The decades-old air courier service meets the sharing economy.
Name: Airmule-Express Shipping
What it does: Someone who wants to ship a legal item can hire a traveler with extra space in his or her bags to carry it to the desired destination for an agreed-upon fee. Correspondence, arrangements and payments are made through the Airmule app.
Available: In the App Store, requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In Google Play, requires 4.1 and up.
What’s hot: Shippers can send goods faster and cheaper than using an overnight international carrier; travelers can make extra money. Most items are carried on flights between the U.S. and China, but you can check airmule.com/ship for available trips “U.S. to International and Domestic” and “International to U.S.” As more people begin to use the service, more options will become available. Airmule travelers are encouraged to inspect each item before accepting it and not to take anything that makes them uncomfortable. When the traveler gets to the airport he or she must follow the security and declaration rules of their departure and arrival countries. If they must pay custom fees, Airmule will repay the additional cost within 24 hours.
What’s not: The app is set up for shippers and travelers who already have profiles to initiate the transaction with little to no instruction. This can be frustrating if you want to “browse before you buy.” Here’s a way to get more information — once you sign in, click the three white bars in the upper-right-hand corner to get to your account page. From there, click on “Help” to get to information such as “How It Works,” “Shipments,” “Traveler,” “Airmule Message System” and “Customs Declaration” to read the tips and rules.