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zanadou
Topic Author
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2000 12:16 pm

Become An Air Courier!

Mon Dec 04, 2000 10:40 pm

I've often wondered about this and I just found a great resource for it:

Questions & Answers About
Flying as an Air Courier


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What is an air travel courier?
An air travel courier -- sometimes called a casual courier -- is a person who carries shipping documents on international flights for a courier company in exchange for a discounted air ticket. Often the courier must forfeit his baggage allowance.


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Why do freight companies need couriers?
It often is cheaper for a courier company to have a person check freight through as luggage than it is for them to ship freight as air cargo. Shipping material as luggage helps it clear customs quicker, so it does not sit for days in customs as cargo often does.


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Why be an air travel courier?
Traveling as an air courier gives you a chance to see the world. Jet to exotic places you could never afford to see before. Explore the globe and widen your knowledge of the world.


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Who can be an air courier?
Virtually anybody can be a courier, however some companies require couriers to be at least 21 years old.


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What do I give up as an air courier?
Often you are not allowed to check through any baggage _ or are allowed just one suitcase in some cases. You are usually allowed to carry on as much luggage as the particular airline will permit. If you're only acting as a courier on the outbound flight you can check baggage as normal on the return trip.


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Where do I sit and what airlines are used?
Air courier companies utilize major airlines like TWA United, American, British Airways and other international airlines. You fly like any other passenger in a regular seat in the "tourist" or "coach" section of the aircraft. Couriers have been allowed on occasion to upgrade to first class at their own expense.


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Are tickets one-way or round trip?
All tickets are round-trip tickets except in rare cases.


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How much do I have to pay, if anything?
You can save up to 85 percent of the regular airline ticket price. The range is all over the board, depending on the season and demand, but the discount is usually substantial. Most courier firms try to get at least 50 percent of the cost of the ticket if they are able. Recent bargain fares for couriers have included trips to the Orient for $200 roundtrip, Europe for $99 to $199, South America for $150. During the summer, rates are generally higher than any other time of the year, but you still fly cheaper as a courier than with other discount fares. In short, traveling as a courier should save you hundreds of dollars on each trip you take. Occasionally companies will offer a flight for free when they are in dire need of a last-minute courier. Free flights are extremely rare, but super-discounted last-minute flights are common. Casual couriers are not paid.


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Where & how do I get the air tickets?
Most courier companies arrange for your payment at the time you make your reservations to serve as a courier on a particular flight. All companies accept money orders; some take cash, credit cards or accept personal checks. You receive your ticket on the day of the flight, either at the airport when you meet the courier agent, or at the courier company office located on or near the airport grounds. In the event of a last-minute, same-day departure, the courier company will often trust you to show up on time for the flight and make payment just before boarding the plane. Couriers who fail to show up on time may be barred from taking future courier flights.


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How far in advance do I need to schedule?
If you wanted, you could probably be on a flight to some foreign country within 24 hours of receiving our information, especially if you're interested in Europe during the winter. Flights to the most popular destinations usually require at least a 2-week advance reservation, especially during the summer when advance booking can be 4 to 6 weeks or more to guarantee a seat. Most people advance book in order to make sure they get the flights they want. When courier companies are short of couriers for particular runs, the price usually starts dropping the closer it gets to the day or hour of takeoff.


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How long can I stay where I'm going?
The length of stay in the foreign country varies according to the ticket. Nearly every flight allows you to stay at least 7 days. Some tickets are for a 7-day trip, other tickets allow you 10 days, 14 days, 21 days and up to 6 months if you desire in a few cases. Fixed stays of one week or two weeks are common on the European trips. Flights to the Orient and South America generally allow longer stays as a rule, and sometimes require no minimum stay.


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How do I know I'm not escorting contraband?
Air courier companies are established firms that deal in legitimate corporate 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. For their protection _ as well as yours _ you are generally not allowed to touch the baggage. When you arrive at the destination, you hand the "manifest" to the agent for the courier company who then takes the material from the baggage claim area and clears it through customs. You are not personally liable for the baggage. Before you make your flight you can verify with the company what precautions they take on behalf of couriers such as bonding and insurance.


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Where do I stay when I arrive?
You book into a hotel, motel, youth hostel, bed & breakfast inn or with friends and family at your own expense. Once you complete your duties you are on your own and have no need to stay in contact with the air courier company unless you're acting as a courier on the return flight.


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Do I have to fly alone?
Yes and no. Courier companies usually have just one courier on each flight. But that doesn't mean there is no chance of traveling with a partner. Occasionally you can fly as couriers for different companies on the same day _ and sometimes on the same airline. Other times, two people can arrange to be couriers on consecutive days. For instance, one courier might fly to London on Monday, get the hotel and other arrangements in order, while the second courier flies into London as a courier on Tuesday. Another possibility is that your partner could buy a ticket on the same flight that you're acting on as courier.


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Do I serve as a courier on the return trip?
Usually. But sometimes just on the outbound flight.


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Do I get to keep my Frequent Flier mileage?
In many cases, but not always.


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Where do courier flights originate?
In March 2000, courier flights were operating from the following gateway cities. All flights are roundtrip. Couriers must get to the gateway cities below at their own expense.

NEW YORK: Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cairns, Capetown, Caracas, Copenhagen Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Manila, Mexico City, Melbourne Montevideo, Milan, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Tokyo.
LOS ANGELES: Auckland, Bangkok, Brisbane, Cairns, London, Manila (temporarily on hold), Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney.
SAN FRANCISCO: London, Manila, Singapore.
MIAMI: Buenos Aires, Guatemala City (on hold), London, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Sao Paulo.
CHICAGO: London.
WASHINGTON D.C.: London.
NEWARK: London.
GUAM: Honolulu (one way only).
TORONTO: London (via Montreal).
MONTREAL: London.
VANCOUVER B.C.: London (on hold).
LONDON, ENGLAND: Adelaide, Antigua, Athens, Bangkok, Barbados, Beijing, Boston, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mauritius Islands, Miami, New York, Newark, Orlando Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Seoul, St. Lucia, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington D.C.
AUCKLAND: Frankfurt, Honolulu, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver.
BANGKOK: Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore.
BUENOS AIRES: Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo.
HONG KONG: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (on hold), Los Angeles, London, Manila, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei.
SINGAPORE: Manila, San Francisco, Tokyo.
SEOUL: Los Angeles, New York.
SYDNEY: London.
TOKYO: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore (all flights on hold).


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How do I get started?
You are guaranteed acceptance as a courier when you join the IAATC. We update last-minute courier flight opportunities at 12 noon and 3 p.m. Eastern Time, which you can access 24 hours a day by fax machine or on the Internet. The registration fee to join the association is currently $45. When you want to make your trip, you just telephone the appropriate reservation number that we provide you to schedule the flight. Then just pack light and enjoy the trip.


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How do I know I'll be accepted as a courier?
Membership in the International Association of Air Travel Couriers carries a 100-percent money-back guarantee if you are not able to qualify as a courier. Companies require you to have a valid passport and maintain a cleancut appearance.


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How do I join?
Fill out the enclosed registration form and return it along with your remittance. Your start-up info will be mailed to you immediately upon receipt of your completed registration form. The International Association of Air Travel Couriers does not sell tickets or profit in any way from your flight. The organization's mission is to provide up-to-date information on all travel opportunities available to couriers, while working to support courier air travel as a way to see the world on a shoestring.


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The International Association of Air Travel Couriers
220 S Dixie Hwy #3 - PO Box 1349
Lake Worth, FL 33460 U.S.A.
Tel: (561) 582-8320 / Fax: (561) 582-1581
Email: [email protected]


http://www.iaatc.com

....so does anybody have an Australian resource for air couriers??

--->Zanadou!  

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