you’ll need a negative PCR. There is an airport healthcare facility next to Starbucks that can complete PCR in about 30 minutes. Tricare will cover the cost of the PCR, otherwise $250.
Once you’ve completed the physical, the military member will bring the forms to a white table set up in the corner of the station near the trolley. Families are instructed to move into line for the check-in counter. Family and pets are the only ones in this line. For our flight, there were two baggage checkers.
Once called to the counter, the staff will ask for the card, order, nato order, health certificate or so-called bilingual 7-page document (for pets) and passport free of charge fees (make sure they are signed). They consider everything you’re flying with. One of our checked baggage was over weight but our agent was nice and didn’t charge us.
These Airlines Offer Military Discounts On Flights And Baggage
Notice when we went to check on our dog at 18:00, families were walking in and just starting the process. The line was completely gone and they went straight to the counter. I know they made the flight.
We already have a dog so the next step is for families with pets. If you don’t have a pet, jump down to the security area. So when we checked in our luggage, we were instructed to stay in this secure area until 2 hours before our flight so we could hand over our dog. When you enter the station, the pet turning area is to the left of the counter. Opposite the white table for medical examination. Our flight was at 20:05 so they started accepting dogs at 18:05. We are the 4th out of 6 registered dogs. This process is extremely quick. They are checking to make sure the kennel is suitable for the flight and that the dog is lying properly. We flew with the largest collapsible Impact crate ever produced. We added tsa rails, back and front piece to make it flyable. Our dog is a 66 lb Siberian husky. We have no problem.
As we said goodbye to our dog, we headed to the security area. Military members and dependents who have been approved for TSA pre-screening,
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