Most mailable live animals, except honeybees, are permitted to be sent via air transportation. However, the ability of the Postal Service to provide air transportation is dependent on the following:
- The animal must be mailable and eligible for transport via air.
- All provisions of airline tariffs and air carriers are met.
- Air carrier equipment is available to the Postal Service and allows the safe delivery of shipments within specified and reasonable time limits. Time allowance must also be provided for delays en route in air and ground transportation.
Note: Local Postal Service personnel are not authorized to refuse the deposit of mailable live animals that are properly packaged. See 523.
Only queen honeybees are permitted to be sent in the domestic mail via air transportation. See 526.2, Exhibit 526.21, and DMM 601.9.3.8 for more information.
When an air carrier is not available to the Postal Service, or when an air carrier refuses a mailable shipment of live animals or other mailable article of perishable matter because of its company policy on safety or current extreme temperature conditions, the mailpiece is returned to the Postal Service. Mailpieces returned or 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, Hazardous Materials and Spill Response, must be followed.
- 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 quantity of animals, and the reason for the air carrier’s refusal.
- If the mailpiece contains a nonmailable or improperly packaged animal or other article of perishable matter, follow the reporting procedures in POM 139.117–118, as applicable. Additionally, to prevent future shipments from being incorrectly accepted for mailing, notify the mailer and the post office of mailing of the problem.
- 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.
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only and immediately return the mailpiece to the sender 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.