Some questions about flying as an international air courier.

Luggage And Documents

Why do companies use air couriers?

It is quicker to have a courier check freight through as excess baggage than it is for them to send freight as air cargo. A courierís excess luggage clears customs on arrival rather than being held up in the customs shed.



Who can be an air courier ?

Virtually any healthy adult, lady or gent can be an air courier, however some companies have a minimum age restriction of 18 or 21 years. Couriers must be in possession of a valid passport and be of smart appearance with good English.

What do I give up as an air courier ?

Usually, you get the normal baggage allowance. Some airlines may restrict you to one item of baggage, whereas others may limit you to hand luggage only. If you are only acting as an air courier on the outward flight you can usually check in baggage as normal on the return trip.

Are tickets one-way or return ?

They are nearly always return, although one-way can occasionally be arranged.

Where and how do I buy tickets ?

Reservations are made by telephone with the courier company and you pay at the time of booking. The ticket is collected at the airport on the day of the flight. Comprehensive instructions are posted to the courier on making the reservation. These inform the courier of the regulations governing courier flights and give instructions on meeting the company representative on departure and arrival.

Do I need to book in advance ?

Flights to the most popular destinations usually require at least a 2-week advance reservation, especially during the summer or at Christmas, when booking must be at least 4 to 6 weeks in advance to be sure of a seat. Most people book in advance in order to get the flights they want. Alternatively, occasionally couriers are needed at short notice, which is where a degree of flexibility can result in the greatest air fare savings.

How long can I stay ?

The usual stay is 14 days, this can sometimes be extended, or a one-way ticket negotiated.

How do I know that I am not carrying drugs ?

A courier is never personally liable for the contents of the cargo, simply for the transfer of the accompanying documents. For extra peace of mind, air courier companies are established firms that deal in legitimate commercial air freight. They expect their shipment to be examined by customs, and sign documents which are presented to customs officials when the baggage is checked through. On arrival at the destination, the documents are passed to the agent of the courier company who then takes the material from the baggage claim area and clears it through customs.

Where do I stay when I arrive ?

After delivery of his documents at the destination the courier is free to do as he likes until the pre-arranged return flight. No expenses are paid to aircouriers.

Do I have to fly alone ?

Courier companies have one courier on each flight, so you can only buy one discounted ticket, but your partner could buy a full price ticket on the same flight that youíre acting on as courier. Alternatively you could attempt to travel on the same flight with two different courier companies. If you don't mind travelling on different flights, Air Cargo Partners Travel (ACPT), for instance, sends couriers on three flights per day to New York so you could take consecutive flights and meet at the airport.

Do I serve as a courier on the return trip ?

Usually. You will be told at the time of booking.

How much can I save ?

Depending on season and demand you can expect to save somewhere between 30% to 85% on an airline ticket.

What is an air courier?

An air courier is simply a person who carries shipping documents on international flights for a courier company in exchange for a reduction in the price of the ticket. Picking the documents up prior to boarding the flight, and dropping them off at the other end.

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