Signing up to become an air courier is one of the easiest ways to travel the world free or at very low cost and there’s a growing need for couriers, meaning more chances for more people to travel to many more places than they ever thought possible. But you have to know the rules involved as well as understand the very simple process of signing up to become an air courier as well as obtaining regular free flights.
Firms who recruit air couriers deal in time-sensitive material, meaning they must reach their destination in the shortest possible time. Into this category go contracts needing signatures, medicines a traveller may have left at home before travelling, prototypes for urgent delivery to potential new buyers, perishable goods like food and delicacies for restaurants, and so on.
Some courier companies operate on purely domestic routes, say between major towns and cities in one country, so it’s important to sign up to a courier company covering the locations you particular want to visit.
Air courier duties are not difficult or time consuming and usually involve accompanying the item to its destination then handing it over to a representative of the receiving company waiting at the destination airport. On domestic routes, there are few security hassles involved for the company using couriers to accompany their items, few likely delays are possible, and most items reach their destination in a couple of hours.
But items being transported between countries are an altogether different matter, mainly due to rules and regulations enforced at Customs at airports on route, which are exacerbated where products travel alone, that is without courier accompaniment.
The reason firms use couriers to accompany items abroad centres around whether packages are classed as cargo or baggage.
Cargo travels alone, overwhelmingly on ‘cargo only’ flights since the Twin Towers tragedy and it can take several days to pass through Customs to allow thorough checks of paperwork and packages. Items travelling with a courier are classed as baggage and can be under the courier’s direct supervision at all times. Under new more security conscious travelling rules, cargo must arrive several hours ahead of flight time meaning even more delays for sender and recipient, and there’s no priority for cargo, unlike people, to gain access to a particular flight.
Even worse, without a courier to accompany them, packages may be bundled with many more items into huge storage containers which must be full before travelling. More delays, sometimes long ones until those containers are full and that might mean waiting several days for a flight in comparison to booking an urgent flight for a courier who can travel with the baggage between airports.
Cargo sent without couriers can take hours to be inspected and cleared for collection at the destination airport, again adding significantly to time between the package leaving sender and reaching recipient.
Courier travel is the solution to all those problems of delay and possible mishandling of items travelling abroad. Items classed as baggage, specifically ‘personal baggage’ arrive with the passenger, typically an hour or so before the flight, and generally pass quickly through Customs at airports on route. Additionally, a passenger seat can be reserved on a specific flight at a definite time. Now what might take days for cargo to reach it’s destination can take hours with a courier.
Plenty of openings are available for freelance couriers, given that few firms have sufficient workload to warrant employing full-time staff couriers to accompany articles abroad, with all the hassles of employment law and contracts, not to mention full-time wages, holiday pay, sick pay to consider. Hence the preference for most companies to use freelance and standby air couriers. And also the point at which you now come into the picture.