Royal Mail announces its latest recommended international posting dates for overseas destinations to arrive in time for Christmas 2018.
The first international recommended posting date is for mail to Africa and the Middle East, which should be sent by Tuesday 4 December.
For those wanting to send cards or gifts to Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Far East and Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) cards and gifts should be sent no later than Friday 7 December.
For the Caribbean, Central and South America mail should be sent by Saturday 8 December.
Those wishing to send festive greetings to friends and family in Australia, New Zealand, Greece or Turkey will need to make sure everything is good to go by Monday 10 December.
Letters and parcels to Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and the USA can be posted up to Friday 14 December to arrive in time for Christmas.
Festive greetings being sent to Finland and Sweden will need to be in the mail by Saturday 15 December.
Monday 17 December is the latest recommended posting date for Christmas mail going to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.
Season’s Greetings going to Belgium, France, Ireland and Luxembourg will need to be posted by Tuesday 18 December.
The last posting dates apply to both standard international services and those which have tracking and signature.
All latest recommended posting dates are detailed in the table below:
|Last Posting Date||Destinations|
|Tuesday 4 December||Africa, Middle East|
|Friday 7 December||Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Far East and Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)|
|Saturday 8 December||The Caribbean, Central and South America|
|Monday 10 December||Greece, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand|
|Friday 14 December||Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, USA|
|Saturday 15 December||Finland, Sweden|
|Monday 17 December||Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland|
|Tuesday 18 December||Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg|
A History of Overseas Delivery by Air with Royal Mail
The world’s first scheduled service for transporting mail by air took place in the United Kingdom on 9 September 1911 and was called the Aerial Post. It celebrated the coronation of King George V, and saw cards and letters transported by air between Hendon in North London and Windsor in Berkshire. The airplane was flown by British aviation pioneer Gustav Hamel.
The first scheduled airmail service between England and France took place on November 10 1919. A pilot from the airline Aircraft Transport and Travel flew from Hounslow to Paris in an Airco DH4A de Havilland biplane with a Royal Mail pennant proudly attached to its rudder.
The pilots were under some pressure to deliver the mail on time given the several variables that could lead to delays including high winds and inclement weather. With unheated, open cockpits and before the age of radio, pilots would rely on compasses for navigation as well as following landmarks such as railway lines to ensure they were on the right route.