You’re expecting a delivery from UPS and have received a “Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed“ tracking update.
What does this mean exactly? What are the operating conditions and how long will your package be delayed?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed
This tracking alert from UPS simply means that something has happened during the shipment process that may result in a delay in the package being delivered. It is a broad update where operational conditions can mean anything from bad weather to technical problems to heavy traffic. It is simply used to inform customers that a delay may occur.
Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed – Guide
Essentially, this is a broad update used by UPS to cover their asses.
Excuse the crassness of my wording here, but it is true.
By sending out such a “catch-all” status alert UPS is telling customers that something has happened that might cause a delay.
They are not attempting to go into specifics beyond “Operating Conditions” so it is possible for you to read between the lines and see it as beyond their control.
Ultimately, it is an attempt to stop customers from contacting customer support when the tracking isn’t updating.
By preempting a delay may occur, UPS is attempting to prevent fallout while also managing expectations.
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So What Has Happened to My Package?
We’ve covered why UPS sends the “Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed”.
What can you infer from it, however?
In the complete absence of specific details, the following is a list of possibilities for why you are seeing this update
1. Transportation Delay
Whether the UPS shipment is international or domestic it will be reliant on a van, truck, or airplane to reach the next link in the delivery network.
If logistical issues cause a package to miss its designated transit method, (aircraft delays or high volumes for example), this will be considered an operating condition.
Likewise, mechanical and/or traffic problems can also prevent the normal progress of your package.
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2. Bad Weather
Adverse weather conditions can impact the progress of a shipment at any stage of the proceedings.
Whether aircraft or trucks have to be rerouted or cannot operate at all, the result will be a potential delay.
If such issues affect your package, you could well end up seeing the “Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed” status alert.
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3. Staffing Issues (Covid)
During the height of the pandemic, UPS would have no doubt used this alert as an excuse for delayed deliveries where staffing issues were causing a backlog.
It doesn’t take a leap of imagination to see that if a facility is understaffed it will process packages at a slower rate.
Covid, flu season, you name it… if UPS does not have enough sorting staff or truck drivers you will not always get your package on time.
4. High Volumes in the Facility
Similar applies when it comes to high seasonal volumes.
Christmas time sees an increase in packages flowing through the delivery network.
Where “operating conditions” mean packages are potentially delayed while UPS attempts to manage the load, this alert could be seen on your tracking page.
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5. Problems Reaching the Destination Address
Even as the shipment reaches its final stages, it is possible to receive the “Due to Operating Conditions, Your Package May be Delayed” update.
Although UPS does have specific updates where an address cannot be reached, if more general problems have occurred, (driver unable to complete their round, traffic congestion in the area of the recipient, package on the wrong truck for delivery), the alert can be used.
What to do After You Receive the Update?
In a word, not much.
The main thing to understand when you receive this update is that at least UPS knows that an issue has occurred.
As far as possible they will be acting to mitigate the delay and before long the shipment will be moving again and on its way to you.
While they sort things to this end, there is little you can do.
Essentially, you should keep an eye on your tracking for any further updates and altered delivery windows.
Depending on the nature of the delivery (expedited or budget), I recommend you wait two to three days for more information before contacting UPS to find out more.
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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. 🙂