UPS Delivery Vehicle

(UPS Meaning + What To Do) Due To Operating Conditions, Your Package May Be Delayed

Is UPS tracking stating a message that your package may be delayed, due to “operating conditions?”

To make matters worse, sometimes the estimated delivery date can no longer be viewed either! So, what gives?

Although this message doesn’t really give you a whole lot of information to work with, the meaning behind it is actually quite simple.

So, in this article, I’ll cover what these ‘operating conditions’ actually are, how long your package may be delayed, and what you should do next!

What Does It Mean When UPS Tracking Says, ‘Due To Operating Conditions, Your Package May Be Delayed?’

UPS Delivery Vehicle

When you get the ‘Due to operating conditions, your package may be delayed’ message on UPS tracking, this means that something on UPS’ end has caused a delay – it’s nothing you or the shipper did.

I know that definition is very vague, so here are some of the most common scenarios that result in an operating conditions delay:

  • Weather has caused an unforeseen slowdown at some point during the package’s transit, and they can no longer hit the original delivery day.
  • UPS is over capacity, and can’t keep up with the amount of packages being sent. This is most common in November and December, as well as near other major shipping spikes (such as Mother’s or Father’s Day.)
  • A UPS truck carrying packages broke down, or was otherwise delayed in reaching the UPS location it was supposed to deliver to.
  • Your package was routed to the wrong place, or got on the wrong truck / plane by mistake.
  • Strikes, staff shortages, or processing issues at one of UPS’ facilities.
  • Any other issue on UPS’ end, that they don’t have a separate error code for.

This makes the operating conditions message sort of a ‘catch-all’ message, when they don’t have anything more specific to share.

Of course, sometimes they don’t even know the exact issue, they just know that the package is falling behind vs. where it was expected to be at this point in its journey.

Why Is There No Estimated Delivery Date?

To make matters even worse, often times this message is accompanied by the estimated delivery date being removed.

So, why is this the case?

The truth is, UPS prides themselves on accuracy when it comes to their tracking, and estimated delivery dates. And for the most part, they do a great job at ensuring these estimates are accurate!

However, when unexpected issues pop up, they are no longer able to accurately predict when the package will arrive until the underlying issue is resolved.

For example, let’s say that a truck carrying UPS packages broke down. At this point, their software has no way to know when they can expect the packages to make it to wherever they were going.

Once your package returns to some degree of normalcy, you may see a new estimated delivery date appear on your UPS tracking page.

Of course, this date will be later than the original estimate due to the delay. However, it can still be useful to know when you can expect it to arrive, so continue checking the tracking page periodically!

Does This Mean My Package Is Lost? How Long Will It Be Delayed?

Some people worry that when they receive a message stating that their UPS package was delayed due to operating conditions, that this actually means that the package was lost.

But is there any truth to this?

Thankfully, the answer is usually no. UPS is exceptionally good at locating packages, even when things go out of the ordinary. And of course, this message does not indicate at all that the package is lost in any capacity.

So, you should still expect the package to arrive, even though there will be a delay.

As for how long that delay is, usually it’s quite short – 1-2 additional days.

However, since the message is so vague, and there isn’t any way to know exactly what caused it, it can be impossible to know for sure.

In severe cases – such as severe weather storms during peak shipping seasons, delays can end up significantly longer. We’re talking 1-2 weeks!

Thankfully, this is rare, and most delays only last a couple extra days at most.

So, What Should I Do Now?

Now that you understand why UPS would delay your package due to operating conditions, what now?

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to speed up the process, and you’ll simply have to wait and monitor your tracking page for updates.

However, you may be able to get reimbursed if the package is significantly delayed!

Unfortunately, UPS does not reimburse the party receiving the packages. However, if you ordered an item online that had a delivery guarantee, you may be able to request a reimbursement from them if the package doesn’t arrive by the promised date.

Amazon for example may allow you to get reimbursed for late packages, in some scenarios.

Likewise, if you paid for expedited shipping fees, many companies will reimburse this extra fee if the package is delayed – even if it’s at no fault of their own.

So, it’s worth potentially contacting the shipper, and seeing what your options are regarding reimbursements or refunds!


Although it’s unfortunate that your package has been delayed, most delays due to operating conditions are resolved quickly.

While UPS’ tracking message doesn’t give you a whole lot of insight as to what’s going on, they will continue to post updates as your package moves throughout their network. So, be sure to check your tracking page often to see if any new delivery estimates appear.

I hope that this article has answered all of your questions. If you have any other questions about UPS, ask them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *