Veteran Lawerence Spinetta saw a problem. The US military offers service members and veterans no or low-cost travel on military flights if space is available. If there’s an empty seat, a veteran can reserve a spot on a Space-A (military speak for Space Available) and hop on board. But there’s no central booking agency to reserve these flights. You can’t just head to Orbitz and order yourself up a swing seat in the cargo hold of a C-130 bound for Honolulu. The only way to find out what flights are available is to call your local military base and listen to a recorded message that tells you what flights are available. To make things more complicated, the base only lists its own flights. To check multiple nearby bases, you have to call them all individually.
Often, calling a base results in a busy signal, as the recorded messages only have a single line. Repeat calls can be necessary to get through.
For older veterans that are hard of hearing, finding a Space-A flight was often a frustrating experience, and Lawrence was here to help. Despite not having much development experience, Mr. Spinetta started looking for a way to simplify the process of finding a Space-A flight. He wanted to automate the process of collecting the available flights, and says that “no other service compared to Tropo’s ease of use, features, and price.”
The result is SpaceAFlights.Net, a service that calls each of the flight bases each day, records and transcribes the available flight messages, and posts the flight schedules online. A veteran still needs to contact the base to schedule their flight, but SpaceAFlights.net makes the process of finding an open spot much easier. You can even use a mobile app or subscribe to daily email alerts for your favorite base’s flights as they open up.
As a beginning programmer, Mr. Spinetta appreciated Tropo’s round-the-clock developer support, saying that our support staff was “very responsive [and] answered technical questions in simple, easily understandable terms.”
For his service to the community, Tropo has donated a significant number of call credits to SpaceAFlights.net so that this service can continue to be available to active military, veterans, and their families. Tropo is proud to sponsor SpaceAFlights.Net and looks forward to seeing how it grows in the future.