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Great 'Courier Flights' Hunt

edited 7 July 2009 at 4:27PM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
29 replies 38.9K views
MSE_JennyMSE_Jenny Senior WriterMSE Staff
1.3K posts
Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
edited 7 July 2009 at 4:27PM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
What's it about?

Newspaper travel supplements often cite courier flights, where you get cut-price tickets in return for delivering a parcel, as a way to snap up bargains. Yet finding them’s virtually impossible. We want to know whether you've actually managed to get through a courier flight, what price you paid and how you did it.

What to do?

Click reply below to give other MoneySavers the benefit of your expertise.


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Replies

  • Nordictat2Nordictat2 Forumite
    1.5K posts
    I tried a few yrs back looking into this and I didn't find much except a few websites wanting to CHARGE you for information on how you can find websites like that. No thank you!

    Let's hope someone out there can find some good info. :)
    :D *If you like the advice I give...let me know by clicking the THANKS button* :D
  • edited 7 July 2009 at 12:51PM
    richardwrichardw Forumite
    19.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 7 July 2009 at 12:51PM
    MSE_Jenny wrote: »
    Yet finding them’s impossible.

    Have you called BA's press office? Something from the horse's mouth might be useful.

    Other wise we may get 'We did this on BA between New York and San Francisco in 1996' which may just get some money savers a bit too hopeful.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • Nordictat2Nordictat2 Forumite
    1.5K posts
    Found a website charing ya money for info...(mentioned in my first post)...

    https://www.courier.org/bulletin

    Here is an interesting read regarding this topic..
    http://budgettravel.about.com/cs/aircouriers/a/mission_courier.htm
    :D *If you like the advice I give...let me know by clicking the THANKS button* :D
  • These things do not exist today, or at the very least in very small numbers. I would guess that at one time big courier companies had a need for things to be delivered this way. Certainly in the US I have heard of people acting as couriers for hire cars, dropping them from one state to the other. But selling information as a 'career' as a courier, ie. getting flights all over the globe for free just to escort a package, is designed to prey on people's greed.

    The biggest factor would be that air cargo (like passengers) carriers have developed massively from the 80's with much greater capacity. There are so many routes, aircraft and frequencies and air travel is much cheaper now that the 'savings' you could get from any fare are likely to be minimal.

    For example:

    http://www.jupiterair.com/index.html
  • sdooleysdooley Forumite
    918 posts
    Isn't the problem that now you are only allowed to carry luggage you packed yourself?

    That and the likes of DHL now go nearly everywhere next day.
  • edited 14 July 2009 at 9:18AM
    TiggggerTigggger Forumite
    6 posts
    edited 14 July 2009 at 9:18AM
    I run a courier company and we do a few of these a year, typically it will be a part that is needed for a halted production line where every minute is costing the company a lot of money. Whilst DHL etc can get it there tomorrow, we can get it there in hours and there is no danger of the part getting sent to the wrong country or getting held up in customs.

    Now can you make a living doing this ? I doubt it very much, if an item is so important that it requires a dedicated courier then there is no way that the company is going to entrust it to someone they have never met. Anyone who provides this service will have regular experienced trusted staff to do them.
  • edited 14 July 2009 at 9:18AM
    msloadedmsloaded Forumite
    2 posts
    edited 14 July 2009 at 9:18AM
    Back in 1999 these courier flights did exist. My mother and I were going to the US for a holiday and we wanted to see if we could get a cheaper deal on our flights. At the time BA and Virgin used couriers like me. I called the BA reservations number and whilst you are on hold in the queue the automated system details the various destinations that BA fly to, also indicating that if you require a courier flight to press ie option 1. Once you get through to the operator you tell them which country you want to fly to – and they will advise if they have a seat on that specific flight. Once the flight is booked at a discounted rate of course. You are forwarded details and told to report to the DHL desk on the date of departure dressed business-like to collect your tickets and package. On this occasion, when I checked in – there was no package/envelope for me to carry. So in the end I got a discounted ticket to the US on the premise that I was being a courier – which I wasn’t.
    If I had to carry a package/envelope I would be given instructions to hand over the package to the courier desk upon my arrival. The only snag with this method of travelling, as I was going on holiday with my mother – BA/Virgin on allow 1 courier per flight – as there were no seats left on my flight, my mother travelled on the next scheduled flight out.

    :T
  • edited 14 July 2009 at 9:19AM
    dzug1dzug1 Forumite
    13.5K posts
    edited 14 July 2009 at 9:19AM
    Tigggger wrote: »
    I run a courier company and we do a few of these a year, typically it will be a part that is needed for a halted production line where every minute is costing the company a lot of money. Whilst DHL etc can get it there tomorrow, we can get it there in hours and there is no danger of the part getting sent to the wrong country or getting held up in customs.

    Now can you make a living doing this ? I doubt it very much, if an item is so important that it requires a dedicated courier then there is no way that the company is going to entrust it to someone they have never met. Anyone who provides this service will have regular experienced trusted staff to do them.

    Good point.

    Also means that you need to be able to travel NOW, not next week.

    Best way of getting a courier flight is to work for a courier company, full or part time. Those jobs driving up to London with documents might pay off once in a blue moon. If they don't send someone else.
  • I don't see how these can exist nowadays.

    Firstly, no airline will be happy to let a passanger on with a package they didn't pack and have no idea what it contains.

    Secondly, what company would entrust such an important package to a complete stranger?

    Thirdly, as the person carrying it how do you know it's safe and you're not carrying something dodgy? Seems a perfect way to send drugs without getting your hands dirty if you ask me!
    Trying hard to remember... "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." David Coperfield
    [STRIKE]C/C £800[/STRIKE] paid off February! :T
    And onto the next...
  • The idea behind courier flights is that they are cheap economy (coach)
    class flight tickets because the person flying has to accompany a parcel,
    letter or some other item to hand over at the particular destination.
    Why do courier flights exist? Many companies will send a courier because
    it is cheaper than shipping freight by air cargo and also quicker as there
    are fewer customs delays. What is sent as freight? Often the items that
    are accompanied are time sensitive items such as weekly magazines or newspapers.
    Courier companies have overnight shipments to cities such as London, Rome,
    Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Caracas, Stockholm, Jamaica, Madrid,
    Bangkok, Milan, Frankfurt, Rio De Janeiro, Paris, Melbourne, and several
    other locations in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.
    How does it work? The courier company buys an economy (coach) class
    airfare. They then resell the ticket to you and, in exchange for your
    luggage space, give you a discount on the airfare. The courier company
    uses your luggage space for the material it is shipping. A representative
    from the courier company will meet you at the departing airport. They
    will give you the manifest and all the shipping instructions. On arrival
    at your destination, another courier representative will meet you. You
    have to give them the manifest and that’s it! You are not usually allowed
    to have contact with the luggage and may not actually see the packages
    they are shipping.
    They can be used by budget travellers as a cheap way of getting from
    A to B. You are treated as a normal passenger on the plane and there is
    no special designation that marks you out. You must be over 18 at the
    time of travel to take advantage of a courier flight. There are often
    restrictions on the amount of luggage you may take with you on your journey,
    as the courier company usually uses your allocated luggage space to pack
    their goods in, so it is best to ask. It is usually not possible to arrange
    a courier flight with a friend, as courier flights tend to be one off
    events on a given plane.
    You can book several months in advance or, if you are flexible in your
    destination, you can leave it quite late when deals will be cheaper. Your
    length of stay is determined by the day of departure however, most tickets
    are for at least 7 days. Others allow 10 days, 14 days, 21 days, and up
    to 6 months – you must ask.
    The pros? Well, you can get make substantial savings on the cost of
    air tickets and you can go to a wide range of destinations. The cons:
    you must usually travel alone, you are often restricted in the amount
    of luggage you can take and can also be restricted in the amount of time
    you can spend in your arrival destination. There are a number of websites
    advocating courier flights. The majority sells courier flight information
    or listings for anything between £5 and £10. Useful websites include:
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