UPDATE: UPS, FedEx Scramble To Deliver Delayed Christmas Package - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: UPS, FedEx Scramble To Deliver Delayed Christmas Packages

NBCNEWS.COM - Two of the nation's biggest package shippers hit the road Thursday, scrambling to deliver boxes to angry customers who didn't receive the gifts they ordered in time for Christmas.

UPS and FedEx, under fire for failing to deliver Santa's packages in time for the holiday, blamed the delays on weeks of bad weather and higher demand from soaring online sales.  

UPS did not make pickups or deliveries on Christmas Day, but brought in extra workers on Christmas night to the company's hub in Louisville, Ky., to sort packages for Thursday and Friday deliveries, a spokesperson for the company told The Associated Press. Some FedEx customers were able to pick up packages at local FedEx Express centers on Christmas Day.

Both companies, pummeled on social media by negative comments from furious, gift-less customers, issued apologies. 

"The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network .... We apologize," UPS, which was plagued by more shipping problems than FedEx was, said in a statement. FedEx echoed that apology, calling the volume an "extraordinary event."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., demanded UPS provide refunds to customers across the U.S. who were quoted arrival dates before Christmas.

"I call on UPS to do the right thing and provide refunds to people whose Christmases were a little less cheery as a result of their late deliveries," he said.

Besides poor weather in many parts of the country, the delays were blamed on systems overloaded by a shorter holiday shopping period this year due to Thanksgiving falling so late in November and more present-buying done online. 

Online spending jumped 9 percent, to $37.8 billion, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, according to online research firm comScore, and retailers expect overall holiday sales to be up nearly 4 percent, exceeding $600 million.

"We had a shortened holiday season in terms of shopping: six fewer days and a surge in online demand, particularly accelerated by a surge in mobile devices," said Mark Mahaney, an online retail analyst. "Mobile accounted to 40 percent of all Internet sales."

Neither UPS nor FedEx said how many of its packages were delayed, but said it was a small percentage of the Christmas shipments.

Scott Fielder, a spokesman for FedEx Corp, said FedEx handled 275 million shipments between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Our 300,000 team members were focused on safely delivering our customers packages this holiday season and we are proud of their efforts," he said in a statement Thursday. "We operated with very high service levels — over 99 percent at FedEx Ground, for example — during our busiest time of the year."

Later Thursday morning, FedEx downplayed the number of packages that were delayed. 

"We experienced no major service disruptions in the week before Christmas despite heavy volume.  Every single package is important to us, and we will continue to work directly with customers to address any isolated incidents," it said in another statement.

The U.S. Postal Service said holiday volume jumped 19 percent over the same period last year, a higher-than-expected package volume increase. Heavy volume was expected to continue throughout the week.

Jay Erikson, a customer who took to FedEx's Facebook page to express his frustration, was one of the unlucky ones who didn't get his parcels on time.

"If you can't keep a promise, then don't make it. Thanks for nothing, FedEx," he wrote. 

Amazon.com, one of the nation's largest package shippers, cited UPS's "failure" in an email to customers on Christmas morning. The online retailer said it processed all orders on time and said it is compensating some customers with $20 gift cards and refunds on shipping charges.

UPS issued another apology Thursday afternoon. 

"UPS apologizes to both shipping and receiving customers who may have delays. We had additional sorting operations at Worldport, the UPS international air hub in Louisville, Ky., on Christmas and are making deliveries and pickups today," it said. 

The shipper also posted a service update on its website Thursday urging customers to track their packages via UPS.com, and said, "UPS experienced heavy holiday volume and is making every effort to get packages to their destination as quickly as possible. UPS has resumed normally scheduled service on December 26."

The UPS statement was released as complaints via social media continued to pile up.

"I will never use UPS again... never!" Samuel Barnett wrote on the company's Facebook page after his product from Apple didn't arrive by Christmas, despite the fact he ordered it second-day air more than a week earlier.

The reactions weren't all bad, though. 

Heidi Grant, a North Carolina mother of three who didn't receive her gifts in time, told TODAY, "I guess the benefit is Christmas is going to last longer. [The kids are] going to have more gifts to open in a couple of days."

And on Twitter, others blamed procrastination of disappointed customers who had taken to using the hashtag "UPSFail" to complain about not getting their packages.

"People using #upsfail need to get a life," wrote @MrsKimSanders. "Order early next year!! Thank you UPS workers!!"

On Facebook, interspersed with the gripes at UPS were messages of gratitude for the workers.

"I am grateful for UPS everyday of the year and a HUGE UPS fan, but seeing MANY trucks out last night around 6 on Christmas Eve, I was most grateful for you guys and prayed you all got home safe & sound soon after I saw you," wrote Kelley Mansfield.

Added Hana Johnson, "We have the best UPS delivery man and I applaud all the hours of work they have put in. Merry Christmas and thanks."

The last time a significant number of UPS packages were late for Christmas was in 2004, when an ice storm crippled the UPS distribution center in Louisville, Ky. Employees manually loaded packages for days that year, surprising customers with Christmas Day deliveries.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Gonzaga Official: Chick-Fil-A not coming to Spokane

    Gonzaga Official: Chick-Fil-A not coming to Spokane

    Sunday, August 19 2018 12:53 PM EDT2018-08-19 16:53:47 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The rumor that was quickly spread Saturday about a Chick-Fil-A franchise coming to Gonzaga University is false, according to a Gonzaga official. Mary Joan Hahn, the Senior Director of Community & Public Relations at Gonzaga, tells KHQ that this information is inaccurate. She wasn't able to explain how the information got out in the first place, but Gonzaga is looking into it.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The rumor that was quickly spread Saturday about a Chick-Fil-A franchise coming to Gonzaga University is false, according to a Gonzaga official. Mary Joan Hahn, the Senior Director of Community & Public Relations at Gonzaga, tells KHQ that this information is inaccurate. She wasn't able to explain how the information got out in the first place, but Gonzaga is looking into it.

    >>
  • Air quality worsening in Northwest as smoke returns

    Air quality worsening in Northwest as smoke returns

    Sunday, August 19 2018 5:50 PM EDT2018-08-19 21:50:40 GMT

    SEATTLE (AP) - Forecasters are warning of unhealthy air in parts of the Pacific Northwest as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region. The National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts for much of Washington state. The service says air quality in Western Washington is expected to worsen starting Sunday. Some improvement is expected by Wednesday. An air quality alert is also in place across Eastern Washington and North Idaho. 

    >>

    SEATTLE (AP) - Forecasters are warning of unhealthy air in parts of the Pacific Northwest as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region. The National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts for much of Washington state. The service says air quality in Western Washington is expected to worsen starting Sunday. Some improvement is expected by Wednesday. An air quality alert is also in place across Eastern Washington and North Idaho. 

    >>
  • Suspect dies after officer-involved shooting in Spokane Valley

    Suspect dies after officer-involved shooting in Spokane Valley

    Sunday, August 19 2018 7:47 PM EDT2018-08-19 23:47:04 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A male suspect has died after being involved in a police shooting following a standoff situation in Spokane Valley Sunday morning. Police say the matter originated as a vandalism call after a man pulled into a gas station and began breaking windows in a vehicle. They later found the male to be armed and possibly suicidal, leading to a standoff at Trent and Evergreen where he was barricaded in the vehicle. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A male suspect has died after being involved in a police shooting following a standoff situation in Spokane Valley Sunday morning. Police say the matter originated as a vandalism call after a man pulled into a gas station and began breaking windows in a vehicle. They later found the male to be armed and possibly suicidal, leading to a standoff at Trent and Evergreen where he was barricaded in the vehicle. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • The new alternative facts: 'Truth isn't truth'

    The new alternative facts: 'Truth isn't truth'

    Sunday, August 19 2018 6:34 PM EDT2018-08-19 22:34:34 GMT

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) - Move over, alternative facts. Now, truth isn't truth. President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani used the line Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd.  Giuliani was trying to make the case that having Trump sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller's team wouldn't accomplish much because of the he-said-she-said nature of witnesses' recollections. 

    >>

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) - Move over, alternative facts. Now, truth isn't truth. President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani used the line Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd.  Giuliani was trying to make the case that having Trump sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller's team wouldn't accomplish much because of the he-said-she-said nature of witnesses' recollections. 

    >>
  • Police: Man angry about loud music waves gun at school dance

    Police: Man angry about loud music waves gun at school dance

    Sunday, August 19 2018 6:25 PM EDT2018-08-19 22:25:20 GMT

    THATCHER, Ariz. (AP) - A 72-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of waving a gun at a high school dance in Arizona because he didn't like the loud music. Police in the small southeastern Arizona town of Thatcher say Robert Layton drove to the high school parking lot around 11:45 p.m. Friday and complained about the loud music. Witnesses say Layton pulled a 9mm handgun out of his pocket and waved it around before pulling wires to disable the music. 

    >>

    THATCHER, Ariz. (AP) - A 72-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of waving a gun at a high school dance in Arizona because he didn't like the loud music. Police in the small southeastern Arizona town of Thatcher say Robert Layton drove to the high school parking lot around 11:45 p.m. Friday and complained about the loud music. Witnesses say Layton pulled a 9mm handgun out of his pocket and waved it around before pulling wires to disable the music. 

    >>
  • Glacier wildfire forces evacuations, burns close to Sun Road

    Glacier wildfire forces evacuations, burns close to Sun Road

    Sunday, August 19 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-08-19 18:54:22 GMT

    GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. (AP) - A wildfire in northwest Montana's Glacier National Park is forcing evacuations and has burned within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Missoulian reported Sunday that the Howe Ridge fire had grown to more than 12 square miles (31 square kilometers), and shifting winds are forecast over the next day and a half.  

    >>

    GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. (AP) - A wildfire in northwest Montana's Glacier National Park is forcing evacuations and has burned within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Missoulian reported Sunday that the Howe Ridge fire had grown to more than 12 square miles (31 square kilometers), and shifting winds are forecast over the next day and a half.  

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Spokane Valley firefighters battle structure fire at apartments

    Spokane Valley firefighters battle structure fire at apartments

    Monday, August 20 2018 1:54 AM EDT2018-08-20 05:54:41 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- Spokane Valley firefighters are working to put out a fire at an apartment building on 6th Avenue. 

    Firefighters brought in extra resources because they were worried the fire could spread to nearby brush but they have been fighting it for about an hour. They tell KHQ that they have managed to keep it contained to one building, although there are multiple units inside. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- Spokane Valley firefighters are working to put out a fire at an apartment building on 6th Avenue. 

    Firefighters brought in extra resources because they were worried the fire could spread to nearby brush but they have been fighting it for about an hour. They tell KHQ that they have managed to keep it contained to one building, although there are multiple units inside. 

    >>
  • Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

    Air quality reaches hazardous levels in Spokane

    Sunday, August 19 2018 8:59 PM EDT2018-08-20 00:59:32 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Windy conditions and wildfire smoke have hit the Inland Northwest hard as air quality levels rose throughout the day, ending up in the hazardous range Sunday evening. Changes in wind direction have brought over more smoke to the area from wildfires around northern and central Washington, as well as from British Columbia. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Windy conditions and wildfire smoke have hit the Inland Northwest hard as air quality levels rose throughout the day, ending up in the hazardous range Sunday evening. Changes in wind direction have brought over more smoke to the area from wildfires around northern and central Washington, as well as from British Columbia. 

    >>
  • Local firefighter released from hospital after house fire

    Local firefighter released from hospital after house fire

    Sunday, August 19 2018 8:15 PM EDT2018-08-20 00:15:33 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A firefighter from the Spokane Fire Department was transported to a local hospital and later released after an early-morning house fire. The firefighter was treated for possible heat exhaustion and later released from the hospital. At around 3 a.m. Sunday, crews responded to the 800 block of E. Bridgeport Ave. and there were reports of smoke filling the structure. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A firefighter from the Spokane Fire Department was transported to a local hospital and later released after an early-morning house fire. The firefighter was treated for possible heat exhaustion and later released from the hospital. At around 3 a.m. Sunday, crews responded to the 800 block of E. Bridgeport Ave. and there were reports of smoke filling the structure. 

    >>