Time running out for holiday mail
Holiday packages sent to the mainland by regular mail yesterday or today might still arrive at their destinations by Christmas.
That is, "if the (mainland) weather holds up and there are no major travel tie-ups," Duke Gonzales, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said yesterday.
The Postal Service had said last Friday was the deadline to mail packages to the mainland so they would arrive by Christmas. To be sure they get there on time, there is priority mail. And the Postal Service will deliver express mail to major metropolitan areas on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Gonzales said.
On Oahu there are two post offices on extended hours through Thursday for late mailers. The airport post office will be open until 9 p.m.; the Ala Moana post office, until 6:30 p.m.
At the airport location, the line extended out the lobby by five or six people yesterday as postal officials had six counters open to accept mail and packages. Officials were also going through the line to encourage people to use the automated postal service machines, where there were only a few people waiting in line.
During the holidays, postal officials are at the automated tellers assisting people who might be using the service for the first time.
Connie Arkwell was at the airport post office to mail some Christmas packages yesterday because she said her regular post office was crowded.
"I live on Hickam and I was over there, and the line was way out the door toward the parking lot," she said.
Arkwell said she had used the automated postal service once before but that the post office at Hickam does not have it. She used the automated service to mail packages to California and Nevada but will return to stand in line for the tellers to mail packages overseas. The automated service is only for domestic mail.
Wes Osano had never used automated postal service before but was hoping to try it for the first time when he saw the line of people outside the lobby.
"If I can get out of here and it works, then I'm happy," Osano said.
But he stood in line for the human tellers because he wanted to insure his package for more than the $500 allowed by the automated teller.
The Postal Service conducts about 10 percent of its business through automated tellers most of the year, and 15 percent during the holidays, Gonzales said.