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Is this cabotage?

Is this cabotage?

Old Jan 18, 19, 5:35 am
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Is this cabotage?

Hello, I am planning to visit my sister that is stationed in Guam. I went to South Korea two years ago and loved the country so we decided to fly into south korea so on the way back to the states, we can spent 12 hours there exploring and seeing south korea. My sister mentioned the cabotage law and I am extremely lost because I have never heard of this before and I have spent too many hours researching this with no clear answer.

We would be flying from Cleveland OH to ICN via Air Canada, then from ICN to Guam via Asiana, then back to ICN via Asiana, spending 12 hours there then flying back to Cleveland, OH via Air Canada.

Is this cabotage? Thanks so much for your help!

Last edited by krohaley91; Jan 18, 19 at 8:20 am
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Old Jan 18, 19, 6:01 am
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Cabotage basically means using one or more foreign airlines AND not using a domestic airline to travel between two domestic destinations. In the US it is expressly disallowed. GUM is a domestic destination, thus you can't fly CLE-YYZ-ICN-GUM without having at least one of these segments be on a US carrier, as you'd be using two foreign airlines (AC and OS) to go between two US cities. This is similar to how you can't buy a ticket between JFK and SFO via YYZ.

If you can't fit a UA segment on that ticket that you want to buy, you can buy two separate round-trip tickets (e.g. CLE-ICN and ICN-GUM), which is not considered cabotage. Just be aware that you'll have to claim and re-check bags in ICN and you would not be protected in case of misconnects.

See DL's explanation here.

Last edited by Palal; Jan 18, 19 at 6:08 am
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Old Jan 18, 19, 6:07 am
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Great thanks so much for the clarification!!
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Old Jan 18, 19, 6:54 am
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Has anyone heard if there is a certain amount of time you need to stay in south korea before flying back to the states? We are flying in for 4 hours the first time and 12 hours the second time.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 6:58 am
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All four nonstops CLE-YYZ are AC / UA codeshares. So long as you are ticketed on UA for that segment as well as the return, you will hold a CLE-GUM round-trip which does not violate the DOT rules which broadly prohibit what people call cabotage.

You will find that if you try to ticket this as AC on the first and final segments that the system won't ticket it and that sooner or later after hours on the phone, someone at AC will figure out why.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 9:58 am
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Do DOT rules provide any exemption for places like GUM which can be somewhat more difficult than most U.S. destinations to fly to using American carriers? This is a little different than, say, trying to use AC to book a SEA-YYZ-LGA flight.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 10:08 am
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Is there really some bureaucrat somewhere who has nothing better to do than look for people illegally flying between two US destinations on a foreign airline??
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Old Jan 18, 19, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Is there really some bureaucrat somewhere who has nothing better to do than look for people illegally flying between two US destinations on a foreign airline??
Not now...he's furloughed.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 1:25 pm
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I understand the rule, but I don’t understand why it exists. Does anyone know?
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Old Jan 18, 19, 1:49 pm
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To answer the above questions:

1. There is no exception for GUM. It is part of the US and therefore US law applies. In fact, the largest DOT violation involving cabotage directly related to GUM.
2. The rule exists because US carriers are generally-speaking prohibited from selling tickets within other countries. Thus, when UA operated a single service SFO-SYD-MEL, it was prohibited from selling SYD-MEL tickets as standalone.
3. Yes, DOT enforces the rule vigilantly. There are $10's millions at stake for US carriers and associated jobs.
4. Cabotage rules exist in almost every country in the world.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
I understand the rule, but I donít understand why it exists. Does anyone know?
The US doesn't want foreign airlines undercutting US airlines on domestic air travel markets. It is purported to be a national security issue to ensure that there is a fleet of aircraft under US control. Similar rules apply to passenger and cargo ships (Jones Act).

To be clear, the government is not going to penalize you if you somehow put together a cabotage itinerary. The airline would be penalized for carrying you.

Here is the government's official view on exemptions - they are only for emergency situations when no US carriers are available in certain markets.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 3:08 pm
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Could I fly EWR-YYZ-LAX on two tickets if somehow I could get EWR-YYZ and YYZ-LAX cheaper on Air Canada than on a US airline
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Old Jan 18, 19, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
I understand the rule, but I donít understand why it exists. Does anyone know?
To me it doesn't sound stranger than the Fly America Act, which forces federal servants to book more expensive flights at more inconvenient times of the day, although that rule allows cheating by booking codeshares, something the cabotage rule doesn't seem to allow.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by nd2010 View Post
Could I fly EWR-YYZ-LAX on two tickets if somehow I could get EWR-YYZ and YYZ-LAX cheaper on Air Canada than on a US airline
Yes. Few people find that these schemes are cheaper and in the rare instances they are, you take on 100% of the risk of a no show at YYZ.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 3:44 pm
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You'd also have to go through immigration twice at YYZ (once to enter Canada, then again for US preclearance), so you'd need to pad that connection a lot.
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