The US Air Force plane carrying US Secretary of State John Kerry is grounded at Hickman Air Force Base in Hawaii after experiencing technical difficulties prior to takeoff. Picture: Nicolas Revise

Honolulu - The globe-trotting US Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to catch a commercial flight on Thursday after his US Air Force plane encountered technical difficulties before takeoff from Hawaii at the end of a nine-day round-the-world trip.

Kerry was returning to Washington after visiting Afghanistan, Myanmar, Australia and the Solomon Islands when his plane broke down at Hawaii's Hickman Air Force Base.

He had stopped for a day in Hawaii where he delivered a speech on increased US interests in Asia and the Pacific region.

“Finally some frequent flyer miles!” Kerry said on hearing the news that he would have to catch a commercial flight along with his staff and a travelling press corps.

Kerry has often expressed frustration with his aging plane, which has previously run into technical problems during his global travels that has made him one of the most travelled US secretaries of state.

While waiting for his flight, Kerry received a briefing from US Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the US Pacific Command, and spoke with several administration and foreign officials, according to a spokesman.

Since assuming office in February 1, 2013, Kerry has juggled priorities amid a virtually non-stop travel schedule that has left many around him often exasperated and exhausted.

He has already overtaken his predecessor Hillary Clinton in his first year as America's top diplomat, clocking up 835 468km to 51 countries in 239 days, according to State Department figures. - Reuters