Thursday, March 3, 2011

So much for being an air courier

Not much of a blog post today due to a colicky baby, but that's not too bad. I was going to write something up about cheap or free international flights, but it turns out the industry is pretty much dead.

Airplane over ocean.
Photo by Colleen Lane
What used to happen is that companies would desperately need something shipped quickly overseas, but with typical freight companies, there would often be lengthy delays in shipping or clearing the items through customs. However, passengers generally aren't held for days or weeks waiting to pick up their luggage, so you'd register as a courier and generally not be allowed to check luggage, but you'd get a carry-on and a cheap (sometimes free) ticket.

Unfortunately, with an increasingly interconnected world, many customs procedures are now expedited and overnight delivery companies have made it cheaper and faster to skip couriers. The industry isn't entirely dead, but it's heading that way. Oh, and be wary of companies which make you register and pay a fee to be a courier. Often they're merely reselling bulk airline tickets that you can get better deals on by hitting discounts airlines.

Of course, if Ryanair is ever successful in their plans to bring €10 flights from the US to Europe, being a courier would be a moot point.