2nd Day Air Delivery Modes

I just sent a package to my daughter in LA using UPS Second Day Air. (I didn’t want to send it ground since that could take up to 5 days they said). I only live about 400 miles from LA. I paid extra for 2nd Day Air versus ground but in looking at their routing it appears they are driving it down there anyway. Since you can easily drive it there within 7 hours I was wondering whether they are playing a trick on people like me. I paid for it to be flown down but if it arrives within two days what does it matter how it got there?

My real question is can UPS or FedEx choose not to use airplanes to move packages for their 2nd Day Air delivery if they don’t want to (I’m not talking about local delivers here)? Does it say something in the fine print about that? Sounds nit picky I know…

Dolphinboy, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t use ground transportation if it was to their advantage. I have a friend who works at FedEx but without asking him specifically, I can bet I know how the system works.

When you purchase a ‘2nd Day Air’ package, you have essentially purchased a guarantee it will make it there in two days, not the ‘air’ part per se. I’m sure it will likely go via ground transport, it just goes through less steps to get it expedited to its location. I’m sure the delivery service uses the most economical way possible to get it there within the guaranteed time.

If a plane going that direction has space, it will go that route, but if space is limited, it will likely go ground, or wait a day, and then go on the NEXT plane going that direction the next day.

That was what I thought but then they would have to evaluate every package separately and decide on a case by case basis whether they put it on a plane, on a truck, or hold it for a while. That seemed like a really complex problem when you are handling hundreds of thousands of packages a day… perhaps in most cases it’s obvious (when it has to go more than 1000 miles it MUST fly, when it’s less than 200 miles you must truck it) and it only becomes an issue when they have a choice in delivery mechanisms they can use to get it there within the time period guaranteed. Thanks for the info.

UPS’ web site can give you information on how long it will take to ship something via ground service, given both ZIP codes. I’ve found this to be accurate for the majority of items I’ve shipped with them. What you’re buying with 2nd day delivery is the guarantee, which may not be worth much, actually, since occasionally they do screw up. If you use ground service, it most likely will arrive in two days or less, but you can’t complain if it doesn’t.

You could use greyhound.com (Yeah, the bus) to get it there the same day!..I did, for a small package from Monterey to SF (about 129 miles), cost $5.28 !