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16 November 2016

Flying Overseas Via MAC Flight.

What is it really like taking a MAC flight. I documented my flight from Norfolk to Bahrain and his is how it went.

All MAC Flights will differ but this is only my experience and what you might expect to happen taking a MAC flight from Norfolk to Bahrain for PCS.

Bags and Carry-on

When I recieved my port call it stated I was allowed 2 checked bags at 70lb a piece and it said nothing about Carry-On bags.  I called the Norfolk AMC Terminal to clarify what I could bring her is what I found out.

Even though the port call stated 70lb per checked bag this is a pooled weight so you can combine your two bags to equal 140lb.

You are allowed 2 carry on bags as long as they fit in the overhead or under the seat.


Upon checking in you need to have a copy of your orders, ID (Passport CAC etc), your check bags and it is a good idea to have your carry on items as well.  When you check in the attendant will take the copy of your orders, and weigh your check bags. Additionally you will get weighed along with you carry on items.  At this point you will get a ticket and be free to go till  1 hour before boarding time.
(Seating is based off first come bases so when you receive your port call it is good to find out when the earliest time is that you can check-in and get a good seat.)

Plane Types

I asked wat type of plane we would be flying on and was told a C17.  upon arriving for boarding it turned out to be a Boeing 767 so I got lucky.
The 767 is most like a commercial flight including a decent meal (Pics Below).  Other planes that you could fly out on include C17's, C130's etc....  Here is a site I found that explains each type of plane in detail including noise level and comfort.


You are told to arrive one hour before the flight boarding time.  When I checked in for my flight there was NO line to get through security and no line for check-in.   When I came back an hour and a half before boarding time the Line for security was out the door and the check in line was 12 deep this is another reason to check-in early.  After I got through security I just had to wait.  Norfolk AMC Terminal has a food place you can buy sodas, lumpia and other snacks from. The food there was like any bowling ally food and helped pass the time.

After waiting an hour and 45 min we started to board.  The order of boarding does not go by seat number but by destination.   First they will board all people with small kids or people that need assistance.  After they board people by first destination to last.  This method can cause some issues and when one person is off a row it makes everyone off.  Other then the order everything is the same as a commercial flight including the flight attendant instructions in case of a crash.

Flight Time
Flight times will vary based on what plane you get but our times were around 7 hours to Rota, 2 and a half to Siganella and 5 hours to Bahrain.   The plane I was on had in flight entertainment including movies and TV shows.


The first leg of my trip was Norfolk to Rota.  This flight took about 7-8 hours and included 2 meals.  The first I had an option between pasta and red sauce or Chicken and rice.  As you can see in the pic below I chose the Chicken.  It included the chicken and rice, a little salad, a roll wit butter, and a slice of pound cake.   Near the end of flight I was offered a sandwich I did not take it but my neighbors looked good.


When you land you will have to wait for the host nation to come on-board and give you instructions.  At each stop I went to they first let GS15 and  O6’s off first then the people that was there final destination and then families then everyone left.

Don't expect to see much of the countries you stop at.

My first stop was Rota when we got off the plane we walked to a small terminal.  Inside we had a few vending machine that accepted US Cash, a couple dozen US power plugs and if you leave the departure Terminal and head to the main Terminal there was WiFi available but you have to ask for the password.  When you return to the departure terminal you have to go through security again.   

My second stop was Siganella Italy here we got off the plane and bussed to the terminal.  In the boarding terminal one coke vending machine and a small USO gedunk.  If you leave the boarding terminal there was a couple more vending machines and another gedunk but you will have to go through security again.  There was wifi available and the power outlets were also US standard but there were only a few of them.

Since you only stay as long as it takes to refuel the time spent at each stop will vary and that is why you can't leave the terminal.   We had 1 person that did not return in time for the departur from Rota and you don't want to be that guy.

Final Destination.

When I landed at my destination Bahrain we waited for the representative from the country, and waited some more and a little more.  When the rep finally got on the intercom they told us laws and such.  A quick note if you are female and flying to Bahrain ware something that has NO cleavage or they may not let you off the plane.  When we got off the plane all the people for Bahrain walked a few hundred feet to the costumes office.   This part moved a little slow as they checked ID's  like your CAC or Passport.  There were two lines for the ID check one for Military and one for Civilians.   After the ID check carry on bags were scanned and the you get directed to an outside area to wait for your checked bags.   There were very few bag carts so you may want to grab one quick.

That is pretty much how the trip goes.  If you have questions leave them in the comments bellow.
I will be posting about living in the area I am now in later posts.


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