A new study shows that airfare and hotel prices are cheaper for military personnel than for the general public, and that military members and their families can afford to do so.
The study, conducted by Air Force Academy researcher Matthew J. Wiebe, looked at the cost of Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps flight tickets as of December 31, 2018.
The study found that military personnel make up roughly one-third of the general population, and travel costs for those individuals are roughly equivalent to those of people without military service.
“We found that for each additional dollar in the price of travel, military personnel pay about $1.45 less per year than they would in the absence of military travel,” Wieb said in a statement.
“That means a military member could save $5,500 annually for their family.”
Wiebe also found that the cost for hotel rooms and other travel expenses was similar for military and non-military households, and the overall cost of living for military members was about $3,000 lower than for people without a military service affiliation.
The report analyzed the average cost of the three types of travel for individuals and families, as well as the cost to purchase a single ticket.
Military members, who are paid in part for their service, were more likely to be able to afford to buy the most expensive ticket, and they were also more likely than the general civilian population to have purchased multiple tickets, according the study.
Wieb also found a correlation between price of ticket purchases and the military members’ gender.
Male military members who purchased tickets at the lowest prices were about 3.6 times more likely as their female counterparts to have bought multiple tickets than their male counterparts.
The Air Force is the only service in the U.S. that doesn’t pay for its members to travel on Air Force and Navy Air Force Reserve missions.
This policy, however, does not apply to Air Force members and family members on other active duty military duty.
Wiesbe said the study did not factor in the cost savings that military travel may offer to civilian family members, however.
Military members are often required to purchase military travel to be allowed to travel between bases, but the Air Force does not provide the same benefits as those on other service branches, according a spokesman for the Air National Guard.
Wiesbe’s findings were published in the online journal Military Studies and Policy.