HomeNewsArticle Display

Travel routes connect South Korea, expand Japan services

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Pacific-based Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines will soon have more options available for traveling to and from the United States beginning this April, with the re-routing of current Patriot Express flights and the addition of a third weekly flight.

New routes include the return of Patriot Express flights connecting the U.S. West Coast to the Korean peninsula.

Patriot Express flights are operated by commercial airlines contracted by the Department of Defense to provide transportation for military members, dependents and civil service employees. The Pacific Patriot Express routes originate and terminate at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Wash.

"(Pacific-based) wing commanders requested Patriot Express," said Yvonne Frazier, the Pacific Air Forces traffic management chief. "We then worked with (U.S.) Pacific Command and U.S. Transportation Command, who said, 'We'll see what we can do to help.'"

The availability of the flights in the Pacific theater is much needed, according to PACAF officials.

"The problem with (traveling in) the Pacific is you're dealing with a lot of islands separated by massive distances," said Lt. Col. Katherine Charecky, the PACAF distribution policy and vehicles branch chief. "It's not easy and it's expensive to travel."

Patriot Express flights have been available for Japan-based members since October and in April the service will connect South Korea-based members.

"One of our goals during this whole process was to expand service to Korea," said Larry Lorentzen, the TRANSCOM operations directorate's senior commercial air requirements analyst.

TRANSCOM contracts for commercial transportation on behalf of the DOD.

The new weekly flights to South Korea will depart from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and go to Yokota Air Base, Japan, Osan AB, South Korea, Kunsan AB, South Korea and then backtrack through Osan AB and Yokota AB on return to Seattle-Tacoma.

Additionally, one of the pre-existing routes connecting Japan and the U.S. has been re-worked to include a stop at Osan AB. That route will go from Seattle-Tacoma; to Misawa AB, Japan; Osan AB, and then follows the same route back to Seattle-Tacoma.

The third route, also connecting Japan-based personnel to the United States, has been changed too. It begins at Seattle-Tacoma and goes to Yokota AB, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Kadena AB and then backward to Seattle-Tacoma.

"This is an important travel option for our Navy and Marine customers on mainland Japan," Mr. Lorentzen said.

People who've flown on Pacific Express to Japan previously might notice the new routes no longer stop in Anchorage for gas. Starting in April, the contract carriers will fly the Boeing 767 on these routes.

"These are newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft so they can fly longer without having to stop and refuel," Mr. Lorentzen said.

The new aircraft not only saves gas and time, but also it provides more seating capacity on the flights, he said.

More seating capacity means there's more room for customers.

"(Permanent change of station) travelers are our primary market," Mr. Lorentzen said. "They have a 10-day travel window, and by regulation, Patriot Express should be their first course of travel."

Additionally, four-legged family members are able to fly with ease.

"The Patriot Express provides pet spaces, a big plus for our servicemembers since shipping pets can be expensive and difficult, especially during the summer temperature embargos," Ms. Frazier said.

While the service is targeted mainly toward servicemembers and families traveling on PCS moves, it's open to members traveling on temporary duty and eligible for space-available travelers. This is especially beneficial for members and families stationed at Misawa AB and MCAS Iwakuni.

"Traveling to and from Misawa (AB) and Iwakuni (MCAS) is a nightmare," Mrs. Frazier said. "You have to go from the international to domestic airport in Tokyo, dragging your bags, kids, etc. Additionally, there are only foreign flag carriers over these routes who offer limited seat pitch and baggage space. It's just more convenient for a family to travel directly into and out of a military base."

Flying Patriot Express also alleviates some of the other headaches associated with commercial airline travel due to Transportation Security Administration and airport security regulations, Colonel Charecky said.


Facebook Twitter
#MedalofHonor recipient #USAF Col. (Ret.) Joe M. Jackson was interred @ArlingtonNatl today. Known as an #AirForce H… https://t.co/Q4H59xYGA3
RT @AFSpace: "If at first you don't succeed, fly, fly again!" @NASA_Astronauts @AstroHague completed his first #spacewalk on Friday while r…
This #HercWork was truly herculean! Eight units. Seven days. One team. Recently #C130 J units from around the globe… https://t.co/QzsEWlCOqK
#ICYMI, @SecAFOfficial recently met with @Offutt_AFB leaders & elected officials to discuss the base's rebuilding e… https://t.co/FDVGeNlTi0
The #USAF is looking for men and women for the 2019 Armed Forces Triathlon June 19-23, in Ventura County,… https://t.co/Dqjgj02qC8
Part of being in the military involves traveling to foreign countries. The #380AEW Host Nation Coordination Office… https://t.co/6mKtO5NWqj
Sharp eyesight is key to an #Airman’s readiness to fly, fight & win. This #AirForce Tech Report highlights how… https://t.co/MaxAEXIOpz
Next-generation warfighting is all about data...yet sometimes our email doesn’t even load. @USecAF_Official is driv… https://t.co/5DsspMgYv8
Today is #MedalofHonorDay and we take a moment to honor our nation’s greatest heroes who have received the highest… https://t.co/B5CVsuV3vX
From foster kid to #Airman, mentor and raising the #AirForce’s next generation. @TeamMisawa https://t.co/7NmxHqOJGe https://t.co/vVoVVnjEgf
Riveting story! Learn more about Ms. Mae Krier, a #WorldWarII pioneer who joined legions of other Rosies in the wor… https://t.co/0QUBOzh4Rr
RT @HollomanAFB: Happy #NationalPuppyDay! Our #MilitaryWorkingDogs protect and defend us each and everyday. Check out these #adorable photo…
RT @AirForceMag: HIT THE BOOKS: Check out a non-exhaustive list of Air Force Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein's reading recommendations from…
Some of us are women, but we are all Airmen! #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/pcBtWWIiE6
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "Celebration of #diversity and making sure we understand the flesh colored band aids is not abou… https://t.co/iUqNbSpCPB
.@RAFMildenhall #KC135 crew strengthened relationship with Romanian #AirForce through air refueling training. For m… https://t.co/8dGvm2HQwC
RT @SecAFOfficial: Mother nature can’t beat the 55th Wing! We will recover @Offutt_AFB from the devastating flood. Amazing American 🇺🇸 spir…
Today the #AirForce announced a new Infrastructure Investment Strategy following a yearlong review that brings a ne… https://t.co/i1yDRQkaPl
RT @Offutt_AFB: As the water has begun to recede, Team Offutt is in full recovery mode. https://t.co/6QPZ96UNZY