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What Does Pre Transit Mean? (Etsy & More)

You’ve recently made an online order and you have received a “Pre Transit” tracking update for the package.

What does this mean exactly? Where is your order when you receive this alert, and what do you do if the tracking becomes stuck?

Let’s take a look…

Summary: What Does Pre Transit Mean?

Pre Transit means that the package waiting to be loaded onto a mode of transport, for the transit stage of the shipment journey. The update is normally triggered at the beginning stages within the delivery network, in locations such as the origin sorting facility.

Guide: What Does Pre Transit Mean?

outside warehouse

“Pre Transit” is a tracking status that is used by carriers when an order is going through the various stages before being transported.

This status indicates that your package has been processed by the carrier but has not yet entered the main phase of transit.

In simpler terms, your package is in the queue and waiting to be dispatched to its next destination, normally an origin sorting facility or local distribution center.

Why Do “Pre Transit” Updates Occur?

man shrugging

Several reasons can lead to a package being in the “Pre Transit” status:

1. Initial Scanning

When a package is first received by the carrier, it is scanned into their system.

This creates an initial tracking entry, which often appears as “Pre Transit” until the package is further processed, and enters the transit stage of the network.

2. Scheduling and Sorting

packages on a conveyor belt

Carriers use complex algorithms to optimize the sorting and routing of packages.

This is done so that deliveries can be carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Your package may stay in “Pre Transit” while it awaits its turn to be sorted, or placed alongside other items traveling a specific route.

3. Volume of Shipments

During peak shipping seasons, such as holidays or major sales events, carriers may experience a surge in package volumes.

This can lead to delays in packages transitioning from “Pre Transit” to the next stage of delivery.

Where Is Your Package When in “Pre Transit”?


Understanding where your package physically is during the “Pre Transit” phase can give you a better idea of how close the item is to delivery.

Here’s a breakdown of possible locations:

1. At the Origin Facility

The most likely location is at the beginning of the delivery journey.

The distribution center nearest to the sender is where the item will be sent to first.

Most carriers use the Pre-Transit update to state that they have the package and it is waiting to begin transportation.

While the item waits to begin its journey, it will remain inside the origin facility.

2. Sorting Facility


If you’re tracking a package that has already been through several steps of the transit journey, a pre-transit alert would indicate that the item is being held inside a facility along the shipment route.

This could even be close to the destination address.

The important factor is, the package is once again inside a warehouse, awaiting the next stage of the delivery network.

How Long Does a Package Remain in Pre Transit?


The duration of the “Pre Transit” phase can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the carrier, the shipping method chosen, the package’s destination, and the overall volume of packages being processed by the carrier.

In other words, there is no fixed timeframe for how long a package may stay in “Pre Transit.”

That being said, here are some general guidelines:

1. Normal (Reasonable) Processing Time

In most cases, packages spend a relatively short time in the “Pre Transit” phase, often just a few hours or up to a couple of days.

During this time, the carrier’s systems are processing and preparing the package for its journey.

Anything within 48 hours I would consider to be normal.

2. High-Volume Periods

packages on conveyor

During peak shipping seasons like holidays (e.g., Christmas, Black Friday) or major sales events (e.g., Cyber Monday), carriers may experience a significant increase in package volumes.

This can lead to longer “Pre Transit” times as packages wait their turn for sorting and transit.

3. International Shipments

International shipments may spend more time in “Pre Transit” due to customs processing, which can add additional days to the overall transit time.

4. Weather and Other Disruptions

traffic in a snow storm

Unforeseen events, such as severe weather, labor strikes, or other disruptions, can also impact how long a package remains in “Pre Transit.”

5. Shipping Service Level

The chosen shipping service level also plays a role. Express or expedited services typically have shorter “Pre Transit” phases compared to standard or economy shipping options.

Given these variables, it’s essential to track your package regularly and exercise patience, especially during busy shipping seasons.

If your package remains in “Pre Transit” for an extended period that seems unusual or concerning, you should follow the points in the next section.

What to Do When Tracking Is Stuck in “Pre Transit”

stuck road block

Seeing your package stuck in “Pre Transit” for an extended period can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to address the situation:

  1. Wait Patiently: In many cases, packages move out of the “Pre Transit” status within a few days. Carriers often experience delays due to high shipment volumes or logistical challenges, so exercise patience.
  2. Contact the Carrier: If your package has been in “Pre Transit” for an unusually long time (e.g., more than a week), consider reaching out to the carrier’s customer service. They can provide more specific information about your package’s status and any potential issues.
  3. Check for Updates: Continue monitoring your tracking information regularly. Sometimes, packages can move to the next stage without a notification update. Make sure to look for any changes in the tracking history.
  4. Verify the Address: Double-check that the shipping address provided is accurate. Sometimes, incorrect addresses can lead to delays.
  5. Consider the Shipping Method: If you chose an economy or ground shipping option, be aware that these methods may have longer transit times compared to express services.
  6. File a Claim: If your package is significantly delayed or appears to be lost, you may need to file a claim with the carrier or the seller (if applicable). Keep all relevant tracking information and purchase receipts handy for this process.

What Does Pre-Transit Mean On Etsy?


On Etsy, the term “Pre-Transit” typically refers to the status of a package or order that has been created or marked as shipped by the seller but has not yet been scanned or picked up by the shipping carrier.

In other words, it signifies that the seller has initiated the shipping process, but the package has not yet started its journey in the carrier’s system.

Here’s what “Pre-Transit” means in the context of an Etsy order status:

  1. Order Processing: When you place an order on Etsy, the seller processes it, which may include preparing the item for shipment, creating a shipping label, and notifying the carrier that the package is ready for pickup.
  2. Pre-Transit Status: During the “Pre-Transit” phase, the package’s tracking information may show that a shipping label has been created, but the package has not yet been physically scanned or accepted by the carrier. It’s essentially in a state of readiness for shipment.
  3. Waiting for Carrier Pickup: The package will remain in “Pre-Transit” until the shipping carrier arrives to pick it up or until the seller takes it to a shipping location and it gets scanned by the carrier. This is when it officially enters the transit phase.
  4. Tracking Updates: Once the package is scanned and in the possession of the carrier, you should see tracking updates indicating that it’s in transit and on its way to you. These updates will provide estimated delivery dates and information on the package’s journey.
  5. Patience and Monitoring: It’s common to see “Pre-Transit” for a brief period, especially if the seller has just created the shipping label. However, if “Pre-Transit” status persists for an extended period without any tracking updates, it’s a good idea to reach out to the seller for clarification or to inquire about the shipping timeline.

Remember that the time it takes for a package to move from “Pre-Transit” to the actual transit phase can vary depending on the seller’s processing time, the shipping carrier’s pickup schedule, and other logistical factors.

Etsy sellers often provide estimated shipping times in their listings, so you can refer to those as a general guideline for when you can expect your order to be shipped and subsequently enter transit.

If you have concerns about the status of your order, don’t hesitate to contact the seller through Etsy’s messaging system for more information.

Does Etsy Have Control Over the Pre Transit Stage of the Order?

woman on laptop

Etsy, as a platform, does not have direct control over the “Pre-Transit” stage of an order. The “Pre-Transit” stage primarily depends on the actions of the individual seller who manages their Etsy shop. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  1. Seller Responsibility: The seller on Etsy is responsible for processing and shipping orders. This includes creating shipping labels, packaging the items, and getting them ready for pickup by the chosen shipping carrier.
  2. Shipping Label Creation: When a seller marks an order as shipped on Etsy, it often means they have created a shipping label for the package. This action is typically done through Etsy’s platform, and it generates a tracking number.
  3. Handing Over to Carrier: Once the seller has prepared the package and created the shipping label, it’s up to them to either drop off the package at the carrier’s location or schedule a carrier pickup. The package is officially in the carrier’s possession once it has been scanned by the carrier.
  4. Tracking Updates: After the package has been accepted by the carrier, the tracking information starts to update, indicating the package’s transit progress.

In summary, Etsy facilitates the process by allowing sellers to create shipping labels and provide tracking information to buyers.

However, Etsy itself does not have control over the physical handling and transportation of packages during the “Pre-Transit” stage.

The timing of when a package enters the transit phase depends on the seller’s actions and the chosen shipping carrier’s pickup schedule.

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