Although a mailpiece containing a mailable hazardous 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:
- The air carrier is not authorized to carry hazardous materials under the provisions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operator’s Certificate.
- The air carrier’s corporate policy prohibits carrying hazardous materials.
- 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).
- The mailpiece contains a nonmailable hazardous material that was mistakenly accepted or deposited in the mailstream.
- The mailpiece is not properly packaged, marked, or labeled for air transportation.
- The mailpiece does not carry a properly completed shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods.
- The mailpiece is unidentified as to its contents and appears to contain a hazardous material.
All mailpieces containing hazardous materials that are refused by an air carrier must be handled as follows:
- 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. A PS Form 1770 is required to be completed and filed.
- 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.
- If the mailpiece contains a nonmailable or improperly packaged hazardous material, immediately follow the reporting procedures in POM 139.117–118 and the Aviation Mail Security Hazardous Materials Program Instructions
- If the mailpiece contains a mailable hazardous 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Correct the markings on the mailpiece to read “Surface Mail Only,” and return the mailpiece to the sender via surface transportation (if permitted).
- Apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and immediately dispatch the mailpiece to the destination via the most expeditious means of surface transportation
- Provide the mailer with instructions on how to obtain a refund of the postage charges because service was not provided.
- 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.
Mailpieces containing nonmailable or improperly packaged hazardous materials that were inadvertently accepted for mailing should be stopped where identified and not presented to an air carrier. They should be handled in accordance with the Aviation Mail Security Hazardous Materials Program Instructions. Additionally, to prevent future shipments from being incorrectly accepted for mailing, notify the mailer and the post office of mailing of the problem.