Airmail

Airmail (or air mail) is a mail transport service branded and sold on the basis of at least one leg of its journey being by air. Airmail items typically arrive more quickly than surface mail, and usually cost more to send. Airmail may be the only option for sending mail to some destinations, such as overseas, if the mail cannot wait the time it would take to arrive by ship, sometimes weeks. The Universal Postal Union adopted comprehensive rules for airmail at its 1929 Postal Union Congress in London. Since the official language of the Universal Postal Union is French, airmail items worldwide are often marked Par avion, literally: "by airplane".

Airmail instructional mark on a parcel from Kyrgyzstan
1912 German airmail between Bork and Brück
A cover carried on a 1932 first flight in the north woods of Canada, with a cachet and franked with both a regular and an airmail stamp

For about the first half century of its existence, transportation of mail via aircraft was usually categorized and sold as a separate service (airmail) from surface mail. Today it is often the case that mail service is categorized and sold according to transit time alone, with mode of transport (land, sea, air) being decided on the back end in dynamic intermodal combinations. Thus even "regular" mail may make part of its journey on an aircraft. Such "air-speeded" mail is different from nominal airmail in its branding, price, and priority of service.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Airmail, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.