Living and working overseas


Air Courier Travel


Bill Adams shares his experiences of being an Air Courier and gives you hints and suggestions on how you too can travel the world cheaply as an Air Courier...

Air Couriers’ or ‘On Board Couriers’ – You may have heard the names before but do you know exactly what they are, and how you can become one? Not many people are aware that drastically reduced airfares are available to those who accept the responsibility of carrying time-sensitive documents (or freight) on board their flight on behalf of a third-party. These people are referred to as ‘air couriers’, ‘on board couriers’ or ‘freelance couriers’ and many people the world over travel on some of the most reputable airlines, to some of the best destinations, for a fraction of the cost of regular passengers (and sometimes even free). Indeed, some people set themselves up as so-called ‘professional freelance couriers’ and actively seek payment in addition to a free flight.






cover
The Courier Air Travel Handbook
By Mark I. Field

All you need to know about travelling the world as an Air Courier. Highly recommended reading!
Click here for more info

How much money does being an Air Courier save me?

Well, that really depends on the airline that you’re flying with, what kind of consignments (packages) that they need to send, how urgent those packages are and how close to the actual departure date you agree to become an Air Courier for them. Obviously the closer to the actual departure date the more of a demand there will be for an Air Courier. In these situations then the broker, or airline, will be offering a very attractive rate in order to get the goods delivered. Conversely though, the later you leave it to book your flights the less chance there is that you’ll get a seat on the flight that you want. But the farther out from the departure date that you book your flights the more expensive (generally) the tickets will be and some agencies demand that you need to book your Air Courier ticket at least a month or so in advance.

It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, but the more you become familiar operating as an Air Courier the better you’ll get at finding the great deals. It’s certainly not unknown to get up to 80% or so of your airfare paid for by the third party and I’ve had many, many flights that were totally free.


Being an Air Courier sounds too good to be true - What’s the catch?

Well, for the most part you are selling a part of your luggage allowance on board the flight, as well as your time. In addition to this the on board courier must adhere to the specified flights so flexibility is not an option. Airlines and courier agents will have a list of departure dates and destinations where an Air Courier is required and as the date of that departure draws nearer the discount for that ticket becomes greater. As such, the more flexible you are in terms of your departure dates the bigger the chance of a very good deal.

All is not beneficial however to the Air Courier. One of the major drawbacks of flying as an Air Courier is the fact that you are normally unable to fly with a partner - at least not with both of you on a discounted ticket. With some planning you may be able to ensure that both you and your partner are sitting next to each other on the same flight, but one of you will have to pay the regular ticket price as most airlines and courier brokers have very limited daily shipments to any particular destination and two Air Couriers on the same flight is extremely rare. If you both wish to travel as Air Couriers then you may have to consider taking different airlines (if possible) or travelling at different times. It’s not impossible to arrange, just extremely difficult. Again, if this is something that you intend to do often you’ll find that you get better and better at using the system to your advantage.







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