How a Letter Travels Through the Mail in the U.S.

How does a letter travel through the mail in the U.S? Have you ever wondered what occurs right after you deliver your letter into the mailbox? Whether you used your own residential mailbox, the blue collection box in town or directly sent it through the post office clerk at the post office, your letter goes through a sorting and collection process that enables it to arrive in 2-3 workdays.

The post or the mail is a system for the transport parcels, to mail a letter and even postcards, physically. Make sure you paid for the correct weight of the letter or parcel. If not, your mail won't get to its intended recipient and will be sent back using the return address.

In the United States Postal Service, payment proof is usually in the form of a postal adhesive stamp. However, for bulk mailing, postage meters are used. Modern postal private systems are distinguished from national postal agencies by the terms 'delivery service' or 'courier.'

Aside from letter transporting, postal authorities have other functions. In some countries, telegraph and telephone systems are part of the postal service. Others handle passports and savings accounts. In the United States, the postal service is simply for delivering mail and selling stamps.

How A Letter Travels Through The Mail

Each delivery day, perhaps millions of mail pieces are sorted by the United States Postal Service. Have you ever wondered how each piece goes from point A to point B? With all the infrastructure and manpower, what occurs when you mail a letter into the collection box? Here is the run down:

Letters in the USA account for the greatest mail volume of packages sent. The USPS continues to introduce new technology and equipment to speed up the processing of letters. When you mail a letter, it initiates automation of over-sized envelopes, magazines, and catalogs. It speeds up parcel processing.

The new focus is to be able to give each mailer more information about their mail as it travels throughout the mailing system. The objective is to have an intelligent system of mail that gets the job done in the shortest amount of time. The standard bar code on each mail piece enables mailers to know exactly where their mail is at every moment.

Put Your Letter In The Mailbox

So now that you've added the appropriate postage and properly addressed your letter and put it into the collection box or your mailbox. Find a mailbox near me. You could also take it to your local post office directly.

We also have an article on how to mail a letter.

What's next? Postal carriers collect all the letters in the collection box with the other mail and take it to the post office.

A truck then takes it to the process plant. You've filled out the address and enclose mail into its envelope. Once you drop the letter into the box for collection, postal carriers remove each of the mail from the box and take it to the post office in the neighborhood. From that post office, all the mail that each carrier has brought in for the day is put into a truck and sent to a mail process plant.

The USPS Collects The Mail

Once a letter is deposited into a mailbox, the United States Postal Service postal carrier collects all the mail in the box and takes it to the community post office. The mail and packages collected throughout the neighborhood are then taken from the post office and sent to a processing plant.

The Culling Operation

The letters are then sent through separating machines according to size and shape. At the plant for processing, the letter is sent through machines that separate mail rapidly by shape. Each letter is separated categorically, such as by being a package, a small envelope or a big envelope. The term for this part of the process is the culling operation. The culling operation includes separating packages from envelopes.

Next, the envelopes are separated between small and large. The machine rearranges the envelopes in such a way that all the addresses are all on the same side. Next, a postmark is applied with the place and date where the letter was sorted. Stamps cannot be reused after the same machine applies cancellation lines. This protects the revenue of the post office.

Lifting and Scanning Images

Bar codes that consist of a fluorescent series of bars identify each letter. The optical character readers read each front address on the letter. Letter images that could not be read successfully are sent to a remote center for encoding to be further processed. Every letter is placed on a tray and moved to the bar code application automated equipment.


Bar codes are sprayed on the letter front. This is linked with the code for identification. Bar codes represent specified delivery addresses. Each bar code has short and tall bars. The letter is sent to bins on machines for specific zip codes. The bar code helps the machine know where to put which letter. This determines the next process.

Transport to Process Plant

Letters are sent to trays with the same range of zip code. Then, the tray is sent to the airport for a flight across the country. When the plane lands at its destination, post office representatives take the letter tray to their processing plant and from there, the letters get delivered.

Complete Delivery

Letters at the plant are fed through bar code sorters. This separates letters into specified zip codes. Then, letters get sorted for the last time. Deliver bar code sorts into the carrier who delivers it. The letters of the carrier are also arranged in the order of delivery.

Once you mail a letter, after each piece of mail is taken to the post office station by truck or the branch where carriers work, the mail is loaded into trays into motor vehicles.

The postal carrier then drives to each street for letter delivery. He parks safely and then loads the satchel with the letters to carry to each business or residence. Within minutes, he has delivered the batch of letters to their specific destination.

Whether it is a corporate mail room or the USPS, organization is the secret to a smooth mail operation The USPS is a solid example of organization and innovation in the mail room when the right equipment is used. No matter how much mail needs to be processed, it is of great importance to handle packages and letters with the right tools. For instance, a mail room needs to be stocked with many reliable safe box cutters. The department for receiving and shipping needs to have all their tools on hand.

Pay the appropriate rate for your letter. If your letter is less than an ounce, all you need is one stamp. Essentially, the stamp represents your fee. In other words, if your letter has no stamp, it means you did not pay for the service.

Having more than enough stamps will ensure that you won't have to run to the post office to buy some every time you need to mail a letter. People who mail letters out constantly should have mailing supplies handy in their home or office.

If you mail out different weights of letters, get yourself your own letter scale. If not, you can go ahead and apply the appropriate number of stamps to get those letters mailed. International mail will cost more than local mail.

Different occassions call for mailing a letter, over sending a text message or an email. Learn when to mail a letter.

Ask the clerk at the post office how much your letter will cost if you had to mail a letter to a local state. You can also get online and check weight and country charges for your letter's destination.

When you mail a letter, you will see that there are several service levels offered by USPS. Choose the service based on how fast you want your package or letter delivered and how much you want to pay. Priority mail is the fastest and most expensive. You can speed up delivery if you pay more, for example.

The rate you need to pay will depend on whether you mail a letter, large envelopes or large envelopes. You can choose between regular mail or priority mail. There are other choices you can opt for by checking in at USPS dot com. When sending a box or a parcel, the rate will depend on how heavy your parcel is.

Take advantage of the optical scanners and automation of the United States Postal Service. There are guidelines for getting letters addressed. If you don't follow the guidelines, your letter won't be thrown out. Using these USPS guidelines can help speed up delivery.

USPS Guidelines

Make sure the envelope you use is sturdy enough to protect the contents. A flimsy envelope can break when the contents are heavier than the exterior envelope. Make sure everything you write on the envelope is legible, clear and neat.

Learn about the history of USPS.

The address needs to be legible until about half a meter away. Use a permanent marker or pen. Don't use periods and commas where there shouldn't need any. Make sure there is a return address included for best results.