Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shipping with Johnny Air

Lilo's Halloween party outfit generated so much excitement, I totally forgot to blog about my receiving my recent eBay+KnitPicks orders! Yes, it's Christmas again, this time in October. I think I started celebrating Christmas way back in July, but that makes for a happier Gravelcat.

Johnny Air Cargo played Santa this time, not Philpost. My previous eBay order of bamboo circular needles did arrive on time, via USPS-Philpost (30 days shipping). I paid PhP 35 processing fee, which is correct. I figured nobody there would be interested in what looked like barbecue sticks stuck together with a nylon cord. While I was relieved at receiving my items, I still can't shake my mistrust of Philpost, and continue to dread missing items, having to deal with "creative taxation" or seeing "received partly torn" notices on my envelopes. I know current Postmaster General Hector R. R. Villanueva is trying to do something about public perception of Philpost's service, but I am not about to tempt fate yet, seeing how close we are getting to Christmas, financial crisis and all. Desperation and corruption go hand in hand.

Several years ago Johnny Air came to my attention via They offered safe US-Philippines shipping for dvds. While I wasn't that much of a big dvd buyer, I filed it away in my head. I came across them again this year, when I heard from my friend ECT that she had bought a Nikon D40 and had it shipped quickly and safely via Johnny Air. She picked it up in their Megamall branch.

Of course the cheapest way to send to the Philippines will always be the relatives' balikbayan box -- IF you have the patience to wait till December or January. For people who have a choice, Johnny Air's "Shop Online Service" is great. It's safe. It's fast. It's reliable.

I blog about this because I'm a satisfied customer, and you might need the information one day. (I also don't want to impose upon my relatives too much, because I love them, and their plates are full in these trying times.)

Let's say you want to buy something from eBay (vendor A) and something from (vendor B). offers free shipping for your item within the US. I mean, you wouldn't want to waste the savings if you could combine shipping, right?

1) You write an email to Analyn Diego at to advise her that you plan to buy items from vendors A and B. You let her know to combine these packages into one shipment, which must fulfill the minimum 2-lb requirement.

2) You shop online. Under shipping info you write:

ATTN: Analyn Diego/Client's Name (this means YOU)
Johnny Air SOL
6904 Roosevelt Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
Tel. (718) 672-7080, (917) 332-7806

3) You email Analyn Diego again, with your shipping details.

Order #
Tracking #

Specify whether you want to claim it at JAC Makati or JAC Megamall. Provide your contact details so they can notify you when you can pick them up.

4) Shipping is by volume weight. As of my order it was USD 7.50 per lb + USD 5.00 handling fee. For further inquiries you can call JAC Customer Service at 631-7101, 638-8512 or 0917-8100306.

I see in the USPS international postage calculator that it would have cost me at least USD 29.93 for 6-10 days' Priority Mail shipping. What third party would bother to combine packages for me? And even then, I wouldn't even be sure whether I'd get it via Philpost or if I'd be charged extra fees.

In my case, I ordered my items on October 14, and received them October 24 from JAC Megamall. I paid USD 27.50 for 3 lbs. I showed the very nice folks my ID, and within a minute I got my box! And yes, they smile, too. Nowadays perhaps we don't count on people to smile a lot, but when they do, it really makes my day.

Now remember, it only works if that price and service are acceptable to you. If you are able to find a similar service that is also as reliable, let's hear about it!


gene + experiments said...

Wow! This is so informative. I never thought that cheaper shipping alternative from US is available for us to enjoy. I made some transactions in PinoyDVD but preferred to buy it directly from one of the sellers there.

Now, I'm looking at Knitpicks site and drooling over those CotLin yarns! I can't wait for next year! *excited*

By the way, for the bamboo needles from ebay, what's the weight for 14pcs 32" circular needles? I can't find those sets that come US 0 so I guess I'll have to buy that somewhere else but still, I can take advantage of the FREE shipping options from online stores in US, yay! You are indeed an angel in disguise!

The Gravelcat said...

I think 30 pcs bamboo needles from eBayer "premiumyarn" were about 10-12 oz? But if that's all you are interested in, and your local post office is reliable, you can pay a minimal intl postage fee and wait 30 days. It will come in a padded envelope.

Johnny Air shipping would be good if you needed to pool purchases into one package with a volume weight of at least 2lbs and want your stuff as in yesterday :) This is when free shipping "within contiguous US states" offers are much appreciated.

About FREE shipping... some eBay vendors like premiumyarn do offer free shipping with items at "Buy Now" price (which isn't too far from bid prices, so they're ok if you know what you want to pay already without having to undergo the stress of bidding). Some online sites such as require a minimum purchase of USD50. offers free shipping with certain books. Don't forget or, they have really great items too.

It took me months to figure out what I wanted from different sites before I actually bought anything. It doesn't hurt to plan these things :)

The Gravelcat said...

The carbonized bamboo sets have some size 0s. They are harder, so probably less likely to bend.

gene + experiments said...

I am actually choosing between those two sellers you recommended. One sells bleached and the other sells carbonized for $10 more. Gosh, if only I can buy the needles and the yarns all at once!

Mimi said...

Wow, thanks! All these info is very helpful. Makes me want to shop online - but first, makes me wish I have shopping money :p
I will keep JAC in mind. But if I am patient and on a budget, I can still trust Philpost. So far, it has worked for me and my swappees abroad and my sister in U.K., for the past 3 years. But I only trust the Q.C. Central P.O.

The Gravelcat said...

I did get my stuff from the Pasig City Post Office, but I have to make sure that the items aren't very valuable or considered "commercial quantity". Like, ok lang the bamboo needles kasi they wouldn't be interested in those. But Addi Turbos... I had to have them shipped to my auntie's house in California. Worked out cheaper for me.

That's why I don't shop online after October 15. Anything close to Christmas is postal hell.

Ben C. said...

My package was supposed to be shipped door to door (origin: China; content: sample toys that i wanted to check out). It was just a medium box. Never delivered to my doorstep. Instead, it was held at the post office near the domestic airport.

I was to pay taxes and they hinted that I could override this with some "creative taxes" but I insisted on paying full (which was almost near the cost of the sample toys I bought from China).

Result? Silent frustration with the postal system. I've always maintained that that one reason we can't boost entrepreneurship here is the lousy postal system we have.

Bugs_and_Berries said...

wow.. this is very informative....
i think im gonna have to make use of it as well.. since im buying some books online.. which i sent over to my sister... and just like you.. i have know others who have terrible experiences from Phil Post.... thanks for sharing