Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slow Mail to Austria

Our friend in Japan sent my birthday gift in plenty of time, yet it took a month to arrive. R suggested it went via Austria as a good bit of our mail does, or used to, but there was no evidence of that. Australia and Austria are often confused. In Austria there are bumper stickers and the like saying, 'There are no kangaroos in Austria'. Even the South Koreans are struggling with the spelling similarities, with the modellers of leaders attending the G20 Summit having our Prime Minister dressed in traditional Austrian garb. What a hoot! The internet has a lot to answer for. I only saw a fleeting image of the corrected doll, but she seemed to be in all black and looking rather like Madame Mao.

Without checking, does anyone know what the SAL is on my birthday parcel? R saw the sticker and knew straight away.

It stands for Surface Air Lifted. I am unsure of its world history but it was introduced in Australia in 1971. I can find no evidence that it is still available in Australia, certainly not at the Australia Post website. Either it has been discontinued or Aus Post don't want it used.

Essentially SAL means your mail travels by surface in the country it is sent from and the country it arrives in and by air in between the two countries and costs you a bit less to send a parcel.

It doesn't explain why the parcel took so long to arrive but R, who has some knowledge in this area, tells me in it is given very low priority at mail centres and is only sorted after normal Par Avion parcels have been sorted. It can be left at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, for a good time.

Does anyone know if SAL does exist in Australia?


  1. it certainly used to - I have much experience with a mail-order business and am sure SAL was an option until at least 1982.
    If this country ever has a second Eureka uprising, it will be because of the mails. Auspost now whining because email has diminished their profits, but they have never given much customer comfort in those crowded toyshops which are now handling what used to be considered IMPORTANT - communications. Queuing hours for a stamp while people get passports and pay utilities. hate hate hate.

  2. Don't take this as gospel, but I think I'm right. My Mad Mother used to sent Xmas presents back the Old Country via SAL, but apparently can no longer do it - has to be either sea snail or airmail.

  3. What Ann said.
    You know they still have Saturday deliveries in NZ?
    Oz post sucks.

  4. Julia is not alone. When we were in San Francisco many moons ago, a shopkeeper was surprised that we Austrians spoke english.

  5. Ann, bring back the old style post offices, staffed by grumps. Posting a letter was a serious business then, never mind sending a telegram.

    Pretty well as I understand LS.

    Jayne, one day they will get the email facility and computers and the Saturday post will disappear. Hope no NZers are reading.

    LS, I hope you corrected the shopkeeper to 'we speak Australian'.

  6. No, just grunted something like, "Ich nicht bin ein Berliner."

    (And then decide it would be best to stop shoplifting.)

  7. Reminds me when we were in Vietnam and I was fed up with the post card sellers, so when one asked me in English where I was from, I shook my head and said Francais. The little brat then started speaking to me in French.

  8. Anonymous6:31 pm

    Oh Andrew, you are funny! Vietnam used to be a French colony! : )

    There used to be Economy Air in Australia - does that still exist? Maybe it replaced SAL...V.

  9. V, I have forgotten more about Vietnam than you have perhaps ever known, especially the colonial period. While I am not sure what languages may now be taught in Vietnamese schools, this lad clearly wasn't at school when he should have been and probably had not attended school much. Anyone in Vietnam who speaks French now will be around the age of 70, unless they have specifically learnt it for a purpose, or they speak tourist French, which is what I expect this lad knew. The post card sellers, boys and girls alike, were so sweet, they were hard to resist. Eventually we succumbed and bought some outrageously expensive and dog eared cards.

    From what I can see on the Aus Post website, you can send surface or air and that is it. I know foreign students use private companies to send their things back and forth as the price is lower.

    In your case, I would guess the parcel travelled by road to Tokyo Airport. But if you sent it air mail, would it have gone by plane from Aomori to Tokyo? It probably wouldn't be flown in any form from Melbourne Airport to the highrise.

  10. Just to add, I reckon the delay was in Australia.

  11. of course the delay was in Australia, Aust Post are incompetent!

    I had to laugh at Julia dressed up in her Austrian finest, how embarrassing for the fool who got those two mixed up!

  12. Or Fen, playing the wrong country's anthem for a medal winner at Commonwealth who did that? Oh, we did.

  13. did we? I wasn't here for the CG's.

  14. Not sure Fen. One country did recently.

  15. Only just looking like Madame Mao - more like acting lilke her would be closer to the truth

  16. Hehe MC. At least she hasn't ordered executions......yet.


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