FedEx Operational Delay: The Ultimate Guide

If you have been using FedEx for long, then you might have stumbled on the “Operational Delay” update. 

I have received such an update three times now, and it honestly can’t be irritating enough. 

So, what does the FedEx operational delay update mean? Is there anything I am supposed to do after I receive that notification? For an ultimate guide, read on. 

What does the FedEx Operational Delay Update mean?

An operational delay update means that FedEx has delayed a package due to factors such as staff shortages, plane shortages, union strikes, or carrier equipment failures. If your package had a time frame guarantee and encountered an operational delay, you can ask for a refund right away. 

While FedEx provides reasons for operational delays such as an incorrect recipient address or postal code and tries to fix the delay on the recipient, our research shows that FedEx is almost always responsible for any operational delay that happens. 

The real reasons for FedEx Operational Delays explained

FedEx Operational Delay Meaning

If you visited the FedEx website trying to deduce info on why there is an operational delay, you might have seen that the reasons they provide point to the recipient as the culprit necessitating such. 

However, below are some of the real reasons causing operational delays and some other delivery exception delays include:

1. Plane shortages

Ideally and realistically, FedEx doesn’t have enough planes to cater to all their customers around the world. 

When packages arrive in FedEx transit hubs, they sometimes sit in a heap as FedEx workers wait until there is some space left on a plane heading in a transit route. 

The problem is that there could be thousands of other packages heading to the same route as yours and if yours reached the hub after those, then the plane will be filled up way before yours gets a space. At that point, you will receive an operational delay until your package gets into another plane. 

As someone who has been affected by these delays, I feel that FedEx could only bite what it can chew. There is literally no point in accepting thousands of packages while knowing that there are no planes to cater for a seamless delivery experience. 

2. Staff shortages

For the giant pile of packages in FedEx hubs, you can undoubtedly nod that understaffing will do recipients injustice. 

As it seems, the ratio of the packages to FedEx staff is incompatible, which is a vital reason leading to operation delays. 

It would generally be a wise idea if FedEx could have seasonal staff, especially in the Holiday seasons.

3. A large volume of packages 

The volume of packages is usually higher during the Holiday seasons and at such times, operational delay updates are always common. 

The situation is usually worse considering that FedEx is understaffed at those times. Not to think how the plane shortage menace along with voluminous goods can cause delays of a couple of weeks. 

Since some sellers only ship via FedEx, it’s a wise idea that you buy your packages weeks in advance of the Holiday season. In case of any operational delays, they might be sorted out before the holiday moments kick in. 

We also mentioned backlogs as one of the leading reasons why the tracking page is stuck on “Out for Delivery

4. Workers’ strikes

Strikes in workplaces happen every other time and FedEx is no exception. In November 2021, FedEx Au workers downed their tools citing job insecurity. 

In case of these strikes, the only update the recipient is bound to receive is the dreaded “operational delay”. 

The problem with strikes is that they may actually take several weeks before a solution is found, which may honestly be inconvenient to the clients. As such, it’s even hard to estimate when an operational delay can be reversed. 

When you are purchasing from a seller who only uses FedEx as the delivery company, it’s crucial for you to stay updated on what’s happening in the company. I forfeited buying from such a seller when I saw a CNN Business article showing that FedEx partners could forfeit doing Holiday Deliveries.

5. Equipment failure

Planes and trucks can have some pieces of equipment failing before take off, and especially when the weather is bad

Since it can take some time before diagnosing and sorting out mechanical problems, deliveries can delay; thus, recipients receive “operational delay” updates. 

Under most circumstances, delays happening owing to the final delivery truck’s mechanical failures get sorted in a few hours and deliveries mostly happen the next day. In the case of planes, sorting out the problem can take a few hours to a day. 

What do I do in case of an operational delay update?

If you receive that update from FedEx, the first thing to do is to visit the tracking page and confirm where the package is stuck at. 

If you find that the package is not at your local FedEx facility, then you have no choice but to wait for it. If it’s at your local facility and you feel that it’s taking longer to reach you, you may call FedEx and ask for a pick-up from there. 

If the package was far from your facility, we ask that you keep your tabs open on the tracking page. In case yours was a case of guaranteed delivery and you are unable to wait further, you can as well ask for a refund of the shipping fees.   

FedEx operational delay refund

If your shipment had a delivery guarantee label, then you are eligible for a FedEx operational delay refund. 

You will need to read and understand the FedEx Money Back Guarantee Policy to be within their refund schedule, though.