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Flying Courier

Flying Courier

What exactly is a courier?
A courier agrees to transport shipping documents and baggage for a courier company in exchange for a greatly reduced fare on an airline ticket. Now you may be asking yourself why would a company do this when they could just send items by freight. In many cases, it is often cheaper to buy a regular airline ticket than it is to send items freight. By law, a live person must accompany items sent as baggage, which is a very lucky loophole for the frugal traveler.

Bussinesses especially use couriers if time is of the essence. The items arrive speedily and clear customs faster than those shipped as freight. This exact situation got me two free trips from Los Angeles, California to Glasgow, Scotland. An L.A. electronics company was having trouble keeping up with demand of a Glasgow cell phone factory.

What's the catch?
The biggest drawback of most courier flights is that you must give up your luggage allowance, meaning you have pack everything you need for your trip in your carry-on luggage, as this is all you will be allowed. This isn't as difficult as it may sound. With a little bit of careful packing, you can fit an awful lot into a carry-on bag (not to mention you can layer the clothes you're wearing on the plane). Some courier flights do allow you to have a baggage allowance -- in this case all you'll probably be transporting is paperwork-- but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Most often your courier duties will only be one way, even though you will receive a round trip ticket for your trouble. So even though you must pack conservatively when going to your destination, you can shop till you drop once you get there because you will usually be allowed to check baggage on the return trip. For this reason I always pack a collaspsible bag or two in my carry-on luggage so I can get all of my goodies home.

Check the Details Before Going
Always check the details of the ticket you are buying before you leave. Since a courier ticket does involve an obligation, it is important to check the details to make sure the ticket you are getting meets your needs.

Give flying courier a try, you'll be amazed at how easy it is and how much you'll save. I've passed this information on to several friends over the past year who have since become seasoned couriers. I see no reason to fly any other way.

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