UPS 2nd Day Air: What You Need to Know

Learn about the two-day service UPS 2nd Day Air and the different delivery speeds that UPS offers for it
UPS 2nd Day Air
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UPS 2nd Day Air is one of the most popular UPS services out there, featuring delivery within two days to anywhere in the United States. This “semi-expedited” service is perfect for packages that don’t need overnight delivery. On top of relatively affordable rates, 2nd Day Air also offers two different delivery speeds—one earlier in the day, and one by end-of-day for cheaper—and no matter which one you choose, delivery is often much faster than other similar services from other carriers, such as USPS Priority Mail. This guide contains all the basics you need to know for UPS 2nd Day Air!

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UPS 2nd Day Air is the Best UPS Service for Packages that Don’t Need Rush Delivery

With rates much more affordable than the overnight service UPS Next Day Air and delivery taking place within just two business days, UPS 2nd Day Air is the ideal service for packages that need to reach your recipients quickly, but not in any particular rush. If your packages can go one extra day to reach your recipients, this is the best service to choose from, since it features the best blend of fast delivery and affordable rates out of all the domestic UPS services. In the majority of cases, UPS delivers these shipments way faster than comparable services like USPS Priority Mail!

The Two Different Delivery Speeds for 2nd Day Air

UPS 2nd Day Air offers two distinct delivery speeds, with two different prices for each. We’ve listed each of those below, along with a brief description:

2nd Day Air AM

This is the more expensive sub-service of UPS 2nd Day Air, and is the fastest delivery option that UPS offers within this two-day service. With 2nd Day Air AM, UPS delivers your package either by 10:30AM or 12PM on the second business day, depending on where you’re shipping (10:30AM to most major cities, and 12PM to other domestic destinations). Note that 2nd Day Air AM isn’t available for every single 2nd Day Air shipment. If it is, UPS will present it as an option when you’re purchasing your label.

2nd Day Air (Standard)

If you don’t specifically select 2nd Day Air AM, this is the standard 2nd Day Air service you’ll receive. With this level, UPS delivers packages by the end of the business day on the 2nd day after you tender the package to them. However, the end of the business day is the absolute latest delivery window for shipments, and isn’t always when they show up! In fact, UPS sometimes delivers these shipments in the middle of the afternoon, depending on how far they need to travel to reach the final recipient.

Save Money on UPS Labels with Online Shipping Software

Even though UPS 2nd Day Air AM is still the most economical option for expedited delivery with UPS, these costs can still add up. That’s why it’s so important to save the most money possible with online shipping software!

When you use shipping software to purchase labels for your packages, you get access to special discounts that the major carriers typically reserve for huge commercial shippers sending tens of thousands of packages per year. For UPS, this level of discounts available on shipping software is called the Digital Access Program…and these savings can make a huge difference. In some cases, these discounts from the UPS Digital Access Program can save you up to 66% off of what you’d pay to ship the same 2nd Day Air package at your local UPS store!

Pro Tip: There are a ton of different shipping software options out there that offer 2nd Day Air labels at discounted rates. However, not all of them are the same; some of them charge markups on top of the cost of postage, and some of them don’t. If you’re looking for the right shipping software option for you and your business, check out our Reviews page to read reviews and recommendations written by shippers like you!

Frequently Asked Questions: 2nd Day Air

Below are three of the most frequently-asked questions we get regarding UPS 2nd Day Air:

Is 2nd Day Air Overnight Delivery?

2nd Day Air is not overnight delivery. Instead, this service features delivery within two business days. 2nd Day Air also has two different delivery speeds: one by the middle of the second business day (most expensive), and one by the end of the second business day (least expensive). The overnight delivery service that UPS offers is UPS Next Day Air, which is significantly more costly than 2nd Day Air. Since it’s more affordable, 2nd Day Air is the ideal UPS service for shipments that don’t require overnight delivery.

How Much Does 2nd Day Air Cost?

The cost of 2nd Day Air shipments depend on the size of your package, its total weight, and how far it needs to travel. Generally speaking, smaller, lighter packages are cheaper to ship. Also, the less distance a package has to travel, the cheaper it will be to send it. With rates from the Digital Access Program, rates for 2nd Day Air shipments start a little over $9. Comparatively, rates for 2nd Day Air shipments start over $32 at the UPS Store. This said, Digital Access Program shipments still may be subject to UPS surcharges, such as Extended Area and Saturday Delivery surcharges.

Can I Get Discounts On 2nd Day Air Shipments?

You can get discounts on 2nd Day Air shipments by using shipping software to buy discounted postage online. Through shipping software solutions, you’ll be able to save the most money possible on 2nd Day Air shipments. UPS offers deep discounts on labels through agreements they have entered into with shipping software companies; this level of discounts is called the UPS Digital Access Program. In certain situations, discounts from the Digital Access Program can save you up to 66% off what you’d pay to ship the same package at any UPS Store.

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  1. Ash

    Hello, I chose second day grounds UPS because it was the only option at the KalisPell Montana in Airport. We forgot to put my son Swiss Army knife in a checked bag so we didn’t want to part with it and thought shipping. It was a safe option. UPS ended up charging me $92 just to ship it to Minnesota. And they fraudulently put down that it weighed 8 pounds and charge my debit card. When I tried talking with an associate, the conversation started to break up as soon as I requested a refund. They are not very helpful. I believe they’re running fraudulent services. The fact that someone would scribble in 8 pounds when it was only 8 ounces or less is unbelievable to me I am so upset and I don’t know how to get the money back now!! also, it took at least five days for it to get here so aren’t I supposed to get my money back if it’s not shipped within two days technically?!

  2. James

    I have a GPS tracker in my second day air shipment, the tracker doesn’t seem to reflect air transport. Shipping from Miami to Houston picked up Friday morning so you I wouldn’t be able to get it until Monday anyway. I think the person shipping could have saved some money and send it standard delivery I would have probably received it at the same time.

  3. Siegfried Lang

    Ordered item on Sunday, Aug.13th paid extra for second day air. Label was printed and shipped on Monday, Aug. 14th. Delivery scheduled for Wednesday . This are 3 days.

  4. Terrence Beebe

    I’m on day 2 of my 2nd Day air package so I’ll update if I get it tonight seeing that I ordered it Monday July 31, 2023 before 2pm No holidays no weekends and no times issues to stop it from being here today right?

  5. Tina Alex

    I was sending a package to ND from CA on Friday and I was tolled it will be there on Tues and only arrived on Wed. No holidays in between, and payed $35 and then when I go and tell them
    They tell me is not guaranteed, I should have been tolled that then, because I tolled them that I need package to arrive on Tuesday.

  6. Sylvia

    Paid $35 and shipped a letter from NJ to FL on Monday 2-day AIR by UPS. Was told because of July 4 on Tues, it will be delivered Wed or Thu, the latest. Did not arrive by Thu night. No refunds because we did not pay extra for guaranteed delivery?! No pick up possible! What a rip-off.

  7. Mary

    Why is it called 2nd day air if the letter is mailed May 27, 2023 and the scheduled delivery is June 1, 2023? That is 5 day delivery. They may be losing some business. USPS delivered over the holiday, why can’t UPS? They should refund the sender his money back for the 2nd day delivery fee!

    • Lauren

      Well, May 27 is a Saturday ups don’t count as a business day unless you pay for it. The next business day for that holiday weekend would be Tuesday, Monday was memorial day so that’s why your package was delivered on June 1. Normally if you order it on a business day which is Monday – Friday Saturday only counts if you pay for the Saturday delivery fee would arrive within 2 days. I order ups every week usually 2-day air and my packages always arrive within 2 business days. For example, if you order Monday you will receive it Wednesday. If you order Thursday you will. Receive Monday unless you pay for Saturday delivery.

  8. William Barnes

    2nd day air has been taking over 5 days lately. Such a rip off. I should have used usps.


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