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Option- Be an Air Courier......
We've all heard about
the lucky person who signs up as an Air Courier and gets a free
flight to some exotic spot in the world(or to any spot in the world
for that matter!). And everyone I know has heard about people, but
no one really knows that person, making the Air Courier option kind
of an urban myth. Yes, it is a partial myth, but there is a lot
of truth to the legend.
seems too good to be true that someone would pay your way to some
place halfway around the world and all you have to do is show up
at the airport with your carry on luggage and no check in luggage!
Well, you probably won't find someone to pay the whole fare, but
you will be able to get a discounted ticket(anywhere from 30 to
80% or more) if you are willing to go to the right place at the
If you're willing to
travel with only a piece of carry on luggage(although in some cases
you may be able to check in a piece of luggage), and have the flexibility
to change your dates of travel and are traveling alone, this may
be the way to go(trying to synchronize your flight with others is
difficult, although there are cases where whole families flew Air
Courier and ending up in Asia within days of each other!).
Air Courier companies
need documents, parts and all other kinds of cargo sent to places
all over the world. If they check it in on a plane it is a lot faster
and guarantees that it will get to the destination quickly(as opposed
to freight that could wait in the airport for two, three or more
days before being sent). For them it's worth the expense of buying
a ticket, selling it at a discount and then having a body on the
plane that can ensure the delivery of their cargo.(Don't worry-
you don't have to deliver anything. You just meet the Courier Representative
at your departure and destination airports and they help you with
As for the chances of
getting a flight to your specified destination: the more flexible
you are the better. Courier companies usually have only one seat
per flight so if you have a specific date that you have to travel,
you may be out of luck if the seat is already being used by another
Courier. It's best to have range of dates that you can travel(and
the return can usually be anywhere from a few days to a month or
more!). If you want to get the best deal, your best bet is to wait
as long as possible to "volunteer" as Courier Services
will add other enticements(bigger discounts, meals, transportation
to and from airport etc...) to try to get someone to carry their
freight. If you are flexible in your destinations, then you can
get on a last minute list and they will contact you when they really
need to get someone on the flight.
Who can be a courier?
In most cases you have to be at least 18 years of age and in many
cases "Presentable", meaning you must dress for the part.
You'll be representing their service to some degree and they don't
want other passengers to see a scraggly, T-shirt, shorts and sandal
laden courier.... but other than that, it's open to most people.
To be fair, this opportunity
may have passed it's heyday as there is less opportunity now than
before September 11, 2001 as trade restrictions and security measures
have made this more difficult, but it's still worth looking into....
So... if you're into
the Air Courier option, visit some of the links to your right or
left or run a Google search for Air Courier Services... Good Luck!!
like The International Association of Air Travel Couriers
and Air Courier International can give you more information
and help you to catch a ride as a courier!