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711 Refusal by Air Carrier

711.1 Air Carrier Policy or Pilot’s Decision

Although a mailpiece containing a mailable hazardous, perishable, or restricted material may be properly prepared for air transportation under Postal Service mailing requirements, an individual pilot may refuse it. Nonmailable or improperly prepared mailpieces can also be rejected by an air carrier when tendered for shipment. Refusals can result from the following situations:

  1. The air carrier is not authorized to carry hazardous materials under the provisions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operator’s Certificate.
  2. The air carrier’s corporate policy prohibits carrying hazardous or restricted materials.
  3. The pilot of an individual flight rejects any mailpieces perceived as questionable or unsafe. Pilots have the right to refuse the boarding and transport of questionable articles that could interfere or prevent the safe operation of the aircraft under Federal Air Regulations (FAR).
  4. The mailpiece contains a nonmailable hazardous or restricted material that was mistakenly accepted or deposited in the mailstream.
  5. The mailpiece is not properly packaged, marked, or labeled for air transportation.
  6. The mailpiece does not carry a properly completed shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods.
  7. The mailpiece is unidentified as to its contents and appears to contain a hazardous or restricted material.
  8. The air carrier refuses a mailable shipment of live animals or other mailable articles of perishable matter because of its company policy on safety or current extreme temperature conditions.

711.2 Handling of Mailpieces Refused by an Air Carrier

All mailpieces containing hazardous, restricted, or perishable materials that are refused by an air carrier must be handled as follows:

  1. If the mailpiece is damaged or leaking, contact the local facility’s safety officer or designee for assistance. The procedures in the facility’s Spill/Leak SOP and Handbook EL–812 must be followed. For hazardous materials, a PS Form 1770 is required to be completed and filed.
  2. Complete PS Form 2759, Report of Irregular Handling of Mail, for internal Postal Service information only and distribute copies to the appropriate Postal Service offices. Include the name and address of the mailer, the type and amount of hazardous material, and the reason for the air carrier’s refusal.
  3. If the mailpiece contains a nonmailable or improperly packaged hazardous or restricted material, a nonmailable or improperly packaged animal or other perishable matter, immediately follow the reporting procedures in POM 139.117–118 and the Aviation Mail Security Hazardous Materials Program Instructions, as applicable. Additionally, to prevent future shipments from being incorrectly accepted for mailing, notify the mailer and the mailing Post Office of the problem.
  4. If the mailpiece contains a mailable hazardous or restricted material that is properly packaged, labeled, and marked, attempt to contact the mailer. If the mailer can be reached, advise the mailer that the item has been refused by the air carrier and offer to divert to surface transportation or return to sender. If the mailer agrees to divert to surface, apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and immediately dispatch the mailpiece to the destination via the most expeditious means of surface transportation.
  5. If the mailer cannot be contacted, or if the mailer does not wish to have the mailpiece rerouted via surface transportation, or if the mailpiece cannot be rerouted via surface transportation to the delivery address, do the following:
    1. Affix Label 180, Rejected by Air Carrier, or endorse the address side of the mailpiece “Refused for Air Transportation by Air Carrier” and note the name of the airline, flight number, and reason for refusal.
    2. Correct the markings on the mailpiece to read “Surface Mail Only,” and return the mailpiece to the sender via surface transportation (if permitted).
    3. Apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and immediately dispatch the mailpiece to the destination via the most expeditious means of surface transportation.
    4. Provide the mailer with instructions on how to obtain a refund of the postage charges because service was not provided, and the item was determined to be mailable.
    5. Complete PS Form 2759, Report of Irregular Handling of Mail, for internal Postal Service information only, and distribute copies to the appropriate Postal Service offices. Do not send a copy to the mailer. Include the name and address of the mailer, the type and amount of hazardous material, and the reason for the air carrier’s refusal.
  6. If the mailpiece contains mailable animals that cannot be delivered to the addressee or returned to the sender via surface transportation within 72 hours (for live day-old poultry), or within the delivery period marked on the mailpiece (for other animals), immediately dispose of it. For safety reasons, dispose of mailpieces not marked with a delivery period when it reasonably appears the articles could not be delivered or returned in a viable condition. Also dispose of, or donate to a charitable institution, any perishable matter that cannot be returned in a viable condition. See POM 691.52 for disposal information.
  7. If the mailpiece contains a mailable animal or other article of perishable matter that appears to be viable and can be delivered within the specified delivery period, attempt to contact the mailer via information from the return address. If the mailer can be reached, advise the mailer of the available option for rerouting the mailpiece via the most expeditious means of surface transportation (if available). If the mailer agrees to divert to surface, apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and immediately dispatch the mailpiece to the destination via the most expeditious means of surface transportation.
  8. If the mailer of a parcel containing a mailable animal or other article of perishable matter (that appears to be in a viable condition) cannot be contacted, and the mailpiece can be returned to the sender within the specified delivery period, do the following:
    1. Affix Label 180, Rejected by Air Carrier, or endorse the address side of the mailpiece “Refused for Air Transportation by Air Carrier” and note the name of the airline, flight number, and reason for refusal.
    2. Apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and immediately return the mailpiece to the sender via the most expeditious means of surface transportation.
    3. Provide the mailer with instructions on how to obtain a refund of the postage charges because service was not provided, and the item was determined to be mailable.