What Is an Air Courier Service? Definition, Meaning and Concept

An air courier service could refer to one of two things: the correspondence of travelers with packages going to the same destination, or the companies that actually take control of the shipment. Both provide very fast ways to get packages and documents from one place to another, but they can also be quite expensive. Taking the time to understand what an air courier service offers, and the difference between the two types is very important.

In the first case, an air courier service matches a passenger going to a destination with a package that must also go to the same place. The benefit to the passenger is that they will be paid directly or receive a heavily discounted airfare to their destination. All they have to do is hand in their checked baggage. The luggage space that would normally be allocated to them goes to the shipper.

In some cases, not all checked baggage should be delivered. If there is an allowance of two pieces of checked baggage, for example, the individual may only need to give up one piece. The payment is usually higher when there is a need to give up both pieces, as this is considered a greater inconvenience for the traveler. In most cases, the traveler will not be responsible for handling the shipment. His job is simply to carry the document that lists what is in the baggage, usually called a manifest or waybill.

The other type of air courier service is the type where the company actually uses its own employees, and often its own equipment, to move packages by air. They are sometimes referred to as express air courier services. Some of these companies may offer air and ground services. Others will only offer air service, which means that it is up to the sender to drop off the packages at the airport or a nearby location, and the receiver must pick up the packages from a similar location. In some cases, shippers may contract with commercial ocean liners to use space in their cargo holds to get packages to certain destinations more quickly.

An air service will ship packages on a fixed schedule. Some may not consider this to be a true air courier service, because the mission is not specific to a package or a customer. There are also air courier services that offer what are known as mission-specific air letters. In this situation, the sender will determine the scenario as to exactly where it is sent and when it arrives. This is by far the most expensive option in the industry. That being the case, it also offers the most flexibility for the customer.