FedEx delays: How to track packages, understand tracking terms, 2021 holiday deadlines

FedEx has warned customers of potential delays for holiday shipments and other packages after severe weather hit parts of the U.S. last week, spawning deadly tornadoes and impacting some operations.

The Tennessee-based company said in a Dec. 16th alert that tornadoes caused "service disruptions" to some FedEx operations, particularly in Kentucky. 

"Although contingency plans are in place, some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated," the company said. "FedEx is committed to providing service to the best of our ability in areas affected by the storm and as local conditions allow. We will continue to monitor the situation to minimize the impact on service."

In addition to severe weather, FedEX is also handling a high volume of packages this time of year while navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and an industry labor shortage.

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FILE - A FedEx truck makes deliveries on Dec. 6, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FedEx is aware that delays can be frustrating and asked customers to continue to check the status of their shipments for updated delivery dates.

"We understand our customers’ frustrations and apologize for any inconvenience as we accelerate contingencies to resolve delays caused by significant package volumes and an ongoing industry labor shortage," the company said in a statement to FOX 5 Atlanta.

How to track FedEx shipments in real-time

FedEx offers a number of tools for customers to track their packages during the busy holiday season, which can be done for both domestic and international shipments.

Customers should receive a FedEx tracking ID number, which can be entered online to see the latest updates on a shipment’s location. It will also show when the shipment has been initiated, picked up, in transit or delivered. 

FedEx packages can also be tracked by:

  • Downloading the FedEx Mobile app and entering the tracking number or scanning the barcode on a door tag.
  • Texting "follow" and a door tag number to 48773 (ex: follow DT999999999999).
  • Calling 1.800.GoFedEx (1.800.463.3339) and say "track my package," then follow the prompts.

FedEx generally makes deliveries from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time Monday through Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday for residential deliveries. 

"If you got a message that says FedEx will deliver your package by end of day, that means your package should arrive before 8 PM on the delivery date," the company says. 

FedEx Delivery Manager, which requires free signup, allows customers to change the recipient's address, reschedule the delivery date and more.

What happens if FedEx tracking isn’t updating?

FedEx shipments receive updates at various points in their journeys between pickup and delivery, according to the company. 

"The frequency of scans varies, and it is not unusual for a shipment to go more than 24 hours without an update on its way, especially during periods of long travel," FedEx says.

What does it mean if FedEx says scheduled delivery is now pending?

A FedEx message stating that "scheduled delivery is now pending" means that every effort is being made to deliver the package "as soon as possible," according to the company. 

The estimated delivery date can change based on the type of delay and the company’s efforts to mitigate it. 

What does a FedEx ‘delivery exception’ message mean?

A FedEx "delivery exception" means that an unexpected event prevented the delivery of the package, including a customs delay, holiday closure impacts or missing documentation. 

The company recommends signing up for its FedEx Delivery Manager to receive more updates on the status of packages.

What to do if FedEx package doesn’t arrive

Customers should continue tracking the package to see the most up-to-date information about delivery. If the page indicates that the shipment is on time, FedEx’s "Estimated Delivery Date" should be used as a guide for when it will, in fact, arrive.

But if the package is damaged, lost or missing, customers can use this online tool to file a claim for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground or FedEx Freight shipments.

Holiday shipping deadlines 2021 for FedEx, UPS, USPS 

With Christmas quickly approaching, customers will want to get their packages in the mail as soon as possible so it can be received by Dec. 25. 

FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service holiday deadlines vary. Click here to see shipping dates for all three carriers. 

This story was reported from Cincinnati.