The Smell of Cabotage in the Morning

Logan Airport, 4:30am

“You may be alright,” Chris, the Air Canada ticket agent tells us. “But it’s risky. That’s flying too close to the sun for me.”

And so begins Friday the 13th, and our trip to Japan to film SON OF SAICHI. We’ve been accused – more accurately our travel agent has been accused – of cabotage. It’s illegal. And it means we’re grounded.

Google cabotage and you’ll find a Wikipedia entry that highlights our exact situation:
Cabotage situations can occur as a consequence of hub-and-spoke operations. Consider that Air Canada has a major hub at Toronto that offers flights to several U.S. cities. While a passenger is able to buy a ticket from Boston to Toronto, and a separate ticket from Toronto to Seattle [in our case Minneapolis] that same day, both flights cannot be offered on the same itinerary because this would effectively be a U.S. domestic service. Never mind that the Twin Cities are not our final destination.

The offending itinerary.

No big deal. We’ll skip Toronto. We just need to get to Minneapolis to grab that flight to Tokyo. And United can get us there for $250. Except missing the first Air Canada leg cancels the entire ticket, and Delta wants $5,600 apiece to reissue! A little bit of travel agent magic convinces Delta to get us on board for $350. Done.

Fukushima-bound once more!

Stay tuned for updates from the road. This weekend we reconnect with the Ouchi family – a family of nuclear refugees who’ve been waiting for two years for their farmland to be decontaminated so they can return home. But now that this moment has arrived, they are more uncertain than ever about whether moving forward means reclaiming their ancestral home.

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