Space-A Flight #5: Charleston, SC to JBSA Lackland/Kelly Airfield, San Antonio

Posted on Mar 8, 2015

Here we are . . . only the Lord and the pilot of this aircraft know how many feet in the sky . . . and on a Space-A flight. This time we are headed to Lackland AFB, which is right outside San Antonio, TX.

Our trek began this morning by departing our home at 4:45 AM and driving to Pope Airfield as it is only fifteen minutes from our home. Here was our ultimate plan:

  • 5:30 AM roll call from Pope AFB, NC to Charleston AFB, SC
  • 9:15 AM roll call from Charleston, AFB to Lackland AFB, TX
  • Get rental car and drive to McAllen, TX
  • Stay with my sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Mark, until Monday, March 10th, as they are spending the winter in Weslaco, Texas
  • Spent the night in McAllen on March 10th
  • Fly out on AA on award flights back into Fayetteville, NC, Tuesday, March 11th (got those flights for only 12.5K miles per person)

Well, we drove to Pope at O’ Dark-Thirty, and the terminal appeared pretty dark. Bryan went inside and there was a fellow who told him that it wasn’t open yet. So he returned to the car, and about five minutes later, three men in AF jumpsuits pulled up beside us and explained that the flight had been pushed to the right (tomorrow).

Bryan and I decided to risk it and see if we could make it to Charleston before the 9:15 AM roll call. We figured that the worst thing that could happen is that we end up missing the flight, and we’d get to spend a lovely day in Charleston. 🙂 Our GPS showed that we had twenty-five minutes to spare, so we sped here (term used VERY loosely), lol, and arrived at 9:12 AM! Praise the Lord!

There were 54 seats available, and we were two of three people wanting to go on this flight, so we made it! After checking in, Bryan ran outside to move our car about two blocks away into the long-term parking while I hung out in the terminal.

That is when they informed us that the flight would be taking off at 2:30 PM. Okay . . . typical “hurry-up-and-wait” military fashion. Not a big deal, HEY! We’re getting a FREE flight!!!

An employee approached me and said that Bryan and I could wait in the “Special Privileges Lounge” when we were finished checking in. It didn’t really compute what that meant until I went to check it out. VERY NICE!! I guess if you’re a certain rank you’re allowed to wait in there. Being the only people in that set of rooms, I took a nap on the leather, and might I add, very comfy sofa! This was AWESOME! Even though our recoveries are coming along amazingly well, my back can still get rather achy at times after many hours of travel and not much movement. I had the best hour and a half nap. What a blessing!

About 1:30 PM, a big pick-up truck came to escort us to the aircraft. Upon driving the 500 or so yards to the plane, we were told that it would be another half hour, so they drove us back to the terminal.

Here we go again . . . back into a huge pick-up and we were driven to the C-17. An airman grabbed our bags, we walked up the flight of steps into the cavernous, empty area, and each took our seat up against the perimeter of the wall.

We are prepared for a 3.5 hour flight. Everyone is given a set of earplugs as it is pretty loud in here. Passengers do not have any restrictions as to movement, wearing seatbelts, activities, etc. When my grandkids traveled on one of these flights quite a while ago, they played kickball down the center of the craft with the children of the only other family on board!!! Can you imagine?

It is not unusual to see people pull out bedrolls and make themselves nice and comfy on the floor.

What can I say about Space-A travel? It is a blessing, a privilege, and quite the adventure! You never really know if you’re taking off or not until that plane is up in the air.

By the way, I was granted the surprise opportunity to sit up in the cockpit for the last half hour before landing!!! It was a beautiful and exciting ride!

Isn’t life grand?

Lisa 🙂

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