What does “In Transit, Arriving Late” Mean?

Late USPS Mail Illustration

What does “In Transit, Arriving Late” mean for a USPS package?

You’re waiting for a product you have ordered and have received a message from USPS saying “In Transit, Arriving Late.” 

What does this mean? Don’t worry – we have all the information you need here. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has earned a reputation for fast and reliable delivery services, but it’s not perfect. Sometimes packages are delivered later than expected, as they are  stuck “In Transit.” Although the USPS informs its customers promptly in most cases, you may want more information about the cause of the delay. 

Below, we explain what the “In Transit, Arriving Late” status update means, what you can infer from it, and what steps you can take to ensure your package is delivered as quickly as possible.

What Does the “In Transit Arriving Late” Tracking Update Mean?

To understand this tracking notification from the USPS, let’s break it down. What does “In Transit” mean? “In transit” is a message that informs customers that the package has not been scanned in the last few days. It often means that the package is between its point of origin and your local post office. “Arriving late” means that the carrier has noticed a delay somewhere along the route and will deliver the package after the expected arrival date. As a customer, you want to know when your parcel will arrive and what caused the delay. Below we look at some possible answers and outcomes. 

Why was my “In Transit, Arriving Late Package Delayed?

One of the most common issues with late packages is that the post office did not scan them for USPS shipping as intended. This means that your package is still on its way to you, but it just hasn’t been scanned properly. The system is unsure where it is currently. When this happens, your parcel status will be automatically updated the next time it is scanned.

USPS package delays can also occur when large sorting facilities mix up packages. With all the items sorted on conveyors daily, it’s easy for shipments to get lost. Your delivery may also be delayed due to the following factors, over which the USPS has no control: 

– Bad weather

– Traffic accidents or roadblocks

– Customs delays 

– An unexpected increase in deliveries

When will my “In Transit” Arriving Late” package arrive?

If the USPS triggered the “In Transit Arriving Late” message because your package was not scanned at a certain point, it doesn’t always mean that your shipment will arrive late. Your status message will be updated when the package reaches the next scan point. And it will likely get to you before the estimated delivery date. This is because the actual delivery date was not affected by the delay, it was just a scanning error.

The most accurate way to track your package’s progress is by looking at the “estimated delivery date” at the bottom of the tracking page. If your package does not have an estimated delivery date listed, you’ll need to wait for an update. The USPS system is based on the scanned time of the package. So calling will usually not provide any additional information.

In most cases, your package will arrive on time, even if you receive notifications of tracking delays. If you bought something online and are waiting for delivery, you can check your purchase confirmation email to estimate how long it will take for your orders to arrive. 

Late Mail Abstract Illustration

What to do if I get the “In Transit Arriving Late” notification from USPS?

It is recommended that you wait a while before taking action when you receive this notification. The package could be with others that are unsorted or in some sort of limbo at a facility. However, Covid-19 and holiday rushes do put a strain on post offices. If this is the case, it may be that the package has been delayed due to backorders or simply too many orders. Alternatively, you can file a help request with the USPS. 

However, if your package has been in “In Transit Arriving Late” status for more than seven days, you should submit a missing mail search request on the USPS website. You will need to provide details such as the size and type of envelope or a description of the contents. If the package you sent to a customer is late for delivery and they get an “In Transit Arriving Late” message, apologize for the unforeseen delays and offer a refund if the package still has not arrived after two weeks as a measure of goodwill. 

What to do if this USPS status hasn’t changed for more than a month?

If your package has not arrived after one month, unfortunately, you can assume that the USPS lost it. You can file a “Missing Mail Enquiry Request” online with the USPS, but you must do this within 365 days of the package’s original ship date. 

You can check the status in the Missing Mail app to see how your tracing requests are doing. Status updates are sent via email notifications to the email address you provided when submitting the request. After a piece of mail is found or your requisition has expired, you will receive an email with a final resolution.

Final thoughts

If you receive an “In Transit Arriving Late” status message from the USPS, it usually means that your package is running late and may not be delivered on time. Usually, there is no need to worry, as your parcel will most likely still arrive on time. If you have not received your delivery within seven days of the expected date, you can take the next step and contact the USPS to investigate the delay.