The delays were blamed on poor weather
this week in parts of the U.S., as well as overloaded systems. The holiday
shopping period this year was shorter than usual, and Americans' tendency to
wait until the last second to shop probably didn't help.
Neither company said how many packages were delayed but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments."UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination; however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed," United Parcel Service Inc. said in a service advisory online Wednesday.
UPS is not making pickups or
deliveries Wednesday and plans to resume normally scheduled service Thursday.
Some FedEx customers are able to pick
up packages Christmas Day at their local FedEx Express centers.
"We're sorry that there could be
delays and we're contacting affected customers who have shipments available for
pickup," said Scott Fiedler, a spokesman for FedEx Corp.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas,
FedEx handled 275 million shipments, according to Fiedler. Those that were not
delivered in time, he said, "would be very few."
The problems appear to have impacted many parts of the country. The Associated Press spoke to people in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and other states who didn't receive presents in time for Christmas.
Many were left with little or no time
to make alternative plans.
Jeff Cormier and his Dallas family
were among those whose gifts never arrived.
He had three separate UPS packages -- including two for which he paid extra for expedited shipping -- delayed.
"I've had to apologize to three
different people when I thought I had everything wrapped up and good to go way
before," Cormier said.
He and his wife are celebrating their
baby daughter's first Christmas and flew in his grandmother from Ohio to join
them. Her gift, a customized iPhone cover with a photo of her new
great-granddaughter, didn't come in time for Christmas.
"My wife and I had our presents
to open. Our daughter had her presents to open. And my grandma, she didn't have
anything to open," Cormier said.
Three people told The Associated Press
that when they tracked their packages online, FedEx said deliveries to their
homes were attempted but failed because "the business was closed."
During follow-up calls with customer service, they said they learned that the
local depot was overwhelmed and didn't attempt delivery.
On Sunday, Eric Swanson ordered a doll
for his daughter and a sweater for his wife through Amazon.com and one of its
affiliated sites. As an Amazon Prime customer, there was a promise of two-day
delivery, getting the gifts to his Carmichael, Calif. home just in time for
Christmas. One was shipped via UPS, the other FedEx.
"I thought it would happen,"
Swanson said. Online tracking tools said the packages would arrive by 8 p.m.
Tuesday. Neither did.
"My wife understands but my 5-year-old daughter ... I think we're going to let it be a surprise when it comes," Swanson said. "Next time, if I need to get a gift and cut it that close, I will just have to enter the fray and go to mall."