Holiday mailing 2017

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristof Rixmann
  • 86 AW / PA
The holiday season is approaching fast, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Air Postal Squadron and Postal Operations Flight recommends sending mail from here to the states as early as Nov. 27 and no later than Dec. 16, depending on which type of mail service is used.

All mail should be shipped out by Nov. 27 if using the space available mail, by Dec. 11 if using the First Class or Priority Mail, and by Dec. 16 if using Priority Mail Express Military Service.

These dates are suggested for mail being sent from Europe to locations in the United States. Mail originating in the United States and sent to European APO, FPO, or DPO addresses are recommended to use similar mailing dates.

“Patrons should plan ahead and mail early to ensure letters, cards and packages arrive to intended U.S. destinations in time for the holidays,” said Mr. Lionel Rivera, USAFE and AFAFRICA AIRPS Postal Operations Flight, command postal training manager.

By sending mail early, customers are able to avoid long lines and are able to take advantage of using the cheaper, although slower, SAM service option.

If a faster service is preferred, priority mail or PMEMS are options to be considered.

“Customers can avoid waiting in long lines at the post office by using USPS Click N’ Ship and by using prepaid postage,” said TSgt Joshua Pierce, USAFE and AFAFRICA AIRPS Postal Operations Flight, command postal operations manager. “As an incentive for customers who arrive at the post office with on line prepaid postage or USPS Click N’ Ship labels, many USAFE-AFAFRICA post offices have or plan to have a separate, expedited mail acceptance window available for customer use."

Customers can print a customs declaration at home on the USPS website without establishing an account.

The postal squadron also emphasizes proper packaging, as parcel transiting through the mail stream is handled numerous times.

“Careful preparation of your package will ensure safe delivery,” Rivera said.

When selecting the appropriate box to use for mailing, consider using a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. If reusing a box, cover up or mark-out any old labels and markings to avoid confusion.

Additionally, there should be enough cushioning material around the item so it remains secure when the box is shaken gently.
The box should then be shut and taped sufficiently. The seams of the box should be reinforced with two-inch wide tape.

The United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa Postal Squadron also states the weight of the package cannot exceed 70 pounds regardless of the service being used.

If using PMEMS or Priority Mail services for faster delivery, the distance around the thickest part of the package cannot exceed 108 inches. If using the SAM service the total distance cannot exceed 130 inches.

A legible and correct address is also critical for delivery of the package.
Furthermore, there are several resources available for questions about the mailing process.

“Customers have different venues available to them to obtain additional information or advice on which service to use,” Rivera said. “The USPS website is an excellent source and they can download a customer’s guide to mailing. In addition, the customer can go to the post office and request to see the postal guide that was created by our office which breaks down transit times and the varying prices for each type of service.”