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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 7th Jul 09, 1:19 PM
    • 1,228Posts
    • 3,559Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    0 WOW
    Great 'Courier Flights' Hunt
    • #1
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:19 PM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Courier Flights' Hunt 7th Jul 09 at 1:19 PM
    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.


    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 07-07-2009 at 5:27 PM.
Page 1
    • Nordictat2
    • By Nordictat2 7th Jul 09, 1:22 PM
    • 1,516 Posts
    • 1,365 Thanks
    Nordictat2
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:22 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:22 PM
    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.
    *If you like the advice I give...let me know by clicking the THANKS button*
    • richardw
    • By richardw 7th Jul 09, 1:46 PM
    • 18,802 Posts
    • 7,893 Thanks
    richardw
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:46 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:46 PM
    Yet finding them’s impossible.
    Originally posted by MSE Jenny
    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.
    Last edited by richardw; 07-07-2009 at 1:51 PM.
    • Nordictat2
    • By Nordictat2 7th Jul 09, 1:58 PM
    • 1,516 Posts
    • 1,365 Thanks
    Nordictat2
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:58 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:58 PM
    Found a website charing ya money for info...(mentioned in my first post)...

    www.courier.org/bulletin

    Here is an interesting read regarding this topic..
    http://budgettravel.about.com/cs/aircouriers/a/mission_courier.htm
    *If you like the advice I give...let me know by clicking the THANKS button*
  • inflationbusting
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:58 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 09, 1:58 PM
    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
  • sdooley
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 09, 11:30 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 09, 11:30 PM
    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.
  • Tigggger
    • #7
    • 8th Jul 09, 10:13 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Jul 09, 10:13 AM
    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.
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:18 AM.
  • msloaded
    • #8
    • 8th Jul 09, 10:41 AM
    Courier flights
    • #8
    • 8th Jul 09, 10:41 AM
    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.

    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:18 AM.
    • dzug1
    • By dzug1 8th Jul 09, 11:13 AM
    • 13,360 Posts
    • 6,125 Thanks
    dzug1
    • #9
    • 8th Jul 09, 11:13 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Jul 09, 11:13 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by Tigggger
    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.
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:19 AM.
  • The Ubiquitous Mrs Smith
    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
    C/C £800 paid off February!
    And onto the next...
  • Little Ettchy
    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:
  • Little Ettchy
    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!
    Originally posted by The Ubiquitous Mrs Smith
    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
    • By smala01 8th Jul 09, 1:15 PM
    • 153 Posts
    • 102 Thanks
    smala01
    "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
    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.
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:22 AM.
  • Dicey1154
    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
    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:
    Last edited by laughing cow; 08-07-2009 at 2:40 PM.
    • Stephann
    • By Stephann 8th Jul 09, 2:39 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Stephann
    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!
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:25 AM.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
  • kmje1978
    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
    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
    Courier Flights
    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
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-07-2009 at 10:24 AM.
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