Q:

How does airmail work?

A:

Quick Answer

Airmail is the transport of letters or parcels by airplane, which offers faster delivery than ground shipping. Originally, airmail was developed as a branch of the Army Air Service, created to ensure rapid delivery of important correspondence between New York and Washington, DC. Routes eventually sprang up across the country, and the Postal Service and private carriers began offering air service in addition to normal ground shipping.

Continue Reading
How does airmail work?
Credit: Ion-Bogdan DUMITRESCU Moment Open Getty Images

Full Answer

The development of the airmail service played an important role in establishing commercial air travel in the United States. With planes traveling air routes repeatedly in order to transport mail back and forth, automated systems designed to aid in navigation provided the earliest framework for a national air traffic system. A transcontinental network of airports, instruments that allowed blind flying at night and radio-powered directional gear all made the lives of airmail pilots easier.

Airmail was a separate branch of the Postal Service up until 1975, when the service began routing mail by air whenever necessary or advantageous. Instead of paying specifically for air mail service, customers instead would select the speed at which they needed their parcels to travel, and the Postal Service would send the package by whatever means necessary for timely arrival. Some private companies still designate air mail service as one of their options, often for next day or second day delivery.

Learn more about Mail & Shipping

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How can you track international airmail?

    A:

    Track international airmail by sending the letter or package via one of the United States Postal Service options that offers international tracking and using the USPS online tracking system to monitor the status of the mail. Optionally, sign up for text alerts for delivery status updates.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is registered airmail tracking important?

    A:

    Registered airmail tracking is important because it provides peace of mind for the sender and receiver by making it possible to check where the package is at all times. Registered airmail tracking is generally more expensive than other forms of shipping, and a signature is required from the receiver.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a USPS tracking number?

    A:

    A USPS tracking number is a series of numerals allocated to individual parcels by the United States Postal Service to keep a record of where parcels are once they are shipped. A USPS tracking number consists of 22 numerals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long does international airmail take?

    A:

    According to the official website for the United States Postal Service, first-class international mail or airmail "delivery time varies by destination." However, USPS offers a Priority Mail International service that guarantees delivery between six and 10 business days.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore