Hi all, I have now had it confirmed by the Royal mail that if you stick a "airmail" stamp on a letter then it will take immeasurably longer to get here. I asked why not tell people that sticking an air mail stamp on a letter to France (and possibly to Belgium and Luxembourg as well) will condemn the letter to second class and the reply is attached:-
I can confirm that Royal Mail do utilise the Eurotunnel train services when sending items to mainland europe by surface mail. In addition to this, item that travel by air have to go thoug more stringent security checks at Heathrow that are put in place by the Civil Aviation Authority, and must then be scheduled onto the next available mail carrying flight, where they are then flown to Paris and pass through security again before being despatched out for delivery. This ultimately could result in items taking longer by air than by land to France.
Unfortunately though, Royal Mail's delivery aims are based on regions of the world and not specific countries. This means that delivery could take place before or after the delivery aim based on the reliability of the postal service the item is being sent to, whether customs checks are required and the distance from the UK.
Unfortunately, we currently have no plans in place to make any amendments to the advertised delivery aims and we apologise for the inconveneince this causes you.
If someone can give me a translation of the center bit that would be nice. However from what I understand from it(!) they just see an air mail stamp and send it to the Heathrow sorting place. As there is no air mail to France it could go anywhere and then sent back to France.
To sum up tell all that the air mail stamp is NOT to be used for France Belgium, and Luxembourg, in fact that may be true also for other places like Germany. Note also the various spelling mistakes in the email. Frankly this is just a cop out for poor service, why the heck cannot they tell councils who sent out our voting forms by air mail, banks etc NOT to use air mail stickers.