Did you know that you can travel the world very inexpensively as an air courier?
It is not possible to send a package or baggage on a commercial airplane unless it’s accompanied by a passenger.
In a time crunch situation, businesses may hire an air courier to accompany packages or documents on a commercial flight. Couriers are able to travel on greatly reduced rate airline tickets, provided by air courier companies, in exchange for accompanying cargo or documents on a commercial flight. Basically, you become an agent with a seat on an airplane, and by doing so enable the air courier company to transport packages quickly.
Air courier travel was very popular in the past, before 9/11. The ability to use air couriers was diminished after the tragedy, but now the industry is making a comeback.
Businesses use air couriers because the cost of quickly shipping cargo on board a commercial flight is less than on a train or via air freight. The cargo or original documents (for example) are accompanied through customs at the airport and the risk of it being detained or held up is very low. You’re never accompanying anything illegal.
Economically, it can make a great deal of sense for businesses to send time-sensitive items via air courier companies. Tickets are purchased in advance to overseas destinations – perhaps an $800 ticket to Frankfurt, Germany. The courier company will then charge companies a fee to ship items via courier on that flight, generating income well in excess of $800. The ticket is sold to the air courier at a great discount. Instead of paying $800 you might pay $200 or less. The trick for the air courier company is locating someone who’s available to fly on a moment’s notice, and who doesn’t need to carry much baggage of his or her own.
Keep in mind that many people want to fly as air couriers, so it’s not always easy to get tickets. Greece in summer time won’t be as easy to acquire as London in winter.
What about the items being shipped via air courier? Will you ever see ‘the goods’? Nope. The air courier company typically turns the item(s) over to the airlines and creates a manifest for the courier to carry on the flight and through customs. When the plane arrives the courier company retrieves their cargo and you’re on your way. Sometimes, with very high value cargo, bonded air couriers will be used.
More Air Courier Details
Here are a few more things to know about flying as an air courier.
First of all, nobody on your flight will know that you’re an air courier.
The ticket is a regular, coach ticket in most cases and therefore you are a passenger like everyone else. You might even be eligible for frequent flyer miles unless the air courier company keeps the miles.
As alluded to above, a disadvantage of flying as a courier is that you may not be allowed to bring any baggage. Remember, your checked bags were those checked by the courier company! But you can always wear lots of extra clothes on the airplane and make good use of your carry-on baggage. Another disadvantage of flying as an air courier is that your length of stay may be determined by the courier company.
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