Just as Uber facilitates car sharing and Airbnb enables home sharing, this service connects people who want to defray airfare costs with those who want to ship things cheaply.
You’ve probably heard of Uber and Airbnb, two of the most well-known sharing (or peer-to-peer) economy apps. But you’re probably unfamiliar with Airmule, one of the sharing economy’s newest recruits.
Airmule is a new app and express-shipping platform. It enables air travelers to sell unused space in their luggage to buyers who want a package (of legal contents) delivered without having to spend a fortune on express international shipping.
“Whether across the country or the world, Airmule connects people to safely deliver packages anytime, anywhere at low rates and in less time,” the Airmule website explains. “Airmule is the easiest way for people list their trip to earn money with their extra luggage space.”
For example, if I was flying to London and I was a light packer and had room in my suitcase to spare, someone could contact me through the Airmule app to see if I could deliver a package to London for them. The sender can then track their package on the app until it arrives at its destination.
As the Airmule, I would get paid a minimum of $4 per pound to deliver the package (though it sounds like the going rates set by mules is closer to $8 or $10 a pound).
“The power of peer-to-peer applications is astounding,” said Rory Felton, co-founder of Airmule. “You only need to look at the popularity of Uber and Airbnb to see opportunities for established industries to be turned on their heads. With Airmule, we are imagining a world in which travelers can fly anywhere for free, and senders can ship worldwide. Faster. For much less. With insurance and guarantees.”
According to Consumerist, Airmule CEO and co-founder Sean Yang is adamant that Airmule is not a courier service. He said it’s completely legal because Airmule is simply a platform that connects people.
“Airmule is actually not a shipping company, in the same way that Airbnb doesn’t provide accommodation,” Yang tells Consumerist.
“As odd as this business sounds, people get into strangers’ cars (Uber) and sleep in strangers’ homes (Airbnb). So giving someone a package to carry in the unused portion of your suitcase isn’t that strange,” TheMarketSage.com explains. “It is another example of a business that uses technology to connect buyers and sellers. In this case, the app connects a marketplace just like Dog Vacay and dozens of other businesses.”
Airmule encourages travelers to carefully inspect items before agreeing to deliver them.
Although Airmule sounds pretty unusual, it’s hardly the weirdest member of the sharing economy (check out Nookzy, a peer-to-peer platform where you can rent out your backyard or other outdoor space).
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