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Saturday, August 09, 2014

How to send packages from the US to the Philippines? (Johnny Air Review)

Ever tried shipping a package from the US to the Philippines through USPS and PHLPost? I have! It was a nightmare! The package took over a month to arrive from the US to the Philippines. Then, it took another month before the final Registry Notice to claim my parcel was successfully delivered to the shipping address. The PHLPost will only attempt to send 3 notices before the parcel would be "returned to sender or disposed of". It should be said that the dates stamped on the Registry Notice were days someone was at the shipping address to receive mail (if any was delivered at all).

According to the Registry Notice I had to claim my parcel at the Quezon City Central Post Office. Because I just learned about it, I only had less than a week to do so. Needless to say, this caused me a lot of stress. Not only did I have to make time for it on such short notice, but I had no idea where the post office was. With the help of a friend who gave me a ride (Hi Direk!) and this awesome blog post, I was finally able to claim my package.

That was the first and probably the last time I'm going to go through PHLPost!

I've told some of my friends that story and they've recommended some freight forwarding companies. The one most recommended to me by my friends is Johnny Air. Their tag line is, "YOU shop. WE ship." It was either try something new or go through PHLPost again (which I refuse to do).

How to ship through Johnny Air?

1) Ship your package to any of Johnny Air's US addresses.

This is the one we chose:
Your Name/Jac Retail 
55 Saint Francis Square, Daly City, CA 94015
Here's our receipt when we shipped my package to the Daly City branch. 
USPS receipt
The website instructs that you should send an email to after you've made your order or shipped your package. I suggest you use the email address of the Johnny Air branch you shipped your package to. In our case:

(650) 991-7085

NOTE: Some of the items in the package were ordered from different online retailers. The items were consolidated by USPS before being sent to Johnny Air US. If you are going to send the items directly to Johnny Air, you might want to contact them and have your package consolidated so you don't have to pay separate handling fees. This would cost you extra though. Also, please take note that there are prohibited items. See below:

fees and prohibited items

2) Email shipping details

The website doesn't give specifics on what exactly they need from you, but providing your name, contact number, and tracking number is what I would recommend you include in your email. You should also choose a pickup location. Here's a list of local Johnny Air branches. We chose the SM Megamall branch since that one is the most accessible to me.

3) Pay shipment fees

Rates: $5.99/lb. for non-electronic items (minimum chargeable weight of 2 lbs.) + $5 Handling fee

There is a different rate for electronic devices, $50/unit laptop, $25/unit tablet and $10/unit mobile phones. I recommend contacting Johnny Air for details.

There's two options you can either pay collect on delivery or you can pay the via credit card. We chose to pay part of the shipping fee through credit card. But we were informed that if I pay the $4.11 balance when I come pick up the package, the Philippine office would have to charge VAT. 

Johnny Air  and VAT charges
So on the 2nd of August around 8am MNL time, we settled the balance using a credit card instead. 

Balance settled!

4) Pick up your package

On the 2nd of Aug at 1:45 PM MNL time, Johnny Air PH texted me informing me that my package was already available for pick up! 

Ready for Pick Up!
I should point out that at the time, we have already settled the remaining balance and the confirmation email from Johnny Air US was already sent to the PH office. To make sure I wouldn't be charged when I pick up the package, I had the sender Viber message to Johnny Air US:

I went to SM Megamall with my brother the next day (3rd of August around 3PM) to pick up the package:

Johnny Air (SM Megamall branch)

When I claimed my package, they tried to charge me the $4.11 balance! I had to tell them it was already settled, and that the US office emailed them about it. Instead of checking their email, the staff repeated that I had a $4.11 balance that I need to settle before they can release my package. I told them that the $4.11 balance was paid through credit card. Instead of checking their email, this time they asked me when the payment was made. I told them this weekend. They still didn't make a move to check their email. They just looked at each other. I then asked, "It was emailed to Paciano. Who is Paciano?" Instead of answering that question, one of them finally gestured towards the computer. That was the only time they bothered checking their email.

This is the only negative experience I had with Johnny Air. This is not something that should be taken lightly. If a receiver wasn't informed by his/her sender that they had settled the shipping fee, then the receiver would have overpaid just because the PH office doesn't check their email regularly. IDK about Johnny Air, but I'd rather check my email than handle refunds.

That aside, here's the package:

Package (back)
Package (front)
The box doesn't seem like it was manhandled. Items were in good condition.

Overall Experience: GOOD

I'll let the shipping timeline do the talking:
USPS tracking

On 7/24, the package was shipped to Johnny Air US.

On 7/26, the package was delivered to Johnny Air US.

On 8/2, the package arrived at Johnny Air SM Megamall.

Shipping only took 9 days! NINE.DAYS.

- fast shipping
-good customer support from the US office
- Johnny Air handles customs duties and taxes 

- consolidating packages have extra fees
- charges extra for shipping electronic devices
- 2 lb minimum chargeable weight
- PH office not being up-to-date with customer balances

Would use Johnny Air again?


What's your experience with PHLPost? Have you tried Johnny Air? Which freight forwarding company do you use? Tell me about it in the comments!

Johnny Air
55 St. Francis Sq. Daly City, CA 94015
Phone/Viber: +1 650 201 2080

Johnny Air (SM Megamall)
L/G Bldg. A, Basement Amusement Center, SM Megamall EDSA, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
Phone: (02) 631 7101
Fax: (02) 638 8512 / 910 6907