How fast is UPS second day air?

UPS second day air is one of the fastest ground shipping options available from UPS. It provides expedited delivery typically within 2 business days to most addresses in the 48 contiguous United States. But how fast exactly is UPS second day air and what factors impact the total transit time? Here’s a quick overview of UPS second day air delivery times:

  • Delivers within 2 business days by end of day to most areas
  • Overnight delivery available to many major markets
  • Actual transit time depends on origin, destination and time of pickup
  • Quicker than basic ground which takes 5-10 days for delivery

Keep reading as we dive deeper into the different variables that affect UPS second day air performance and speed.

What is UPS Second Day Air?

UPS Second Day Air is a time-definite service offered by UPS for expedited delivery of packages within 2 business days. It is one of UPS’s fastest ground shipping options.

Here are some key facts about UPS Second Day Air:

  • Available to all 50 states and Puerto Rico
  • Provides delivery typically by end of day within 2 business days of pickup
  • Overnight delivery possible for many major markets
  • Guaranteed delivery options available for extra charge
  • Free UPS Tracking provided
  • Pickup and delivery Monday through Friday
  • Heavier weight limits than UPS Next Day Air

Compared to regular UPS Ground which takes 5-10 business days, UPS Second Day Air can cut transit times significantly for time-sensitive packages. It offers a great balance of speed and affordability for many UPS customers.

When is UPS Second Day Air Available?

UPS Second Day Air offers expedited delivery Monday through Friday to most addresses in the continental United States. No delivery is made on weekends or major U.S. holidays.

Here is when UPS Second Day Air pickup and delivery is available:

  • Pickup: Monday through Friday, daily pickup required
  • Delivery: Monday through Friday by end of day
  • Not Available: Saturday, Sunday and major U.S. holidays

Packages must be tendered to UPS on a business day by the time designated by the applicable UPS pickup window. Assuming timely pickup, delivery will be made by the end of the second business day.

For example, a package picked up on Monday would be delivered by the end of day Wednesday to eligible addresses. Any packages picked up on Fridays will not be delivered until the following Monday at the earliest.

Where is UPS Second Day Air Available To?

UPS Second Day Air is available to all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Delivery timeframes are based on destination postal codes.

Here is an overview of the types of delivery timeframes:

  • 1 Day Delivery: Available for metro areas near originating UPS hub
  • 2 Day Delivery: Available for most zip codes in 48 contiguous states
  • 3 Day Delivery: Applies to some remote, rural or mountainous areas
  • 2-3 Day for Alaska
  • 3-4 Day for Hawaii

Many major metropolitan areas can receive UPS Second Day Air overnight when packages are tendered to UPS prior to pickup deadlines. Most delivery zip codes are 2 days.

UPS provides transit time estimates during checkout based on precise origin and destination. Add 1 extra day for pickup if not tendering to UPS daily.

What is the UPS Second Day Air Delivery Map?

UPS maintains a color-coded delivery map that provides estimated transit times for UPS Second Day Air based on origin and destination postal codes. This helps provide clear guidance on expected delivery times across the United States.

Here is an overview of the UPS Second Day Air delivery map:

  • Blue: Overnight delivery (1 business day)
  • Red: End of day delivery (2 business days)
  • Yellow: Daytime delivery (2 business days)
  • Green: Daytime delivery (3 business days)

Many major metros and nearby suburbs fall within overnight (blue) delivery times for Second Day Air. These include cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and more.

Most other areas are red, indicating end of day delivery within 2 business days from pickup. Select rural areas are yellow and green for 2 or 3 day delivery.

UPS provides zip code-specific lookup tools online to check estimated delivery times. Transit days add 1 extra day if not tendering packages daily for pickup.

What Days of the Week Does UPS Second Day Air Deliver?

UPS Second Day Air delivers packages Monday through Friday only. No UPS Second Day Air deliveries are made on weekends or major U.S. holidays.

When you ship with Second Day Air, keep the following delivery schedule in mind:

  • Monday: Packages picked up Friday delivered
  • Tuesday: Packages picked up Monday delivered
  • Wednesday: Packages picked up Tuesday delivered
  • Thursday: Packages picked up Wednesday delivered
  • Friday: Packages picked up Thursday delivered
  • Saturday: No deliveries
  • Sunday: No deliveries

The day a package is picked up determines when delivery occurs. Allow extra transit days if pickup falls on an Friday before a weekend or prior to a holiday closure.

What are the UPS Second Day Air Transit Times?

UPS Second Day Air transit times depend primarily on three factors:

  • Origin pickup location
  • Destination delivery address
  • Time tendered to UPS prior to pickup deadline

Here are the main timeframes to expect:

  • Overnight: Major metros near originating UPS hub
  • 2 Days: Most of continental U.S.
  • 3 Days: Select remote, rural areas
  • 4-5 Days: Alaska and Hawaii

Many major cities and surrounding suburbs can receive overnight Second Day Air delivery when packages make it to UPS prior to cutoff. Most other areas see delivery within 2 business days from pickup.

Total time also depends on pickup schedules. Add 1 extra transit day if not tendering packages daily for frequent collection by UPS.

Transit days exclude weekends and holidays when UPS does not operate pickup or delivery service.

What is the UPS Second Day Air Overnight Delivery Map?

UPS provides an overnight delivery map for UPS Second Day Air indicating which major metros are eligible for next day delivery. Here is an overview:

  • Applies to Second Day Air only
  • Requires pickup prior to deadline
  • Delivery by 3:00 PM next-day to many zip codes
  • Applies only to business days

Eligible origin & destination zip codes fall within blue shaded areas on the UPS delivery map. This includes major hubs like:

  • Los Angeles metro
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Seattle metro
  • Phoenix metro
  • Dallas metro
  • Houston metro

And on the East Coast:

  • New York City metro
  • Philadelphia metro
  • Washington DC metro
  • Atlanta metro
  • Miami metro

Verify eligible overnight delivery locations using UPS’s transit time estimator during checkout. Overnight applies to Second Day Air only, not ground shipping.

What Time Does UPS Second Day Air Deliver By?

UPS Second Day Air shipments are delivered by the end of day on the scheduled delivery date. The actual delivery time depends on the destination and delivery route for that day.

Here are the general delivery timeframes:

  • Early Morning: Early deliveries in some areas first on route.
  • Morning: Most residential deliveries occur mid-morning.
  • Afternoon: Late afternoon deliveries common.
  • End of Day: Scheduled delivery date guaranteed by UPS.

For overnight Second Day Air shipments, UPS guarantees delivery by end of day but many packages arrive by mid-afternoon to convenient destinations.

Recipients can get better delivery time estimates as the package enters the local delivery network using UPS My Choice or tracking updates. Time of day cannot be guaranteed or requested.

What is the UPS Second Day Air Money Back Guarantee?

UPS offers a money back guarantee for UPS Second Day Air shipments that do not arrive on schedule. Here is how the UPS Second Day Air guarantee works:

  • Covers Second Day Air shipments only
  • Refunds 100% of shipping charges
  • Applies if delivery is even 1 minute late
  • Valid for delayed domestic shipments only
  • Suspended during major weather events

To receive a refund due to late delivery, the recipient must contact UPS within 15 calendar days of the scheduled delivery and submit a UPS Guaranteed Service Refund request.

UPS also offers additional paid guarantees providing greater coverage for high value Second Day Air shipments.

How Much Does UPS Second Day Air Cost?

UPS Second Day Air shipping rates vary based on package weight, origin and destination. On average expect to pay the following for Second Day Air:

  • 1 lb package – Starts around $10+
  • 3 lb package – Around $20+$
  • 5 lbs – $25+
  • 10 lbs – $45+

Packages over 70 lbs cannot use UPS Second Day Air and must use UPS Ground Freight.

UPS provides an online Rate Calculator to check the exact Second Day Air rate based on details like:

  • Pickup and delivery zip codes
  • Package weight
  • Date of shipment
  • Dimensions

Second Day Air costs more than ground but less than Next Day Air for expedited 2 day service. Guaranteed options, declared value and other upgrades add further costs.

How to Save on UPS Second Day Air Shipping

Here are some tips for saving money on Second Day Air shipping:

  • Use UPS online savings – Up to 50% discounts vs published rates
  • Sign up for a UPS account – Saves up to 40% for frequent shippers
  • Consolidate packages – Combine into fewer larger packages
  • Ship on less busy days – Avoid peak surcharges near holidays
  • Drop off at UPS store – Savings over pickup fees
  • Weigh package accurately – 1 lb makes a big difference
  • Compare with Next Day Air – Second Day may cost less

Getting complete pricing is also important before purchase as surcharges may apply for residential delivery, oversize packages and more.

How Reliable is UPS Second Day Air?

UPS Second Day Air reliability remains very high year after year according to internal UPS data:

  • 99% on-time delivery rate in 2020
  • 99.1% on-time in 2019
  • 98.9% on-time in 2018

Factors supporting reliability:

  • Extensive UPS ground infrastructure
  • Advanced package tracking
  • Contingency plans for inclement weather
  • Ongoing network improvements
  • Highly trained employees
  • Continual package scans & monitoring

Second Day Air fares better than ground shipping for time-definite delivery. Severe weather or other acts outside of UPS’s control can impact on-time delivery.

How Does UPS Second Day Air Compare to Ground Shipping?

UPS Second Day Air offers significantly faster transit times compared to basic UPS Ground at a moderate premium:

UPS Second Day Air UPS Ground
Transit Time 1-2 business days 5-10 business days
Delivery Schedule Monday – Friday only Monday-Saturday
Guarantee Money-back guarantee No delivery guarantee
Rate Estimate* $10+ for 1 lb $7+ for 1 lb

*Rate estimates based on basic list rates, discounts can apply

UPS Ground is better for low-cost deferred shipping while Second Day Air ensures quicker transit at reasonable rates.

How Does UPS Second Day Air Compare to Next Day Air?

UPS Second Day Air sits in between basic ground and urgent Next Day Air service:

UPS Second Day Air UPS Next Day Air
Transit Time 1-2 business days Next business day
Delivery Schedule Monday – Friday Monday – Saturday
Guarantee Money-back guarantee Money-back plus $100 gift card
Rate Estimate* $10+ for 1 lb $25+ for 1 lb

*Rate estimates based on basic list rates, discounts can apply

Next Day Air offers 1 day expedited service perfect for urgent packages. Second Day Air ships faster than ground at more affordable rates.

Is UPS Second Day Air Right for My Shipment?

UPS Second Day Air offers the best value for time-sensitive 1-3 day ground shipping. It’s a great option for:

  • Important business documents
  • eCommerce order fulfillment
  • Lightweight urgent packages under 70 lbs
  • Delivery required faster than ground
  • Customers willing to pay a moderate premium

Second Day Air is less ideal for heavy/large items where ground rates are more affordable. For next flight out urgent delivery, Next Day Air is preferable to Second Day.

Evaluate speed requirements, costs and delivery time reliability when selecting the best UPS service. Online transit time estimators make it easy to compare options.


UPS Second Day Air offers reliable expedited delivery in 1-2 business days for time-sensitive packages. It provides much faster transit times compared to basic UPS Ground shipping at reasonable rates.

With near 99% on-time delivery and a money-back guarantee, Second Day Air is an excellent option when standard ground will not suffice but Next Day Air is not essential. Overnight delivery is even available for many major metros.

A variety of factors impact total transit time including location, selected service level and pickup schedules. UPS’s online Rate and Transit Time calculators make it easy to confirm UPS Second Day Air speed, rates and delivery times.

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