Cabotage and Getting to Guam on a Delta Award

I am headed to the Iwo Jima 70th Anniversary and all I wanted was nothing to go wrong.

My A train emerged out of the tunnel at 11 am for my 1 pm Korean Air departure to receive an area code 718 call from the Delta JFK station. They were trying to reach me because Korean Air was going to deny me boarding on my JFK – Seoul – Guam ticket booked as a Delta SkyMiles award. I was dimly aware of cabotage issues due to an incident with a blogger a year or so ago. Non-US carriers are prohibited from carrying passengers on US domestic trips on the same ticket, which Guam qualifies. I could have had no issue with one ticket to Seoul and another to Guam, however that would have increased the award price.

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I had originally planned this trip through Honolulu on United. A month ago without giving it much thought, I switched to a Delta award on Korean Air as I no longer had the extra days to visit the Marshall Islands on United’s Micronesia Island Hopper.

Now that I think back, I could not get Delta’s website to find the Korean space together, only invididually, so the website may be programmed correctly. I called the Diamond desk and they issued the ticket with no problem.

Now that Delta’s website shows China Airlines, it does show award itineraries of Delta JFK – LAX connecting to China Airlines LAX – Taipei – Guam.


Searching from LAX it routes back on Delta metal adding an extra stop in Tokyo NRT, so it must be programmed correctly.


I called Korean to confirm my ticket, and up through online check-in yesterday never heard a peep. This doesn’t speak well of Korean to not notify or do anything until 2 hours prior to departure. Few people would be aware of cabotage. Kudos to Delta for immediately rebooking me on Delta metal JFK – Tokyo NRT – Guam. I missed out Korean Air bibimbap but got a schedule arriving two hours earlier. I would have sat in a middle seat in the last row to get to Guam for this trip. As it was, the flight was full with the Osaka Toin Youth Symphony packing the back, yet I got the last Economy Comfort aisle seat. Plenty of legroom and I watched 5 movies en route, including Flags of My Fathers that I brought myself.

Originally I might even have booked Delta metal to begin with had it not been multiples of Korean Air. So, for those willing to take a risk to get a Delta saver award to Guam, book Korean!

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