USA Air Mail?

I’m brand new to Postcrossing and international mail, as you can tell…haha. I’ve already sent out quite a few postcards to various countries; however I was just on the USPS site, and they state you must write ‘Air Mail’ on your mail. Well, I definitely did not do that for all of the postcards that already went out. Does anyone know what issues that will cause, if any?


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I’ve never done it and it seems the cards get delivered. Someone at the USPS might rubber stamp it AIR MAIL for all I know.

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That’s what I was hoping/assuming but I figured I’d see what other people say! I did just read on Wikipedia that the US only uses airmail for international anyway sooo… :woman_shrugging:t2:

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A couple years ago, my local post office would give me airmail stickers whenever I bought stamps from the counter but they don’t have them any more which makes me think that functionally, the stickers are superfluous even though the rule is still on the books.

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That sounds right from the Googling I have been doing, thank you. I just panicked for a minute there haha

My cards that make it out of the country don’t get AIR MAIL stamped on it and I stopped writing it years ago. They don’t even make air mail labels anymore. I think since most of the mail goes to the Processing and Distribution Centers, I don’t think the AIR MAIL stamp matters.

I think that AIR MAIL stamp depends on the post office.

When I was in Downtown Honolulu, I went to that post office station to request a hand cancel from the station for a postcard with a picture of Downtown Honolulu. I had used ALL 5 very rare and very expensive to obtain Aloha Shirt stamps on the card. I had wanted to create a philatelic souvenir for a friend who is a philatelist.

I went up to the counter and asked the clerk to hand cancel and he gladly handcancelled all 5 Aloha Shirt stamps and then added a red stamp on the bottom that said AIR MAIL. It was definitely a first for me to see it. I liked the extra detail the clerk put on it.

I had other cards too that I gave him to send off and he started hand canceling them and adding the air mail. As he stamped, he made a comment because he saw that all the cards were to international destinations and his pidgin accent said “You been to all these places”? “Yes” I told him. He said “Wow, you know a lotta fancy people”.

If you want to be fancy and write air mail or have your own air mail stamp. Feel free. With or without it, it gets there.


I guess it would be kind of fun to have a rubber stamp made for Air Mail :thinking:

I remember years ago Cavallini Paper Co. used to sell airmail stickers but that was like stationary decoration.

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Several months ago, I saw a vendor selling these vintage Air Mail envelopes. I thought they were so cool I bought two packages to use with PostCrossing.


The simple answer to your question is, you don’t need to add an Air Mail sticker or write Air Mail.

If you’re curious about the concept and historical significance of Air Mail, explore philatelic websites and books. It’s really neat and I enjoy getting/decorating cards with air mail stamps and stickers, but it’s just a decorative flourish in the US at this point.


Yes, as mentioned above, it would be superfluous to write “Air Mail” on a letter since any first class letter destined for somewhere overseas automatically gets transported via air. Another label you won’t see on an American letter anymore is “Special Delivery,” a class of mail that was discontinued about twenty years ago, though the stamps used for such letters were pretty cool:


(I can’t remember the last time I saw a mail carrier running).


My Post Office gave me those stickers along with my International Forever stamps when I first started Postcrossing last year. Then they stopped giving the stickers out automatically, but gave them when I asked for them. Then they started telling me I didn’t need them because all mail over a certain distance goes airmail anyways, including International mail. Then they stopped having them in stock so it was probably irrelevant.

My cards seem to reach their destination even though I have long run out of the stickers.


Thanks everyone for your responses. Makes me breathe easier haha. And for the cool little history lessons!


I use Postal Love stationary air mail stickers, just for fun.


Oh man, I might need that bear mail one! Thank you for showing me this :rofl:

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Postcards from the USA to me usually do neither have an air mail sticker nor “air mail” handwritten, so it does not really seem to be necessary.

sometime in the 90s or 00s all mail from the usa became air mail. So it is no longer necessary. Whoever is in charge of updating the web site does a horrible job because the info is often quite old…including rates etc!