Is it true you don't have to write "Air Mail" on letters to Europe any more?

A friend of mine said I was being really out of touch to do that, that “everything has gone by air for decades”.

I guess that’s so, but I’d hate to screw up and have a letter end up on a tramp steamer for 3 weeks.

Well, I sent postcards from Poland, Spain, England, and France to Pepperlandgirl in December, and did not write “Air Mail” or “Par Avion” on them. They took about…1.5 weeks to arrive.

Not true. The USPS killed domestic air mail many years ago when they found that they were using air to transport the vast majority of first class mail, anyway.

International mail has three “high end” services (competing with the “overnight delivery” companies that use air mail, exclusively, but the next tier down, Letter Post, is divided between Airmail and Economy. Economy means surface. There is always the remote possibility that on a really slow day, they might just chuck in a few bags of surface mail with the air freight, but that will only happen by accident. There are still separate categories (with separate rates) for air and “economy.”
Air mail starts at .60 or .80 cents for the first ounce (depending on the destination). Economy/surface mail goes at the U.S. domestic rate up to one pound, regardless of destination.

Canada Post provides Air Mail stickers to be affixed to the envlopes for first class letters. I’m guessing that it simply distinguishes it from bulk mail third-class mailings.

I’ve sent letters from Toronto to small-town Indiana, one regular first-class($.76?) and one priority post ($4.00?) and the priority post took twice as long to get there. First class took 4-5 days and the priority post took 9!