What About Baggage? Some courier companies reserve the right to use your free baggage allowance for their shipments. Sometimes you are allowed to check one bag, and other times you get to check whatever you want. You always carry on anything you want, and you can check a bag for a small fee.
How Long Can I Stay? Most courier runs are for stays of between 7 and 60 days. Many of the returning flights are open-ended, which means you can return anytime within this time frame. About 20% of the flights have courier duties on the return flight. If there are no courier duties on the return, then you do not have to make the return flight even though you have a round trip ticket. If you're only acting as a courier on the outbound flight you can check baggage as normal on the return trip.
When Are My Courier Duties Over? As soon as you deliver the courier pouch you are finished. You do not make any deliveries. Sometimes you will as a courier on the return flight to the U.S. Once you clear through customs, you are on your own. Do I Have To Fly Alone? No, but you cannot both be couriers on the same flight. You can fly a day apart or fly for two different courier companies going to the same destination on the same day, or one of you can buy a regular ticket for the same flight.
What Type Of Overnight Airshipments Will Be Checked As Baggage? About 80% of a shipment is business documents. The rest of it can be computer software, small electronic parts, and anything else that requires overnight delivery.
It's carefully inspected and packed into large duffel-type courier bags which can weigh up to 70 pounds each. You do not handle these bags. All you physically carry is a courier pouch, which has the manifest, baggage claim tickets and other courier company documents pertaining to the shipment. Any Chance Of Being Caught With Illegal Contraband Checked As Baggage? Absolutely not. Courier wholesale companies are established firms that deal in legitimate air freight and are well known by customs officials. They have to sign documents which are presented to customs officials when the baggage is checked through. For their protection - as well as yours - you are generally not allowed to touch the baggage. An air courier just carries the paperwork. You are not personally liable for the baggage. Before you make your flight you can verify with the company what precautions they take on behalf of couriers such as bonding and insurance.
Who Can Fly As An Air Courier? Virtually anyone with a valid passport can be a courier, however some companies require couriers to be at least 21 years old. Being a courier is ideal for students, retirees, teachers, outdoor enthusiasts, hobbyists, business owners, entrepreneurs, adventure travelers and people in freelance occupations such as travel writers, imports, exporters, photographers, and persons exploring overseas markets.
Are Tickets One-Way Or Round-Trip? All tickets are round-trip except in rare cases.
From Which Cities Do Courier Flights Originate? At this moment, courier flights currently take off for foreign destinations from the following North American gateway cities: New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. (The majority of courier flights originate in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco). You must get to the origination city at your own expense.
Is It Possible To Courier On Domestic Routes? Courier travel between destinations in the U.S. is much less common these days, as U.S. domestic airline package delivery services have improved enough to no longer make couriering cost effective. So most courier travel is between the U.S. and an overseas destination. Do I Get To Keep My Frequent Flyer Mileage? Yes, except in rare cases.
Where Can I Fly As An Air Courier? Common destinations include Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Beijing, Taipei and other destinations in the Far East and Southeast Asia.
Where Do I Stay When I Get There? You book into a hotel, motel, youth hostel, or with friends and family at your own expense. Once you complete your duties you are on your own and have no need to stay in contact with the air courier company unless you're acting as a courier on the return flight.
How Do I Book A Courier Flight? There are really only two options, either going through a courier company itself or through a courier broker. A broker matches couriers with companies that need to ship packages, thus you will have a greater variety of destinations to choose from. You may have to pay an annual registration fee, but a courier broker usually offers more convenience than a courier company. By joining up with a courier broker oftentimes you will receive a manual with detailed instructions on booking a courier flight; access to a 24 hour hotline with last minute "specials" where you can fly sometimes for free; and a newsletter. For someone new to air courier travel I would recommend joining a courier broker. The registration fee becomes less of an issue the more frequently you fly. After several courier runs you'll know what to expect and you can then decide if the annual membership fee is worth the convenience. In the following section you will find a list both of courier companies and brokers, and other helpful resources for people interested in becoming an air courier.