You’ve ordered an item from China and you have just received a “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” tracking alert.
What does this mean exactly? Is your package close? What happens next and is there anything you need to do?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Departed from AIRPORT of Origin
The “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” status alert simply means that the package has departed an international airport from inside the country of origin and is now on its way toward the destination country. This could be a direct flight to the destination country, or via an intermediate transit country on the route.
Departed from AIRPORT of Origin – Guide
The “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” alert is one of the few self-explanatory status alerts that carriers send out.
It means exactly what it states without any vague or misleading terminology.
Because of this, it is likely that you have reached this article because your package is stuck on this update. Let’s jump into that…
- Related Content: International Tracking: Processing Completed at Origin
Tracking Stuck on “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin”
The positive part of the “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” alert is that you know your package has left China. It has successfully passed customs clearance in China and is now moving toward the destination country.
The problem is, that you may not receive any more updates for some time now.
If the sales platform you have ordered from is using a low-budget carrier such as Yun Express, Sunyou, or Yanwen, you will not receive any more status alerts through them now that the shipment has left China.
This means it is difficult to determine whether the shipment is progressing as it should, or if the tracking is stuck due to a problem.
- Related Content: Departed Country of Origin – Tracking Guide
Reasons the Package Might be Stuck
Although air transit is much faster than cargo from China sent via sea, delays do still occur. The biggest potential hold-up is when the delivery route is via an intermediate country.
This makes sense, when a person takes a plane from China to Germany, for example, a direct flight is not always possible.
Whether there is a short domestic flight that precedes the long haul, or two substantial length flights a stopover and change of planes will occur.
The same applies to mail cargo. Very often your package will move toward the destination country using more than one plane.
Although it will not be subject to clearance at the intermediate location, these changes clearly take time.
And remember, throughout it all, whether you receive an update with details of the stopover is dependent on the quality of the carrier and the shipment service used.
- Related Content: Your Item Departed a Transfer Airport – Tracking Guide
Delays with line-haul
Another situation that can occur that will lead your package to be stuck on this update is a delay with the line-haul operator.
It is the line haul service that is responsible for overseas transit via plane. When your package lands in an intermediate transit location or at the destination country, it will be the line-haul service that handles it.
In the case of the former, it will be to prepare it for the next flight. For the latter, line haul will have to hand it over to customs clearance for inspection.
In either case, your package could end up in a warehouse waiting for the next step to begin. Sometimes you will receive an updated alert with details, sometimes you will not.
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Delay or Problem with Customs Clearance
Taking into account that the carrier in China is no longer scanning your package or sending you alerts, combined with the fact not all activity with the line-haul operator will be communicated, the shipment could easily end up entering the customs clearance process without any further updates (since “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin”).
Unfortunately, problems with clearance are a very common reason for packages being stuck.
As we have covered in many articles before, everything from incomplete paperwork, to issues with the contents to tax and duty being owed can cause your package to be delayed at customs.
Furthermore, general logistical problems and facility backlog, (as frequently experienced in the many USPS ISCs and Liege, Belgium) will cause a package to be stuck while it awaits processing through customs.
The end result is much frustration, and in cases where the tracking reveals little information to go, it can feel like you’re banging your head against the wall.
- Related Content: What Does “The Airline is Shipping” Mean? Tracking Guide
What to do if Your Package is Stuck on “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin”
The actions you take if your package is stuck on this alert are dependent on the carrier service used, and how long the item has been stuck and/or in transit.
Economy carrier services that utilize air cargo from China to countries around the world, can take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks to deliver.
Most will provide very few tracking updates during that time, (the likes of Yun Express have been deemed fake due to the inconsistency of the alerts sent to customers), which means by default you are in for a bit of a wait.
The “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” does mean your package has left China, however, if only one or two weeks have passed since you made the original order, you will have no grounds to complain at this stage.
The item still has plenty of time to get moving again and progress towards you.
In a roundabout way, all of this means that the first step in this situation is to remain patient.
Only when the stated delivery period is reaching an end should you begin chasing the seller or contacting the platform you ordered from for a refund or replacement.
Overall, “Departed from AIRPORT of Origin” is a positive status alert to receive. It means your item has left the origin country, (most likely China) and is making its way to the destination country.
It is not necessarily all plane sailing, (forgive the pun).
The journey could still involve multiple planes. Coupled with potential delays at customs clearance at the destination country and other logistical hold-ups, your item may still be several weeks away.
As I have said before, this is the reality of ordering products from e-commerce platforms based in China. Delivery times even with air cargo can be slow, and patience is paramount.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂