What Does Operational Delay Mean FedEx? (Full Guide)

On a daily basis, FedEx delivers 12 million packages. Of these, 85% are delivered on time. While that’s certainly an impressive number given the sheer volume of packages, it also means that 15% get delayed somewhere along the way.

One reason for these delays is something called an operational delay. By reading this article, you’ll learn what this term means, why delays happen, and when you can expect to receive your package!

What Does Operational Delay Mean FedEx In 2024?

An operational delay is a general term FedEx uses to describe a halt in your package’s delivery as of 2024. A number of different situations can cause such delays: weather, a customs hold, or a labor strike are just a few of the reasons you may see “operational delay” on your tracking information.

To learn more about operational delays and what to do about them, read the rest of this guide!

What Is A FedEx Operational Delay?

Seeing “operational delay” on your FedEx tracking information indicates that your package has gotten held up somewhere in its shipping journey.

That said, operational delays can happen at the origin facility, throughout the routing hubs, or at the destination facility.

In some cases, an operational delay could be FedEx’s fault. In others, it may be an event outside of their control.

Regardless of the situation, an operational delay is a problem within FedEx’s delivery infrastructure, and it is never the fault of the sender or the receiver.

Why Do FedEx Operational Delays Happen?

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about operational delays is that it isn’t clear why they’ve happened.

Put another way, an operational delay is a very general term and could refer to many different scenarios that lead to your package getting held up.

For example, some potential causes behind an operational delay include:

  • Equipment failure (e.g., trucks needing repairs)
  • Plane unavailability
  • Port congestion (for freight shipments)
  • Staffing shortage (e.g., due to a labor strike)
  • Delay in transfer to a local courier
  • Weather

For whatever reason, even though these explanations vary widely, they’re all classified the same way by FedEx.

Where Do You See Operational Delay FedEx?

If your package is held up because of an operational delay, you’ll see this term on your tracking information.

Also, you’ll see the facility name where the package is stuck, along with the time and date of the update.

Does An Operational Delay Mean That My Package Will Be Late?

Although the term operational delay makes it seem like your package will arrive late, that’s not necessarily the case.

Indeed, your item may arrive later than scheduled, but FedEx can often make up for the lost time and deliver your package on time.

How Long Does It Take For FedEx To Resolve An Operational Delay?

How Long Does It Take For FedEx To Resolve An Operational Delay?

Unfortunately, there’s no set amount of time that it takes for FedEx to resolve an operational delay.

Further, this is especially true when the delay is caused by something outside FedEx’s control, like the weather.

That said, most operational delays are resolved within a couple of days. However, shipments (especially FedEx Ground) may get stuck for more than ten days.

Therefore, if your package has been stuck longer than that, feel free to reach out to FedEx Customer Service at 1 (800) 463-3339 for more information.

What Should You Do If You Receive An Operational Delay Tracking Update?

When you see an operational delay on your tracking information, look at the tracking details to see where the hold-up has occurred.

If nothing else, this will give you an idea of where your package is located.

For more information, it’s best to call FedEx Customer Service at 1 (800) 463-3339; they may be able to tell you more details about the cause of the delay.

Also, if your item has made it to a local FedEx depot, try giving the location a call. With that, you may be able to pick up your package directly, rather than waiting for it to be delivered.

What Happens If A FedEx Package Is Late Because Of An Operational Delay?

Suppose your package was sent through a guaranteed service like FedEx Priority Overnight or FedEx International Priority and arrived late because of an operational delay.

In that case, you may be eligible for a refund. Further, packages that arrive late due to circumstances within FedEx’s control are eligible for refunds.

Moreover, this could include things like equipment failures or plane unavailability. Additionally, if your package was late due to weather, it will likely not be eligible for a refund.

On a similar note, if your package was sent through a service without a money-back guarantee (e.g., FedEx Ground) and was delayed, you are not eligible for a refund.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether or not FedEx delivers to PO boxes, are FedEx packages insured, and does FedEx updates tracking.


FedEx’s operational delay term is very vague.

That said, it applies to a variety of different circumstances in which your package is delayed, but it also tells you nothing about when the issue will be resolved.

For those reasons, the best thing to do when seeing this term on your tracking information is to be patient and wait. In most cases, the issue will get sorted out within a couple of days.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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