It is not just us hoi polloi that run into mechanical delays that foul up our schedules and cause us to shift travel plans…it even happens to the Secretary of State of the USA.
Sec. John Kerry has been on a whirlwind tour on his Air Force Boeing 757 in the last several days. Afghanistan, Burma, Australia and the Solomon Islands were all destinations before his final fuel stop in Hawaii on the way back to Washington. But that is a lot of miles even for a very special 757 and the plane experienced electrical problems that required a lengthy repair (halfway between Hawaii and the west coast is not the place for a power outage…).
Apparently, Kerry is not happy with his plane and experiences frequent mechanical problems with it. Over the last 239 days he has logged 519,136 miles to 51 countries – it becomes no surprise his aging plane has faltered under stress.
With his plane stuck on the ground at Hickam Air Force Base, Kerry’s team scrambled to find him another option. Could wife Teresa, heiress to the Heinz fortune, charter a jet for him? Nah, billionaires don’t become billionaires by spending $100,000 on a charter when more reasonable options are available.
As it happens, United Airlines offers non-stop service between Honolulu and Washington Dulles and the two-cabin 767-400 even offers fully lie-flat seats in business class. Perfect.
Kerry flew in business class and you can bet he received better service than I will ever experience on the Friendly Skies while most of his staff (who allegedly have become exasperated by Kerry’s obscenely frequent air travel) found themselves in steerage class – no complimentary food or alcohol in coach on this 11hr flight to Washington.
“Finally, some frequent-flier miles,” Kerry said when his staffers explained the alternate arrangements, according to a senior State Department official.