The Patriot Express is a Department of Defense-chartered air travel transiting between Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Ramstein Air Base.
All Department of the Army personnel and family members incoming to U.S. Army in Europe on permanent change of station orders with assignments in Germany will use the flights from BWI as the first option of travel.
Personnel stationed in Germany and returning on PCS orders to the U.S. will also use the flights to BWI as their primary air transportation method. PE flights are also a viable transportation method for travelers from Germany on temporary duty orders to the Baltimore/D.C. area.
The Ramstein Gateway Reception Center is fully operational and capable of fully supporting the travel requirements of arriving Soldiers and family members. Personnel PCSing into theater are required to use the PE flights to arrive at the Ramstein Gateway. Any arrivals to a commercial airport in Germany will result in serious delays for arriving Soldiers and families due to transportation restrictions and force protection. Therefore all personnel arriving at Frankfurt or other commercial airports in Europe are required to coordinate transportation with their gaining unit sponsor prior to their CONUS or OCNUS departure. If the Soldier arrives to Frankfurt without a sponsor he or she must attempt to contact the gaining unit for transportation. In rare cases where the Soldier is unable to contact the sponsor or gaining unit the Soldier can contact the Frankfurt International Airport United Services Organization (USO) located at Terminal 1, Arrival Hall C, open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, closed on New Year's Day (+49 6996-86-8708 or +49 6996-86-4398) for further assistance.
Using PE flights enhances the international travel experience for Army personnel and their families:
- Higher luggage weight allowance (70 pounds. per piece instead of 50 pounds.)
- Significant savings on pet travel costs (approximately $110 per pet, two pet limit)
- U.S. forces veterinarian reviews documents to clear pets to enter Germany
The goal is to have all arriving personnel processed and transported to their new communities the day they arrive. In event this is not possible due to time or distance restrictions, they will be provided overnight facilities and transported the next day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Who is eligible to use the PE?
A1: The PE is open to all DOD personnel and family members on assignment to Germany or currently in Germany with an assignment back to the Continental United States.
Q2: How do I schedule a PE flight?
A2: Contact your local SATO travel office to schedule a PE flight.
Q3: What is the flight schedule?
A3: Flights will leave BWI on a Monday, arrive at RAB on Tuesday and return to BWI the same day. PE flights may depart on other days as well (TMO offices will provide travel options).
Q4: Can I use the PE for temporary duty travel?
A4: Yes. The PE will be the first option of travel when making PCS or TDY arrangements to the Continental United States. When booking travel through SATO, the agent will first check the availability of the PE. If there are vacant seats and the date of the flight meets mission requirements, then the PE will be the mode of travel. If the PE is not an option, customers will be booked on a commercial flight.
Q5: Will it be more convenient for me to fly into RAB than it was to Frankfurt?
A5: Yes. The team at RAB will track the flights from BWI and will know of any travel delays. They will meet you regardless of arrival time, help you clear customs, and arrange military transportation to your new duty station.
Q6: Will my sponsor still pick me up from the airport when PCSing to Germany?
A6: Yes, sponsors are authorized to pick up incoming PCS personnel. All sponsors are required to report to the front desk in the passenger terminal to fill out the required release documentation for incoming personnel to be released.
Q7: Can the PE be used for space available travel?
A7: Yes. The PE will allow the Air Mobility Command personnel at RAB and BWI to use available seats for space-available travel, which will aid personnel on leave status with travel to and from Germany and the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas.
Q8: What if I am traveling with pets?
A8: People traveling with pets should notice a significant savings; although cost for pet travel from the current duty station to BWI will vary based on airline and origin of travel. The cost for the international leg of the flight is expected to average approximately $110 per pet. A veterinarian on duty at the Reception Operations at RAB will review documents to clear pets to enter Germany. There is a two pet limit when traveling on the Patriot Express.
Q9: How many bags am I allowed and what is the weight allowance?
A9: Passengers authorized to check two pieces of baggage, each weighing up to 70 pounds
Q10: My husband is already stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and I plan to join him t here when my paperwork is ready. Can I use the PE if he doesn't fly with me?
A10: Your husband does not have to fly with you for you to be eligible to use the PE flight. Any military ID card holder can fly on the PE provided there are an adequate number of seats still available on a flight.
Q11: Will my cat be able to fly in the cabin with me?
A11:You should contact the Ramstein AB passenger terminal for further information about pet travel on PE flights. The terminal can be reached by phone at DSN (314) 479-4440; Commercial within Germany 06371-46-4440; and Commercial from the U.S. 011-49-6371-46-4440, or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q12: We can't get a pet reservation on PE, and according to United Airlines, we can only ship pets directly with the airline if the pet is small enough to be considered excess baggage and can travel in the cabin with the pet owner. But my pet is bigger than that. What do I do?
A12:Commercial pet shipping companies are available. Price is usually determined by destination and volume (the size of the transport box, not the weight of the animal). The transport box must be large enough for a dog to stand upright and to lie down. The shipping company may have boxes for sale but you can use your own boxes as well. Shot records for the animal and a very recent health certificate from a vet are required for shipping.
Q13: What options do I have for traveling with my pet?
A13: While government-funded pet transportation is not authorized, travelers are entitled to reimbursement for transportation expenses incurred between their old Permanent Duty Station (PDS) and their new PDS, including the portion of travel in-between. Additionally, when performing official travel from one PDS to the next PDS, per diem is authorized for the official portion of the travel. Per diem consists of lodging, meals and incidental expenses. If there is no space available on the PE flight the traveler still has the option to ship the pet via commercial carrier or through air cargo (both unaccompanied).
Some additional options to offset the cost of pet shipping include, but are not limited to:
Ship a POV to the port of Baltimore in advance of official travel (at least 45 days prior) and drive to PDS or leave address. This option requires coordination with the local transportation office. Source specific guidance is the JFTR, Chapter 5, U5435.
IAW JFTR para U5105, travelers may rent a car from BWI to PDS (non-reimbursable, except for the mileage @ $.555 per mile).
Transport pet via commercial or government air (PE) in advance of travel (non-reimbursable).
Q14: What is the summer heat embargo?
A14: During the summer months -- May through September -- airlines may impose a summer heat embargo and will not allow individuals to transport pets in the cargo compartment. Pets will not be accepted by most U.S. airlines when the current or forecasted temperature at the arrival or departure airport is above 84F (29C) or 75F for snub-nosed dogs and cats.
Q15: What pets are commonly restricted from traveling on commercial airlines?
A15: Some examples of snub-nosed dogs and cats restricted from traveling on commercial airline carries are: American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffin, Bulldog, Chinese Pug, Chow Chow, Dutch Pug, English Bulldog, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Japanese Boxer, Japanese Pug, Japanese Spaniel (Chin), Mastiff (all breeds), Pekingese, Pit Bull, Pug, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, Burmese, Exotic, Himalayan and Persian.
Q16: How many spaces for pets are there on the PE?
A16: Currently there are 10 pet spaces, for cats and dogs only, available on the Tuesday PE flight primarily used for PCS transportation. Each week there are also three other PE flights, (formerly known as Cat B or “Freedom Bird” or “Rotator”) flying Soldiers from the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility that transit through RAB to BWI, and these often have temperature-controlled spaces for pets. These offer up to 40 pet allocations per week.
Q17: If my pet is small enough, can it travel with me in the cabin on the PE?
A17: A very limited quantity of small pets may be authorized to travel in cabin. Pets must be able to fit comfortably in a kennel (hard-sided or soft-sided) no larger than 20 inches long by 16 inches wide by 8 inches high, in order to fit under the seat in front of you. Pets must be able to stand up, lie down and turn around with normal posture and body movements.
For more information on Patriot Express:
DSN: (314) 479-4435
Commercial from Germany: 06371-46-4435
Commercial from USA: 011-49-6371-46-4435