UPS, FedEx, DHL, & More

UPS Second Day Air: What You Need To Know

Michelle Mondonedo

by Michelle Mondonedo

On 2019 M08 30

by Michelle Mondonedo

There are many service levels offered by UPS, and when comparing couriers, it’s worth understanding what your options are when your business is in need of a 2 day shipping service.

What is UPS 2nd Day Air?

This service level is marketed as an “economical option for shipments that don’t need overnight service”.

There is guaranteed delivery to every address within the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2 days, with the earliest delivery happening at 10:30 AM on the 2nd day of shipping.

2nd Day Air FAQs

Does 2nd Day Air delivery on Saturday?

Packages shipped by 2nd Day Air can qualify for Saturday delivery if they're picked up by UPS on Thursday. However, the shipment destination may need to be considered, as Saturday delivery is usually only possible for major metropolitan areas.  

What other second day services does UPS offer?

UPS offers the following additional second day shipping options:

  • UPS 2nd Day Air A.M. guarantees delivery on the second day by 10:30 AM or 12:00 PM, but only for commercial destinations within the mainland United States.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air Freight is for shipments over 150 pounds that need a guaranteed time-definite 2 day delivery to Puerto Rico, Canada, and the mainland United States.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air Freight NGS offers a similar service for oversized packages, but without the time-definite guarantee.
  • If you’re looking for a 2 day delivery service to other destinations outside the U.S., you should consider UPS Worldwide Express or UPS Export Express Saver.

How does UPS 2nd Day Air compare with other services?


UPS 2nd Day Air vs USPS Priority Mail

The USPS Priority Mail service is marketed as having a delivery time frame of 1-3 business days to any address in the US. While this may be faster than 2nd Day Air, the 2 day timeframe is strongly dependent on where your package starts and where it’s being sent.

In order to find out whether UPS 2nd Day Air is faster than USPS Priority Mail, you may want to look at USPS’ Priority Mail Delivery Map, where you can enter in the zip code you’re mailing from to see what the 2 day destinations are.

Also, it does not appear that the USPS Priority Mail service level offers time-sensitive delivery options for 2 day shipping. This only appears to be offered with Priority Mail Express, which is their overnight option.

UPS 2nd Day Air vs FedEx 2Day

FedEx also offers second day shipping services that rival UPS. For time-sensitive deliveries, FedEx 2Day A.M. tries to one-up UPS by delivering by 10:30 AM to most US addresses, with noon deliveries reserved for rural areas. But just like UPS, FedEx 2Day A.M. doesn’t apply to Saturday deliveries - although they do offer a special Saturday pickup option for an additional charge.

The FedEx 2Day service varies slightly from UPS 2nd Day Air by offering time-definite deliveries on the second day: 4:30 PM for most addresses, and up to 8:00 PM for residential addresses. Similar to UPS, FedEx 2Day can also provide Saturday delivery, but at an additional charge.

UPS 2nd Day Air: A Competitive Second Day Shipping Option

Now that you fully understand what the UPS 2nd Day Air service entails, we hope it helps your business decide whether it is the best alternative for shipments that don’t require overnight services!

Don’t forget that you can always do price and service level comparisons between couriers when getting a quote on Easyship, and that we also have additional resources around courier services on our blog.