Military travelers in Europe using space-available flights should pack light or risk having to jettison stuff at the airport to meet weight limits, according to troops who work at the terminals.

And while much of the traffic lately has been holiday-related, people who are changing duty stations also were warned not to carry too much onto the plane.

“If you need two people to pick up your bag, it’s too heavy,” said Master Sgt. Gregory Theroux of the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Theroux estimated that 700 or more U.S.-bound passengers flying space-A passed through Ramstein in recent days. Baggage problems, he said, are a daily problem.

Whether on official or space-A status, passengers can check in just two pieces of baggage, which cannot exceed 70 pounds each. If those limitations aren’t met, the bag will be counted as two pieces. Items exceeding 100 pounds won’t be accepted and must be moved as freight.

Getting around by space-A, Theroux said, isn’t much different from flying commercial. If a bag is too big to be allowed onto a commercial flight, such as a connecting flight within the United States, chances are it’s too big to fly space-A.

Flight availability also is like commercial flying, he said, in that chances of getting a seat are better for travelers going against the flow of traffic than in the same direction as everyone else at the same time.

Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany, is a major hub for space-A travel.

“The main [problem] I see is clothes,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Eighmey of the 726th Air Mobility Squadron at Rhein-Main. “How you can have over 70 pounds of clothes, I don’t know.”

Persons changing duty stations sometimes make the mistake of assuming their 350-pound limit placed on work-related items translates into 350 pounds they can bring onto the plane.

“Most of the people who happen to fly through [Ramstein] are on official travel,” Theroux said. “They’re taking their normal baggage, and were told they could also ship equipment and supplies with them.

“Sometimes that is misinterpreted.”

Larger items such as office equipment, Theroux said, normally have to be shipped as freight.

There are certain exceptions. B4 duffel and sea bags are allowed as one piece regardless of size, provided they don’t weigh more than 100 pounds. That policy also applies to large garment bags, golf clubs, snow skis, bicycles, fishing equipment, rucksacks and musical instruments.

Travelers are advised to phone the terminal if they have questions on what they can take, as well as for updates on the status of space-A flights.

Additional information is available at:

Reporter Vince Little in Yokota Air Base, Japan, contributed to this report.

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