Do you have late mail or missing mail? Here are the biggest reasons for mail delays

Sara Yonker

Sara Yonker

June 16, 2021

Do you have late mail or missing mail? Here are the biggest reasons for mail delays

Our business depends on mail delivery. In the last several years, trends have inched toward longer mail delivery times. We try to optimize our operations at Earth Class Mail to avoid delays, but we depend on the work of the U.S. Postal Service. When they have delays, they affect us.

Mail delivery times are getting longer

An analysis of mail delivery times, used in part when the postal service proposed its new 10-year-plan, shows that mail that once took 2 days to arrive takes an average of a day longer from the mailing date. The USPS proposed the plan, in part, to change expectations. The agency missed its 2-day delivery goal so often, the goals needed adjusting.

Changing standards for mail delivery

According to recent reports from the USPS, it expects to deliver less than 88% of first class mail on time for the routes set for 2-day delivery. For the mail that takes three to five days, less than 69 percent should be on time.

Even those goals are better than what the postal service has done in 2021 so far. Its latest report said just 86% of two-day mail and 58% of three-to-five day mail was on time. 

Those figures drop below the 91% and 79% on-time deliveries it made in 2020, a year marked by postal service problems. In prior years, the USPS had a goal of 95% of mail delivered on time. 

Reasons you might have late or missing mail:


The adage about postal workers says “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” should deter them from deliveries. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Major weather events can stall delivery because of impassable roads, staffing shortages, and power outages. 

To find out if weather-related incidents are causing service disruptions in your delivery area, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or report a disruption at [email protected].

Air delays

As detailed in Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan, shipping mail via airplane often causes more delays. The agency pointed to “unreliable” air cargo space and on-time air arrivals. 

Under the plan, which also outlines a plan to close some post offices and processing centers, the majority of first class mail would travel by land instead of air, a departure from how the postal service has shipped long-distance mail for decades. 

Incorrect address information

If your postal worker has to guess where an item should go, that can cause a delay. An incorrect address, zip code, or suite number can postpone mail for days or weeks. When using your virtual mailbox, always provide senders your complete Earth Class Mail address, including your unique mailbox number. 

High usage 

During peak times, more mail and packages get processed. During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipments multiplied and workers were scarce. Likewise, each year in December, an increase in demand from holiday shipments can slow down deliveries. 

USPS delays and Earth Class Mail

Earth Class Mail aims to make mail easier, with mail scanning, check deposit services, and virtual addresses. However, we rely on the mail service to do our work. If you are missing expected mail, you can always notify us and we will look into the issue.

Occasionally, we have an issue with longer delivery times at one address in our network. We continually monitor the health of our virtual address network to make sure we receive mail regularly at our addresses.

If you experience delivery time problems as a customer, you can always reach out to our customer success team via email, or call us at 210-802-5211. 

What to expect with Earth Class Mail delivery times

If we ever experience a delay from the Earth Class Mail operational side, such as when 2020 Oregon wildfires temporarily shut down our processing facility, we alert all customers via email and with in-app notifications. 

If you suspect the issue could be with the mail never making it to your virtual address, you can also submit a missing mail search request to the postal service.

We strive to process your mail as quickly as we receive it. Once it arrives at our operations center, we aim to process it within 24 to 48 hours. 

How to adapt to later mail deliveries

We pay attention to potential changes at the USPS and hope for changes that improve deliveries times, not worsen them. Postal workers and the public have spoken out against some proposed changes, which may deter some of them.

To understand more about what the USPS 10-year-plan could mean for you and how to plan for those changes, click here.


Find out more with The Postcard

The Postcard, our monthly email, keeps you updated on new products, event invites, virtual mailbox tips, and special promotions.


Related Posts

USPS 1583 Forms: What it is and how to complete one

USPS 1583 Forms: What it is and how to complete one

When you decide to make the change to a virtual mailbox service,  you need to authorize your service provider  to receive and open your mail. You do this with an official form called a USPS 1583.

By Tere Kovacs

July 21, 2021

Which virtual mailbox plan should you choose?

Which virtual mailbox plan should you choose?

Interested in a virtual mailbox, but unsure what to use? Take this quiz to see what plan fits your needs

By Sara Yonker

July 12, 2021

What’s the difference between a PO box and a virtual mailbox?

What’s the difference between a PO box and a virtual mailbox?

PO boxes and virtual mailboxes are more different than alike. Both give a non-residential address to share, but similarities end there. A virtual mailbox gives customers a full-range of options to manage their mail, important documents and packages online.

By Joanna Heep

July 6, 2021

Virtual Mailbox for you!