Can an officer stay in the officer's mess if on a social visit to the area?

Let’s imagine I’m in Oxfordshire visiting friends and rather than staying at a hotel can I book a room at RAF Benson (providing there is space)?

Any thoughts? Any experience?

Technically I think it’s possible. Morally I believe it’s questionable.

The absolute, definitive answer is: it’s up to the mess concerned.

There are no other correct answers.


I wouldn’t.

Ask yourself whether the tax payer should be footing the majority of the bill for a leisure stay?

Given I know of people who have been unable to book into service accommodation for AT quals as it’s not classed as duty - I doubt this would change for a pleasure trip.

If you pay the off-duty rate, I’m sure the Mess will be glad to have you. If the room would otherwise be empty, what has it cost the state? If it’s a quiet mess, they may really appreciate someone using the room.


this question has been asked before and I recall the answer being pretty much:

many of the other comments above are repeats of what the original thread in question contains - found here > Clicky

personally i have to agree with contacting the Mess in question - the worst to happen is a “no” but if it has an empty room why have it empty when someone can use it?

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Generally the mess will make a slight profit from the non-duty rate, so you’re hardly costing the taxpayer.

Even if you were, if the mess is happy to have you then it can simply be seen as a perk, same as it would be for a regular or reserve officer.

Always declare you want to book a “social” room - unless they are rammed or a function on its normally (99%) of the time a yes - I did in the WO & Sgts, Senior Rates mess, Ward room, Officers mess across all 3 forces - never had an issue - cost varies considerably - but most expensive I have had was £15 at Cranwell for me and my wife.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think the answer is to ask and explain that it’s a social visit and see what they say.

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