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Amazon Leases Planes amid Reports of Holiday Shipping Delays

Amazon.com will lease planes to decrease its reliance on shipping carriers, according to the Seattle Times newspaper, citing cargo-industry executives. “The online retail giant wants to build out its own cargo operations to avoid delays from carriers such as United Parcel Service, which have struggled to keep up with the rapid growth of e-commerce,” it wrote.

The news comes as Jet.com, hyped as an Amazon-killer and valued at $1.5 billion, is warning customers it can no longer guarantee delivery of orders by December 25 due to “nationwide shipping delays.” Here’s the message that we captured from its website on Friday:

“This year’s holiday gift rush has led to nationwide shipping delays that have affected many of our fulfillment partners. We are committed to creating the best possible experience for our customers, so we wanted to let you know that we can no longer confidently guarantee delivery by December 25th for any items not flagged as eligible for 2-day delivery. Thanks for shopping with us as we go through our very first holiday season. Whether it be this year or next, we hope to see you here again soon.”

Shipping carriers are not reporting any problems with holiday shipments – UPS, for example, tweeted on Sunday, “UPS 2nd day air packages will be delivered by December 24th.”

But there are some indications of delivery delays from Bizrate and from online sellers.

“Amazon is working to avoid the debacle of two years ago, when the holiday crush overwhelmed UPS, causing many Amazon customers to get gifts after Christmas had passed,” Seattle Times wrote. “Those delays led Amazon to refund shipping charges and offer customers a $20 gift card.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.