Leaving on a Jet Plane – With Children

A trip of a lifetime. Traveling overseas to a foreign land, visiting a new place and sampling different foods. Sounds like a heavenly vacation, right?

Well, it might not be heavenly if you're a child.

Traveling can be a stressful, chaotic and generally disruptive time for children. Leaving the safety of their home, friends and pets can make a child angry and scared. Having to stay in a place where people do not talk like they do, sleep in a strange room, and eat food they normally would not eat is very wearing on youngger children.

What can you do to make your child's trip a more pleasant one?

Depending on the age of your child, there are several things you can do to help them adjust to leaving the comfort of their home and enjoy venturing into a new world.


Even a newborn has to have a passport so be sure to get your child's passport done ahead of time. It can take up to 6 weeks for a passport to arrive using the standard service. They do have an expedited service which can take up to 2 weeks for a higher price, but planning ahead will save you the worry of not having your child's passport in time.

Bring enough baby food and formula for the duration of your flight. Call ahead to the airline and ask what is allowed on the plane. Recent events have caused a tightening of airline restrictions, so making a call first will make it easier for you to clear the security check and be on your way.

When picking the toys to bring on the plane, leave the musical and noisy ones at home. Your sanity, as well as your fellow passenger's, would be sorely tested after a few hours of same children's song playing over and over. Choose the quiet toys your baby likes the best to help entertain them when they are not sleeping.

Making sure you have all of your baby's supplies is crucial. Estimate one diaper for every hour of travel time plus one. You want to be sure to have enough diapers for the entire time you'll be traveling. Do not forget to add in the time spend waiting in airports. While some shops have emergency packs for babies, most do not carry diapers and such. You would not want to be almost to your destination and run out of diapers.

Bring plenty of wipes to clean up baby's bottom and messes. Have a couple of cloth diapers for use as burp cloths or to clean up big messes. Also brings plenty of plastic baggies to store dirty clothes, diapers, etc.

Bring an extra change or two of clothing for the baby in case of spills or diaper overflows. Do not forget an extra shirt for Mom as well.

Make sure you have pacifiers – if your baby uses them – teeth toys, and favorite blanket packed in the diaper bag. Children are soothed by familiar things, especially things that associate with home and comfort.

Toddlers and older

Many of the things above also apply to toddler and up. But there are a few more things to do to make your child's travel experience a fun one.

Depending on how old your child is, let them help plan your vacation. Knowing them to help decide which activities you do will go a long way in making them more comfortable with taking the trip.

Also, do not just plan a lot of adult oriented activities. Be sure to plan some events aimed at children; zoos, amusement parks and toy stores will keep your child's interest and make your trip more pleasant for all.

Do not be in a rush to make your destination. Make sure you leave in plenty of time to get to the airport and check in. Remember, the more anxious you are, the more anxious your child will be.

Bring snacks, small toys, coloring books and crayons on the plane with you. No one knows your child better than you, so pick things you know will keep them happy for hours.

Keeping your child entertained while traveling is esse4ntial to having a sane and enjoyable trip for both of you. Be sure to plan your vacation carefully so everyone has fun.

New Piper Aircraft – Things You Should Know About Them

"Piper Aircraft" was "New Piper Aircraft" in the year in 1995.This air craft manufacturing company, originally started in 1927 by Clarence Gilbert Taylor and Gordon A Taylor in Rochester, New York, has over the years, undergone a metamorphosis in terms of its name and fame and now stands as one of the most reputed icons of the aviation industry. One of its latest offerings, the "Piper Jet" is a wonder babe in the skies and promises to out do all aircraft in its class.

Flights from Fancy

This wonder bird of the skies is a high performance jet that cruises at speeds of 360 knots, has a mission range of 1300 nautical miles and a full-fuel payload of 800 lbs. This legendary luxury class jet, incorporating cutting edge technology and the latest safety technoly features certifies it for altitudes that take you above the weather. The Piper jet's clean sheet design and strong, smooth all-metal body enhances its angelic appearance.

The major design features of this Piper Jet are: –

Design for safety in case of an engine rotor bust

Piper Automatic Trim System (PATS).

Single engine operations.

Luxury and Comfort

The Piper jet sports Dynamic Seats for maximum comfort and beauty and is certified to conform to the highest safety standards.

The Advanced Cockpit is designed to incorporate the next generation avionics and control systems available.

The oversized 36-inch door provides ease of entry for passengers and cargo.

The Wing Spar is located below the cabin floor to create more cabin space and increase passenger comfort.

The Luxury Club Seating provides a larger seating area that provides more legroom and increased personal space.

Incorporates built in flexibility to accommodate either an additional Seventh Seat, or a lavatory or storage space.


Piper Aircraft also has on offer (as an optional add-on) for its aircraft the Piper Inadvertent Icing Protection System (PIIPS) that allows you to remove icing from the propeller, wings and horizontal stabilizer. This advanced "wiping Wing Technology" provides peace of mind and confidence that icy conditions can be handled with ease.

High speeds, supple contours, Stellar avionics and safety features are the Key Selling Propositions of this legend of the skies that assures you "Freedom of Flight". reason to take to the skies.

Airlines in Europe

Europe is one of the world's seven continents with a large population and a vast amount of people traveling to and from various places across the globe every single day. Some of the best airline companies in the world are based in Europe – International Airlines Group, Turkish Airlines, Air Berlin and SAS Group. This article gives distinct information on everything you need to know about these airlines.

International Airlines Group

International Airlines Group is a British-Spanish multinational airline holding company formed in January 2011 by the merger of British Airways and Iberia. The headquarters are located in London with its registered office in Madrid, Spain. Based on revenue generation measured in 2010, International Airlines Group is ranked as the seventh largest airline company in the world and also the third largest in Europe they also hold a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.

IAG has 350 aircraft serving around 200 destinations with British Airways and Iberia operating under separate brand names.

Turkish Airlines

Both the headquarters and main base of Turkish Airlines are located at Ataruk Airport in Yesilkoy, Istanbul. Turkish airlines is the national flag carrier of Turkey and operates a service to 163 international and 41 domestic cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and USA. The airline was formed on the 20th of May 1933 and became a part of the Ministry of Transportation in 1938.

Air Berlin

Based on the number of passengers commuted, Air Berlin is Germany's second largest and Europe's sixth largest airline. The airline operates flight networks to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands and North Africa and to the intercontinental destinations in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the USA. With the agenda of attracting business traffic, Air Berlin gives more preference on serving major German and European cities. The airline headquarters is located at the Airport Bureau Center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin.

SAS Group

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) was formed on the 1st of August 1946 and began its operations on the 17th of September 1946. SAS is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and is the largest airline in Scandinavia. This airline has a remarkable history of being the first airline to schedule a polar route in 1954 (The DC -6B flew Copenhagen to Los Angeles with stops in Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland and Winnipeg, Canada) which then interested more US tourists in the attractive price structure and free transit to other European destinations. Also, film crews in Hollywood strongly benefited from this service as the film crew could easily travel and reach various shooting spot destinations. SAS was also the first airline to offer flight service over the North Pole in 1957.

Exploring the Tranquil Biker’s City

About Amsterdam

Artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city’s ancient Golden Age and scenic beauty are some of the features of the Capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. Mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, Amsterdam holds the status as the Dutch capital. The city is also called the cultural capital of the Netherlands.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange happens to be the oldest stock exchange in the world located in the city center. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer. The city also was previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.

Throughout the year, you can find Flights to Amsterdam by various different travel portals.

Tourist Attractions

The opulent city of Amsterdam offers so many sightseeing and touring opportunities that you will be flooded with choices. He art and history buffs will have a prodigious time exploring the numerous affluent attractions such as Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Museum Our Lord in the Attic, The Resistance Museum, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Micropia, Body Worlds: The Happiness Project, Begijnhof, Het Scheepvaartmuseum | The National Maritime Museum and Museum of Bags and Purses.

The nature romantics can delight themselves with the spectacular sites such as Vondelpark, Prinsengracht, Herengracht, Emperor’s Canal (Keizersgracht) and Amsterdamse Bos. The bookworms can find a lot to discover at the Central Library (Openbare Bibliotheek).

The theatre, Ballet and Opera adorers can uncover some stellar display of stage crafts with Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Anne Frank, Her Diary On Stage, Koninklijk Theater Carre, Tuschinski Theater and Theater Amsterdam.

For the foodies, Vinkeles, Brasserie Ambassade, Omelegg – City Centre, Ivy & Bros, Restaurant Johannes and Arendsnest Dutch Beer Bar are must stopovers to relish some of the most appetizing meals in the city.

The best nightclubs and bars includes Wynand Fockink, In de Wildeman, Brouwerij’t IJ, Abraxas Coffeeshop, Beer Tasting Room Arendsnest and Beer Temple.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Amsterdam is from April to May and September to November – right before or directly after the summertime peak tourist season. You can contend with lesser visitors, rejoice somewhat milder temperatures and you can also find some Cheap Flights to Amsterdam.

Major Airport

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (IATA: AMS) is the main international airport serving the city. It ranks as the fifth busiest airport in Europe and the world’s fourteenth busiest in terms of number of passengers. It is built as a single-terminal concept: one large terminal split into three large departure halls.

Aviation History

Travel by airplane has a long and interesting history starting from the first commercial flight in 1933 on the modern airliner, Boeing 247. This important event made a definitive mark in the time line of aviation but was only one of many major accomplishments. The following will highlight a few of the fascinating landmarks of aviation history that punctuated the last century.

The Zeppelin Hindenburg

The 1930s revealed the so-called airship era of aviation history. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg was one such example of the popularity of these. However, the event surrounding this airship was a sad one as tragedy interrupted during flight. Destined for Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, the Hindenburg disaster occurred as the airship talked on fire and crashed. Thirty-five fatalities were counted in this tragic incident and needless to say, confidence in airships dramatically reduced. News coverage broadcast the terrible news all over the globe, essentially bringing the airship period to a sad close.

Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

The sound barrier was broken by Chuck Yeager in 1947, marking another big event in the history of aviation. Yeager was a test pilot in the United States Air Force and flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1. The aircraft was at an altitude of 45,000 feet when this occurred. The Bell X-1 is on display in the Smithsonian Institution's national museum for air and space. Yeager received more than one award for this accomplishment, including the MacKay and Collier trophy in 1948 and a trophy for Harmon International in 1954. The Myra, West Virginia native went on to bust through other barriers of sound and even altitude years later.

Boeing 747

Fast-forwarding from Chuck Yeager's major accomplishment to the 1970s, many people recognize the Boeing 747 and it is often referred to endearingly as the "jumbo jet" of aircraft. Its cargo transport and commercial flight role make it a significant part of aviation history. This airliner, Boeing 747, made its first commercial flight from New York to London in the early part of that decade. Major airlines that use the model include British Airways, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. The Boeing 747, apart from being recognizable, is important in that it could carry such a large load of passengers or cargo. In fact, it held the record for carrying the most passengers for several decades.

Aviation Continues to Develop

The Zeppelin Hindenburg crisis, Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier, and the introduction of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet are just three of the many turning points in aviation. While many more events exist on the historical time line of flight, these events show some of the individual pieces of the puzzle. Events like these have helped shape the history of aviation and offer opportunities for learning and reflection. Flight has come a long way and will continue to change and grow in years to come, making it an exciting part of technology and history!

Traveling With Special Circumstances

In the National Lampoon Vacation movies anything that can go wrong to Chevy Chase does. The hotel isn’t as described in the brochure, the car is too small and the amusement park is closed; the list could go on. With the introduction of the Internet into the average American home, planning vacations has become easier than ever. Incidentally, when vacationing we all have special circumstances, including children, pets, disabilities or medical requirements. And sometimes your destination makes all the difference.

These are the answers to a few frequently asked travel questions, and tips to remember when traveling with special circumstances.

Flying. Flying has become one of the most common forms of travel, but as airlines get bigger they need to accommodate a larger number of people and their demands.

Flying With Children. Always inform the airline you are traveling with children when you by your tickets. Reservations for infants and children under 2 cannot be made on most online travel sites. You must contact the airline directly.

    • Newborns. Most airlines will not allow a child under seven-days old to travel on any plane. Often if the child is that young they will also require a doctor’s permission slip.
    • Small Children. There is usually two options when traveling with small children, lap or buy a seat. If the child is less than 2-years old they can sit in your lap for domestic flights. Most airlines do not charge for lap children. However, if you feel more comfortable, you can buy a seat and place the child in an FAA approved restraint. Buying a ticket for these children is usually discounted substantially and most car seats are approved. Double-check the airline for FAA requirements. All international flights require children to be in restraints.

Unaccompanied Minors. It’s not uncommon for children to fly alone. Many are seasoned travelers bouncing between parents, friends or relatives. Most airlines will take responsibly of minors for a fee. The cost is usually between $50 and $100 depending on the airline. Additionally, the age requirements may differ. For most, children between the ages of 5 and 7 are only allowed on direct flights. Children between 8 and 14 can fly on connecting flights. The age when children are not required an escort depends on the airline. For example, Delta requires all children under the age of 14 to have an escort whereas with United, children over 12 it’s optional.

Pets. Many airlines accommodate animals of different sizes. You can take them as carry-on, checked as baggage or shipped. Some states require a health certificate. It is suggested to have all veterinary paper work available including shots. Always call the airline or check their website before booking your ticket. Some are more restrictive than others.

Most animals must be 8 to 12-weeks old to fly. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggest not to sedate cats and dogs. This may effect their natural equilibrium and cause injury. Many of these tips and suggestions are for domestic flights in the 48 continental United States. International restrictions and fares may vary.

    • Carry-on. Carry on pets must be small enough to fit into a kennel under the seat in front of you. There is usually a fee of about $50 to $100 per animal. Most airlines only accept cats and dogs. Delta will also accept, birds, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, whereas, SouthWest doesn’t accept pets of any kind.
    • Checked Baggage. Larger warm-blooded mammals and birds are usually checked as baggage. Animals must be in comfortable kennels and are taken at the check-in counter and retrieved in baggage claim. They are safely placed under the plane in a pressurized and heated compartment. There is usually a $100 charge for checking your animal. Sometimes it is more difficult for baggage handlers to get your pet to your connecting flight. When booking your flight remember to give yourself between a one and three hour layover.
    • Air Cargo. Many airlines have cargo services. This is for those shipping pets to friends or family without their owner. Rates depend on size and destination of the animal. Check your carrier’s website for further details. Always include identification tags with your address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of the person receiving the animal. Additionally, do not put a leash or muzzle on the animal, this may cause a choking hazard.

Disabilities. All airlines are dedicated to making everyone’s travel comfortable. Most airlines are wheelchair accessible and willing to work with people with all kinds of disabilities. Always inform the airline if you or a loved one has special needs prior to departure. This allows the staff to prepare for your accommodations.

Many airlines can provide Braille safety cards, captioned safety videos, individual safety briefings, onboard wheelchairs and more. Guide dogs are usually accepted as checked baggage and don’t require a fee. Many airlines will also accommodate those with food allergies or related illnesses like diabetes.

Hotels and Cars. Always contact your hotel or rental company to make special arrangement regarding lodging and transportation. Most hotels and car companies will try to accommodate you in all ways. When traveling with special circumstances like children, pets or disabilities, always take your hotel and on-ground travel arrangements into account.

If you plan to take the family dog on vacation with you, keep a few things in mind when booking your lodging. Although the hotel may accept pets, ask where they stay, in the room or in a hotel kennel. Furthermore, find out if the hotel offers walking services. If you are sightseeing all day, you don’t want your poor pup stuck in the room needing to visit the grassy knoll across the street.

For small children, most hotels can provide a playpen or crib for them to sleep in. Many car rental companies can also provide car seats and additional child restraints.

Cruises. Pets are not aloud on most cruise liners; however, children are. Most cruises provide several forms of entertainment for children while at sea. If you decide to cruise with children always look into the liner’s child services prior to booking a room.

    • Children and Young Adults. There are usually several free, child-friendly activities previously planned by the cruise liner to keep kids and young adults busy. Activities include arts and crafts, movies, games and child friendly pools. Sometimes the cruise liner will have teen dances and teen specialized activities.
    • Children under Two. Children under 2-years old are not usually eligible for activities. However, most liners offer babysitting services from about $6 to $10 an hour.
    • Disabilities. Many cruise liners try to accommodate those with disabilities to the best of their ability. All floors have elevators and are wheelchair accessible. Those in wheelchairs, requiring oxygen tanks or health requirements usually board and disembark before the general public. Those with sight or hearing disabilities may need to make extra special arrangement with the liner prior to purchasing tickets.

Traveling in today’s day and age can be a tricky business. There are so many circumstances to take into account. Always remember airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruises are ultimately in the hospitality business. They understand there are special circumstances and all are fully trained to accommodate you and your loved ones.

Why Do Flights to Hong Kong Show Overbooking Profiles?

Of late, the UK travellers seeking cheap flights to Hong Kong repeatedly experience overbooking profiles. The dominant carriers, such as Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern, Dragon, Cathay Pacific, KLM and British Airways despite adding new flights to HongKong and Macau frequently, often face exceeding number of passengers willing to explore this part of the world. The causes for this can be many.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Asia-Pacific countries are showing higher growth of air traffic. As per the IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani, “Europe is recovering at half the speed of Asia with passenger growth of 7.8 percent compared to the 15.5 percent growth in Asia-Pacific”. It is interesting to know that The People’s Republic of China bagged the maximum growth of demand for air travel in June. The 2010 World Expo Shanghai can be considered as a significant devise for driving most of the travellers to China including Macau. Also, with the introduction of cheap flights to Hong Kong by many airlines, a lot of tourists’ destinations have been diverted to East Asia.

Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of China (SAR), has over the years attracted travellers from all parts of the world. The place is rightly known as “the Pearl of the Orient” with an incredible blend of ethnicity and modernity. Its islands namely Cheung Chau and Lantau are places of serenity. The exotic beaches of Hong Kong, particularly Tung Wan, Kwun Yam Wan, Cheung Sha and Repulse Bay are places you will like to go again and again. The gourmet delights of the Oriental will follow your taste-buds wherever you go.

Hong Kong is a paradise for those who love shopping. With great shopping centres like Pacific Place, Times Square and The Landmark, It’s offers a lovely shopping experience. The Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the best in the world which enables you to become a child once again. The fun-filled park is divided into four chief parts namely Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Main Street, USA. Other places which attract millions of travellers to Hong Kong include Ocean Park and Victoria Peak.

It is often visited due to Macau which is said to be ‘the Oriental Las Vegas’. This can be another possibility for the excessive demand for flights to Hong Kong. Macau is rich with a profusion of delights such as Baroque Catholic Churches, squares and plazas, temples, museums and casinos. Most people cover the 40KM distance of Macau from Hong Kong through trains, helicopters or ferries.

Airport Car Parking and Benefits

Going on holidays is a great way to freshen up one's body and mind. Many airline companies offer attractive rates and packages to woo people who plan to go on vacation to some of the most beautiful and popular tourist places. Nowadays, more and more people are opting to travel by plane, and along with that airport transfer services and airport car parking businesses have been registering a greater jump in their profits. All the major airports around the world offer car parking services to the needy. One has the option to book the space in advance by calling up or by booking online.

There are quite a few options for people to choose from. Let it be a short-term or long term parking requirement, or a meet and greet service, one can exercise one's option according to ones requirements and convenience. A host of benefits accrue to those who make use of the services of these specialized agencies as the advantages are not at all limited to enjoying the comfort of using your own car. It is a good idea to book the space online in order to avail of the savings. Many people believe that airport parking is a very expensive affair. But, if you plan well ahead in time and book online, you will see that it is not so. You could be able to save quite a good amount by seeking out a great deal and can enjoy spending it on other holiday aspects. Many types of package are there and one would be able to save up to 60 percent on the standard rates.

Early bird gets the worm, so reserving the space in advance is the one thing that you must carry out and it is a sure shot way to save your efforts and money. You will not have to worry about parking related matters as and when you arrive at the airport. Airport car parking space offered by these agencies is the safest place for your vehicle to be in. Since the car parking lot is under continuous surveillance, the safety of your vehicle is assured. Whether you are there on your holiday or on business, you are vested with the liberty to choose the kind of parking services you require, short-term or long-term, depending on the duration of your visit.

In the meeting and greet service, a company person will be right there waiting for you at the parking lot and he will park your car safely at some spot inside the area. You will need to pay something extra but the factor of convenience plays a major part in their decisions. This could be a great help to people who want a faster exit from the place. And you will be receiving a courty service at the parking lot, where a vehicle will take you to the terminal. As you return from the trip, you will be taken to your parking space in another vehicle. For many people, airport car parking services is one that can not be done without, while on the frequent jaunts.

The Advantages of Airport Lounges

That time of year is upon us, the time of year where we stare longingly out the window – our gaze trapped by the ominous gray sky that seemed to you inside your office. One thing is clear. A holiday is needed. The January blues bring on the daydreams of sitting on the beach under the electric blue sky, bronzing your skin sipping on a sex on the beach cocktail with a novelty umbrella in it. Realize this day-dream into reality. At the moment you can book some absolute bargains due to a slump in the holiday market, and down to certain tensions in certain countries (Egypt etc.) tropical climates have never been cheaper. So why not make the mountains of paperwork seem a bit less daunting and book yourself a stress-free getaway?

Escape to an Airport Lounge

Whilst you're at it, why not add to this 'stress-free' vibe getaway, why not book your holiday away with an extra treat; treat yourself to airport lounge access.

With Airport lounges, you can escape all the calamity and chaos that any airport has to offer – children crying, parents stressing, security guards giving you the evil eye. With airport lounges you can scuttle away to a little comfortable paradise; a stylish lounge where you can enjoy plenty of excellent facilities, such as:

· Free fax and phone services, for those moments when you just can not escape the office.

· Hi-Speed ​​Wi-Fi

· Complimentary drinks service, quenching your thirst with a cool beverage.

· Low rates of exchange on foreign currency and free passport information.

· Constant journey updates regarding keeping times, gate numbers and final calls.

· Normally with Airport Lounge access packages you will benefit from other great offers including airport parking, hotels, care hire etc.

A well-needed get away with airport lounge access on top of that makes for a winning combination. Do not stress yourself out before you even arrive at your destination, stay on top of things, put your feet up and keep relaxed in an airport lounge.

Advantages of the Airport Lounge

Imagine yourself sitting in a comfy chair in the private airport lounge. You are away from all the hustle and bustle an airport contains. You have complimentary cold beverage in one hand, a complimentary snack in the other. You wonder if you have got any emails from work before the big meeting tomorrow, so you take advantage of the free internet service provided to you, or if you need to, make use of the free to use phone or fax machines. It is never possible to know when your flight is going to be delayed, or for how long, so having a membership to gain constant access to airport lounges all over the world is a great asset to have – so for those moments when you are truly stuck, you can escape to a completely stress-free environment.

There are other benefits also. With certain companies, if you sign up for a scheme which grants you access to airport lounges – you will receive some great extras, which may include:

· Care Hire Discounts

· Airport Parking

· Hotel Discounts

· Luggage transit discount

· Airport transfers – low rates on foreign currency.

· Discount on travel gadgets

· Others discounts and promotions

Keeping you up to date with your Journey

If you have exclusive airport lounge access , the stress of journey times and details will all be handled for you. Certain airport lounges will keep you up date with all the essential details of your check in and boarding times, gate numbers and that important final call. With certain services, it is possible to keep the person awaiting your arrival updated as to the details of your landing time.

All in all, do not let airports get the better of you when it comes to the crunch. Life itself throws enough stress our way for us to combat in every day situations, so why not treat yourself – keeping that blood pressure low before you rise high into the air.

What Is the USPS EPacket Service

In January 2013, the USPS will be increasing their rates for First Class International Mail for packages dramatically. In many cases, the rates to ship a package internationally will double. Although this may seem like very bad news to many Amazon and eBay sellers, there is some good news. The USPS is officially launching a new International Service called Commercial ePacket in the United States.

Commercial ePacket is a USPS product offered via the services of a USPS approved Pre-Qualified Wholesaler (PQW). This service seems to be very beneficial to many shippers sending lightweight low value items overseas. Amazon & eBay sellers can now take comfort in the fact that they will no longer have to prepare the documentation and required labels for exporting from the USA. The USPS PQW that you select, will take care of all the necessary documentation. In addition, all eRetailers can now track these packages on USPS.com to the 14 participating countries.

Some key features of the Commercial ePacket Service are as follows:

  • Economical eCommerce postal product with tracking and delivery confirmation
  • Lightweight low value merchandise, < 2 Kilos & < $400 value
  • Dispatched as commercial Letter-Post Packets and utilizes overseas foreign prime post network.
  • Transit time is 4-7 days
  • Postal Customs Clearance (Duties & Taxes paid by recipient)
  • Free returns on undeliverable items
  • Tracking is performed right on USPS.com
  • 14 Participating countries: Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain. Ireland, Finland, France, Portugal, and UK.
  • Delivery scan rates of 90% on average for all countries
  • Pricing provided by a USPS approved PQW
  • Induction sites are New York, Chicago, & Los Angeles
  • Acceptance scan by USPS and delivery scan by foreign post
  • Unique Label and Barcode ID – LX item prefix
  • Electronic manifesting, labeling done by Pre-Qualified Wholesaler, & dropped off in sacks ONLY

How does ePacket work?

Customers would contact a USPS PQW in their region and speak with someone regarding how they can get started. Ideally you would want to select a PQW who has mailing capabilities in all three acceptance cities. This becomes extremely important during inclement weather and natural disasters. Using a PQW with multiple facilities located in all 3 acceptance facilities ensures that your mail can be re-routed to another acceptance center if one becomes closed or has no flights departing as we saw during Hurricane Sandy.

The PQW will walk you throught the process of setting up your labels and data capture features. Once you have all of the data capture features running, you will either send your shipments or the PQW will dispatch a vehicle to your location. Each day you will need to provide the mail you are dispatching and send a manifest electronically outlining all the customs information for each package.

Once your packages arrive at the PQW, the PQW will confirm that they have received your electronic manifest for that particulars days shipment. If the PQW does not receive your manifest they can not process your mail through the Commercial ePacket service. After receipt of your manifest the electronic information will be uploaded into the USPS system and all the labels and necessary customs documentation will be generated. The packages will then have the proper labeling and will be sacked by country of destination and delivered to the USPS designated International Service Center (ISC).

Once accepted at the USPS ISC, the sacks will be opened and every package scanned as evidence of posting and placed on the next available outbound flight for that destination country. After flight arrival, the packages will clear through customs via the Postal Customs Clearance mechanism. This ensures that your packages move quickly through the clearance process and will not be impacted by typical delays incured by the normal airfreight clearance system.

After Clearance, packages will then be entered into the PRIME network and will receive priority processing within the destination country. Customers that are waiting to receive their packages, can have confidence that they will see the tracking information directly on the USPS website. This one feature should eliminate many customer service calls that many Amazon & eBay sellers receive daily from their customers.

Once the packages make it through the postal system of the destination country, the package will be scanned as delivered by the mail carrier once it is delivered.This scanning event will then be uploaded into the USPS site and available to all who wish to monitor the progress of each shipment.

Based on my initial findings, this service seems to be an excellent offering for companies shipping 100 or more packages daily. However, some customers that are shipping less than 100 packages per day, may also be able to benefit from this service if they decide to consolidate one or two days worth of orders before dispatching. Obviously, each customer has their own idiosyncracies that may factor into when a service like Commercial ePacket becomes beneficial. However, depending upon how far you are from JFK Airport, O’hare International Airport, or Los Angeles International Airport it may become feasible to use the service daily even if you have less than 100 packages daily. For specifics regarding the service, I would contact a USPS approved PQW today.