There’s more information that can be learned about a shipment’s whereabouts and estimated arrival other than what the tracking information page provides. Although not obvious, airports do provide information on the arrival and departure timings of cargo flights too, in addition to the typical passenger flights. I discovered this while attempting to figure out why a parcel that was due to arrive today has been stuck at Shenzhen, China for the past 7 hours. Unfortunately, I ended up much more anxious than before.
The following is an example of a typical UPS tracking page. It shows where the parcel is currently at, and its travel history.
The last action was arrival at Shenzhen airport in China. UPS flights from the US bound for Asia depart from Anchorage in the US, and typically arrive in Hong Kong (although Taiwan is also a possibility). The above information can be obtained from the UPS Airlines article on Wikipedia, and the articles of the individual airport hubs. A summary is shown in the table below.
|Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Clark, Cologne/Bonn, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Osaka-Kansai, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore|
|Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport||Anchorage, Seoul-Incheon|
|Hong Kong International Airport||Anchorage, Clark, Cologne/Bonn, Dubai, Honolulu, Louisville, Mumbai, Ontario, Osaka-Kansai, Philadelphia, Sapporo-Chitose, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei-Taoyuan, Wilmington|
|Singapore Changi Airport||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Clark, Cologne, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shenzhen, Sydney, Taipei-Taoyuan|
Looking back at the tracking information, it is rather curious that my parcel went from Hong Kong to Korea, then to China, when it could have went directly from Hong Kong to Singapore instead, which it usually does from previous experience. However, perhaps UPS has a business reason to do so, and I didn’t question it at that point.
As I begun to get paranoid about my parcel being in China for extended hours, thinking it might be in the process of getting lost, curiosity persuaded me to explore further. Since Shenzhen is a hub which connects to Singapore, logic dictates that if a flight from Shenzhen bound for Singapore had left, and my parcel wasn’t on it, the worst could have happened. I started looking around for UPS flight timings, not sure if there are listed. I rarely fly, and hence, I’m rather clueless about these matters.
Looking around, I found Shenzhen International Airport’s site, and they did have cargo flight schedules. There was a flight, UPS flight 167, bound for Singapore schedule to depart at 03:15, although it still seemed to be in the waiting state. The current time was, however, around 07:00. To confirm, I checked Changi International Airport’s site for cargo flight arrivals, and it showed UPS flight 167 as having a scheduled arrival time at 06:45, with the status of ‘Ask Airline’. Even for someone who rarely flies, that sounded bad. Ugh.
Without a specific goal in mind, I peek at yesterday’s flight schedule, and I was shocked to see two UPS flights cancelled yesterday. I begun to wonder if today’s flight would end up in the same state.
Sure enough, about two hours later, UPS flight 167 was shown as cancelled. That is two cancellation of the same flights in two consecutive days. As of 09:44, tracking similarly shows ‘delivery rescheduled’. Sigh. I wonder if there was something larger going on here.
However, I did gain some useful information. The following table shows the flight numbers of UPS flights and their corresponding routes. For flights within or leaving the US, the FAA provides real time data on the flight, such as speed, altitude, bearing and GPS coordinates. Outside of the US, one would have to check with the various destination/arrival airports. Combine this with the tracking data provided, I can get more precise data on the whereabouts and status of my package, satisfying my inner OCD needs.
|Anchorage-Hong Kong(items originating from US)||5X 064|
(items originating from Canada)
|Hong Kong-Incheon||5X 061|
|Hong Kong-Singapore||5X 167|
I was really looking forward to watching THX 1138 on Blu-Ray today. Sigh, such a disappointment.