USPS, FedEx, and UPS Have Urgent New Shipping Deadlines for Customers
Take note of these important dates for any holiday mail and packages.
If you've been to the post office or a FedEx or UPS store recently, you might have found it even more crowded than usual. The holiday season is already in full swing, and people across the country are sending out greeting cards and gifts to distant loved ones. But if you're stalling, you'll want to make sure you don't procrastinate too much. All three of the country's most prominent shipping companies have announced important deadlines for customers to get their shipments out on time. Read on to find out when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and UPS are warning customers to send packages by to ensure deliveries before Christmas.
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USPS, FedEx, and UPS have been prepping for increased demand this month.
The winter holiday season is always a busy time for shipping companies, and 2022 is not expected to be any different. "Package volumes have increased with the rise of online shopping, and this holiday season USPS is preparing for an even higher volume of packages," the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a Dec. 6 post. According to the GAO, the Postal Service handled more than 50 million packages in the U.S. last year.
FedEx and UPS executives have also indicated that they're prepping for a holiday surge in 2022, according to CNBC. FedEx CCO Brie Carere assured the news outlet in late October that the company is "ready for service" to support its customers' holiday sales despite recent cost cuts. And back in September, UPS announced that it was hiring over 100,000 new seasonal workers to prepare for "the holiday rush."
Deadlines are earlier this year for FedEx and UPS.
Holiday shipping deadlines in the U.S. for FedEx and UPS appear similar to what they were in 2021. Ground delivery deadlines for FedEx start on Dec. 14, while they vary for UPS. Both shipping companies have different deadlines for express options, with UPS' first cut-off date hitting on Dec. 20 for UPS 3 Day select. But there is one major difference this year for FedEx and UPS: The last date to ensure arrival by Christmas Day is earlier because the holiday falls on a Sunday in 2022.
Last year, UPS offered holiday shipping through Dec. 23 and FedEx offered shipping options through Dec. 24. This year, however, the last day to ship with FedEx for Christmas 2022 is Dec. 23, and you'll need to use FedEx SameDay shipping.
The UPS shipping deadlines end even earlier than that. The last day to ship with UPS for Christmas Day is Dec. 22, when customers can use the company's Next Day Air shipping option.
USPS also announced its holiday shipping deadlines.
Thee USPS is also preparing its customers for the holidays. The agency issued a news release on Oct. 4, detailing its 2022 shipping deadlines for "estimated delivery" before Dec. 25.
"The Postal Service wants to make sure that you send all of your holiday mail in time for your family and friends to receive and enjoy for the holidays," the USPS says on its website. "Therefore, in order to ensure timely delivery of your cards, letters or packages, please note the shipping deadline dates for the following different types of mail."
For most of the U.S., the Postal Service has a deadline of Dec. 15 for its Retail Ground Service. First-Class Service for Christmas Day deliveries is extended until Dec. 17, however. And you can ship with regular Priority Mail Service through Dec. 19 and express Priority Mail Service up until Dec. 23.
But some options have already passed.
If you're shipping to specific places, you might have already missed some of the Postal Service's holiday deadlines. For Retail Ground Service to Alaska, customers had to have shipped packages by Dec. 2 for arrival before Christmas Day.
Military mail deadlines were even earlier than that: For expected delivery by Dec. 25 with Retail Ground Service to air and army post offices, fleet post offices, or diplomatic post offices, customers had to send out mail by Nov. 5. For these military facilities, the deadline for First-Class Mail Service and regular Priority Mail Service is quickly approaching on Dec. 9.
Don't wait for other deadlines to get closer either. The sooner you ship, the better, because the USPS warns on its website that no matter what, it is "not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted" that shipments will arrive before Dec. 25. Instead, the agency said its deadlines are simply "estimated" for this arrival.
"Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, post office acceptance date and time and other conditions," the Postal Service explains.