Great 'Courier Flights' Hunt

2

Comments

  • 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!

    The courier doesn't come into contact with the 'package', it's freight. All the courier has is paperwork. As with all freight items, full documentation is presented to the freight agent listing package contents etc. Hope that clears things for you.
  • smala01
    smala01 Posts: 154 Forumite
    "Firstly, no airline will be happy to let a passenger on with a package they didn't pack and have no idea what it contains."

    That’s not actually true. If you answer no to the question about packing your own bag at the check in desk, you are simply subject to a search of your baggage.


    It’s not as unusual as you might expect.


    Smala01
  • imagia
    imagia Posts: 174 Forumite
    edited 14 July 2009 at 10:22AM
    Courier flights are not dead yet, so grab them while you can.

    I took a courier flight last month from Heathrow to Tokyo Narita. I never even touched the documents, let alone saw them, and the process only added about 20 minutes wait in customs at Narita. The flight was delayed, and since these documents have to be delivered in a hurry, both the courier rep and the customs official were rushing!

    Other than that part, both outward and return legs of the flight were as normal - except for the all-in ticket price of £290. I don't know what BA would have otherwise charged, but with KLM I was looking at £450 at the very least.

    The information I found was on this blog, carrier was BA, booked through BA World Cargo.
  • These flights did exist in the late 80.s early 90,s at least.I chauffeured in london then,3 of us in the office and 3 jobs came in,unusual on a Sunday. Mate no1 got to go to New York with docs,i went to Glasgow with photographs of Princess Anne for the Daily Record,s Monday edition and mate no 2 took ,would you believe,....Elephant blankets to the Alps,Ian Botham was doing a Hannibal walk for charity!!! We used to look on these as a bonus to our normal work, and even then they were few and far between.
  • laughing_cow
    laughing_cow Posts: 597 Forumite
    edited 8 July 2009 at 2:40PM
    I did one for BA to Dubai back in 1994. I was told to dress smartish in case they needed to bump me up (sadly didn't happen!) and meet a BA rep at Heathrow about half an hour before check in. I was given an envelope with documents relating to goods in the hold and told to pass it on to another rep in the baggage claims area in Dubai. I was supposed to do the same for the return journey but they didn't need me. I was able to use the normal luggage allowance.

    I remember that it was a specific BA telephone number that I had to call - I was given it by a work colleague, and as it was 15 years ago, I don't have it now. :( My colleague's boyfriend was working in New York for 6 months at the time and she did courier flights every other weekend to see him. From memory, my flight cost about 50% of the normal fare and I booked a month or so in advance.

    I'm not sure how many courier flights exist these days - email/internet has surely removed the need to get many documents delivered quickly? :confused:
  • Stephann
    Stephann Posts: 64 Forumite
    edited 14 July 2009 at 10:25AM
    Hi all,

    I successfully traveled with BA from Heathrow to Bangkok as a courier in June 2006 and bartered them down to a price of £260. Since then, I booked one for my girlfriend from LHR to Tokyo in September 2008 and prices seemed to be fixed at £290 with a 2 month odd waiting list (aparently Japanese families use them quite a lot after something was published on them in Japan).

    The good news is, to book you just need to call British Airways on 0870 320 0301. I've tried and failed to find the non-0870 equivalent!

    Good luck everyone and enjoy the cheap travel! I even bumped into an ex-freight courier at BKK airport who was kicking himself when he saw me carrying a brown envelope as he remembered that he could have come as a courier!
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
  • kmje1978
    kmje1978 Posts: 14 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I used to work for a courier company and handled a lot of these flights, we tended to use our own staff for this unless it was into China then u needed someone with the correct documents quickly. They are not very many now due to the economic climate as they cost the shipper mega bucks.
  • sturll
    sturll Posts: 2,582 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    A good friend of mine works for a company which makes very expensive and industrial Lathes, obviously they are made to spec and when one breaks down wherever it may be in the world they need to get specific parts.
    My friend has been all over the world as a courier of these parts - Obviously smaller parts. I once asked him if i could get in on it and he basically said there was a time when they gave out courier jobs to the general public but not any more. There are always people within the company more than willing to accompany a bolt to Tokyo.
  • PhilU
    PhilU Posts: 4 Newbie
    edited 14 July 2009 at 10:24AM
    Yes, they do exist, I have flown as courier on BA! The routes I did were LHR to Far East.
    Basically you contract to carry the documentation for urgent gargo which is carried on passenger flights. You carry sealed folders and have no problem with these at customs as the airline will deal with that element. You always have the normal baggage allowance for economy fare passengers.
    However there is a lot of rubbish talked about these flights so here goes...
    They are much more common in the US but there are drawbacks, lots of them!!!! As far as I know there is now only BA that do this from the UK.

    1 There is only ever one courier seat on a flight, it is offered to you at the cheapest available fare direct from the airline. You can frequently get the same flight cheaper from a discount flight centre with no ties.
    2 You do not get upgraded unless you are incredibly fortunate, I have never been upgraded.
    3 You have to fullfill lots of conditions and criteria to be accepted for a flight.
    4 You have to report to the cargo reception desk early and be prepared to hang around till the last minute for any late documents. That means you will be the last person to check in and you get whatever seat is left, frequently at the back and no favours are ever available on the flight. You are just another passenger as far as the cabin crew are concerned.
    5 The flights are always sold as one way so, if you are lucky enough to get offered a return seat on the date you want with a return courier job you can have all the above hassle at the foreign airport.
    6 You have to be insured and you have to take and pay for the specified insurance.
    7 You have to be 100% fit, you might be running for your flight !!!

    It can be a lot of hassle for very little if any gain, and you have to be prepared for a lot of hanging about.
    I did go down the route of following up on advertised flights by some bucket shops who 'Guaranteed' the earth, when I eventually found out who the so called flight was with I then made enquiries direct to the airline named (not BA) to be told by their cargo division that they do not and never have offered courier seats. That particular line was a Flight travel shop scam !!!!
    If you are genuinely interested and fancy the experience then contact BA directly, they do not work through agents for these seats.
    One final point is, they are always short notice offers, never more than 3 months in advance.
    Its an experience, it can be a complete pain, its not the cheapest way to get a seat and its for single passengers. You do not get upgraded.
    Would I do any more ? NOT A CHANCE
    Phil U
  • imagia
    imagia Posts: 174 Forumite
    edited 8 July 2009 at 7:07PM
    I'm wondering when exactly you flew on courier tickets with BA, as there are a few discrepancies with my experience (June 2009). Did you do this some time ago? I imagine that the process has changed a fair bit over the years. Bearing in mind that I got my tickets from BA World Cargo, here are my thoughts.
    PhilU wrote: »
    3 You have to fullfill lots of conditions and criteria to be accepted for a flight.

    There were only a few for me. The ticket was non-refundable, I had to dress in smart/casual wear (specifically, no jeans allowed) and I had to report to a specific courier desk at Narita Airport and wait there until explicitly told I could leave. I had to sign and return a contract saying I agreed to these things but other than that it was hardly onerous.
    PhilU wrote: »
    4 You have to report to the cargo reception desk early and be prepared to hang around till the last minute for any late documents. That means you will be the last person to check in and you get whatever seat is left, frequently at the back and no favours are ever available on the flight. You are just another passenger as far as the cabin crew are concerned.

    The only courier duty I had to do was on arrival at Tokyo Narita. Check-in for my outward and inward flights, as well as arrival back at Heathrow, were the same as for ordinary passengers. Incidentally, on both flights I could check-in online and was able to score the best seats available. Checking-in for both flights were as simple as dropping my bags off.
    PhilU wrote: »
    5 The flights are always sold as one way so, if you are lucky enough to get offered a return seat on the date you want with a return courier job you can have all the above hassle at the foreign airport.

    Exactly the opposite experience here. Flights are only sold as returns, at least with BA World Cargo.
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