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John Kerry Racks Up More Frequent Flyer Miles after 757 Breaks Down


After his Air Force jet broke down, Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to rely on a commercial flight to get him from Vienna, Austria, to Washington.

Continued problems with the State Department Boeing 757 grounded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday. ABC News reports that after being stranded by the aircraft, Kerry flew back to Washington on an Austrian Airlines flight.

Kerry was in Vienna to attend negotiations on Iran’s contested nuclear program. The Wall Street Journal reports that fuel tank issues prevented the aircraft from returning as scheduled. Instead of waiting on repairs, Kerry opted to hop a commercial flight home.

AFP reports Thursday’s incident marks the fourth time this year that the State Department’s Boeing 757 has been grounded while deployed and the second time in the past three months.

Kerry was previously stranded in August, when he was trying to return from Honolulu during the final leg of an international trip through southern Asia. A State Department official spoke anonymously with The Washington Post and said electrical issues resulted in the grounding at Hickam Air Force Base. Kerry returned to Washington in first class on a United flight, reportedly telling his staff, “Finally, some frequent flyer miles!”

[Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo via ABC]

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Indelaware October 17, 2014

@relangford. The JTR only applies to DOD personnel. Others in USG fall under the FTR. http://www.gsa.gov/portal/ext/public/site/FTR/file/Chapter301p010.html/category/21868/#wp1088868 covers the exceptions for travel other than coach class. There are several possible reasons fos USSoS flying first class, including: Non-availability of lower class service. Exceptional security issues. Quite reasonable given his rank and documents he might have read during flight. Cost differential of FC paid for with non-government funds. USSoS can afford it.

relangford October 17, 2014

I thought government employees, under the JTR, were only allowed premium class tickets in very narrow circumstances. Although a last-minute flight might have meant he could only get FC, I guess Cabinet-level folks get extra perks not for us common people. Sounds like time to refurbish the State Department plane (do they have only ONE, or is this the only one for the Secretary?).