Looking for a Space-A flight to Germany? How about Spain or the U.K.? You can take a “military hop” to all of those places from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (“McGuire” or “JBMDL”).
McGuire is one of the most active Space-A bases on the East Coast. It has regular flights in all directions, including frequent missions to Europe. Centrally located within a 60- to 90-minute drive of numerous civilian airports, McGuire is also convenient if you need to fly commercial to or from other parts of the country.
Here’s what you need to know when flying Space-A from JBMDL.
If you are new to Space-A flying, read this Quickstart Guide to Space-A Flights first to get a basic understanding of how the process works.
1. McGuire has regular flights to and from bases all over the U.S. and in Europe.
The military passenger terminals with the most frequent flights to and from JBMDL are: Baltimore Washington International (BWI) in Maryland, JB Andrews (Maryland), JB Charleston (South Carolina), Travis AFB (California), RAF Mildenhall (England), Ramstein AB (Germany), and Naval Station Rota (Spain).
JB McGuire also has regular, but generally less frequent, flights to and from Pope AFB (North Carolina), Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio) Dyess AFB (TX), Nellis AFB (Nevada), and JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam (Hawaii).
Please note that these are only the most frequent flights based on historical data. All Space-A flights are determined by mission needs, which change constantly.
2. JBMDL has three base lodging facilities, but only the McGuire AFB location is walking distance from the passenger terminal.
The All American Inn manages all three facilities. Their location on McGuire AFB is less than a mile from the passenger terminal. The facility on Ft. Dix (also called the Doughboy Inn) is just over 5 miles from the passenger terminal. The Inn on the Lakehurst side is approximately 20 miles from the passenger terminal.
This page has contact information for The All American Inn. For rooms on McGuire AFB and Ft. Dix, call the McGuire location. Please note that if you are assigned a room on Ft. Dix, you must still report to the main reception at the McGuire location to check in.
If base lodging is full, there are many hotels within a short distance of the base. Click here to find the closest hotels.
3. JBMDL is accessible to several civilian airports.
The closest airport is Trenton-Mercer (TTN) in New Jersey. It’s 25 miles and about 40 minutes by car. Frontier is the only airline servicing TTN.
Philadelphia International (PHL) is a 1 hr+ drive (50 miles). Newark Liberty International (EWR) is slightly farther (about 60 miles) and also about a 1-hr drive.
The JBMDL passenger terminal lists numerous airport shuttle providers under “Public Transit” on their Facebook page. (Note: you do not need a Facebook account to view the page.)
A shuttle service that is not listed on the page is Berry’s Enterprises (now called One Team, One Fight). The phone number for this veteran-owned service is (848) 224-2252.
Contact individual services for rates, but in general, you can expect to pay $50 – $65 for a ride to TTN, $90 – $110 to PHL, and $125 – $140 to EWR. Most providers also service the New York airports, and rates are upwards of $200.
If you want to save money and have time, you can get to any of the civilian airports using buses and/or trains. The journey will take 2 – 4+ hours, depending on the airport and chosen modes of transportation. Use Rome2Rio to explore the options and to see schedules and costs.
4. Rental cars are the primary local ground transportation option.
JBMDL has a base shuttle, but the route serving the passenger terminal is somewhat limited (1100 – 1900 Wednesday through Sunday). In addition, Berry’s Enterprises (referenced in #3 above) offers complimentary rides on the base.
If you want your own wheels, Hertz is the only rental car option on the base. They are located in the Ft. Dix Exchange, which is about 2 miles from the passenger terminal. A staff member may pick you up at the terminal if they aren’t busy. Taxis and Uber are the other transportation options to the Ft. Dix Exhange.
The Hertz on base frequently sells out, so make a reservation if you think you might need a car. You can always cancel if you don’t make your flight.
(Hertz has a promo through 12/31/19: Get a Free Day When You Rent For Six with code: 203968.)
Hertz is open from 0900 – 1700, but if you are flying out, you can leave your keys in the drop box at the passenger terminal and park the car in the short-term parking lot.
5. McGuire has short- and long-term parking for passengers selected for a flight.
The short-term lot is for stays of up to 30 days and is located next to the terminal. The long-term lot is near the base fitness center, about 0.5 miles from the terminal, and is available for a maximum of 60 days at a time.
To park in either lot, you must obtain a parking pass from terminal staff after you are selected for a flight.
6. The JBMDL passenger terminal is open 24 hours.
McGuire is one of the few military passenger terminals that is open 24/7. It has a large passenger waiting area, a USO, a family lounge, and a teen lounge. The USO is open 24 hours but staffed based on availability of volunteers.
Please note that passengers are prohibited from lying across the seats or on the floor of the terminal. The USO has a few comfortable chairs to recline if you want to sleep.
7. JBMDL has limited dining options within the terminal.
The Flight Kitchen serves lunch from 1100 – 1300, but that is the only meal available.
The terminal also has vending machines, and the USO offers snacks. If volunteers are staffing the USO, they may offer sandwiches or other light meals.
The closest dining options outside the terminal are Pudgy’s Sport Pub (0.6 miles) and Subway (0.9 miles).
Final Advice for Flying Space-A from JBMDL
For the smoothest journey, use the information above to research your logistics in advance. Decide how you will get to/from the base, familiarize yourself with the lodging options, and plan ahead to ensure you don’t go hungry while waiting for your flight!
JBMDL is one of the top locations on the East Coast for Space-A flight opportunities, especially to Europe. If you live in a part of the country that does not have many active air bases, and you want to know where to fly commercial to start your Space-A travel, McGuire is a great choice. Hope to see you out there soon!
Cover photo courtesy of U.S. Air National Guard.
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