Ins and Outs of Air Freight Shipping


The pace of the modern world makes us do everything faster. In the world of freight shipping, the rate has doubled. The higher delivery speed expectations are, the more companies strive to provide next-day shipping. People rely on the arrivals of shipments around the globe, and everybody wants their items as soon as possible. Air freight shipping is one of the most realistic and safe ways to achieve such a quick transit time.

What is air freight?

Air freight is the shipment of goods via air carrier. The types of planes range from charter to commercial. Air freight is the ideal solution to move your freight around the world quickly and safely, but it can be more costly than other modes of transportation. This mode of transportation is crucial in ensuring an efficient supply chain. Air shipping commonly transports items like consumer packaged goods (CPG), apparel, medical supplies, equipment, and many other goods.

What are the types of air freight shipping?

Almost everything can reach its destination by plane: documents, parcels, animals, cars, and more. Air freight moves large volumes of heavy cargo every day. In 2021, commercial airlines carried just over 66 million metric tons of freight worldwide. This year, commercial airlines have expectations to exceed that number. Depending on your budget and cargo, various air freight options are available.

Air parcel (moved on passenger lines)

Shipping cargo on passenger planes is a common practice among airline companies. In most cases, commercial planes handle small shipments and parcels. An average passenger plane can move a freight volume of 2 semi-trailer trucks, apart from the passengers on board.

Dedicated air cargo planes

A cargo aircraft is the most popular way to ship freight across the sky. Each plane is built to maximize space for freight handling and comes in different sizes. The largest cargo airplane can move up to 26,000 cubic feet of large, heavy, and hazardous freight.

Air charter for urgent shipments

When using charter aircraft, you can be confident that your freight will meet the required deadline and will have no transit stops. It’s dedicated to your needs and is much more expensive than other options. The most common industries that use charter aircraft are mining and energy, film and entertainment, pharmaceutical and medical, and other sectors with urgent shipments.

How does air freight work?

Depending on your air freight carrier, there can be different ways of arranging air shipping. However, the general scheme looks like this:

  1. Choose your shipping provider.
  1. An air carrier or a third-party logistics provider registers your shipments and arranges freight pick-up from the facility or warehouse.
  1. Your freight is loaded, taken to the airline, and then loaded on the plane.
  1. After it arrives, another carrier picks up your shipment from the airline and takes it to the destination.

Benefits of Air Freight Shipping


Shipping speed is the most compelling advantage of air shipping. If you need your freight to arrive the next day in another part of the globe, it gets achieved only through air freight shipping. Besides exclusive delivery speed, air shipping offers shipment safety, large service areas, and fewer disruptions.

Long-distance shipping

When using air shipping, there are an extensive number of airlines that serve many locations. The locations include domestic and international. Distance isn’t an issue with air shipping because planes can travel anywhere.

Delivery options

Air freight shipping has multiple delivery options. You can choose how fast your freight gets delivered from the choices below.


  • Same-day delivery: This option is the fastest way to ship your goods. This option is for you if you want your goods delivered on the same day they fly out. Even though this service costs more, your items arrive faster.
  • Next-day delivery: For the second-fastest option, your freight arrives at its destination by the end of the following business day. It is the second-most-expensive option for shipping your items via air transport.
  • Second-day delivery: Your shipment arrives by the second business day and balances speed and cost.
  • Deferred delivery: The best option for cargo that can wait for more room on the airplane. It gets shipped out whenever possible and is the most economical shipping option.


  • Deferred delivery: Freight usually arrives at its destination within 3-5 business days and is the standard option for international deliveries.
  • Express delivery: This is the most expensive option for international shipping, but it gets your items shipped and delivered in 2-3 business days.

Air freight shipping drawbacks

High cost

On the contrary, the price of air shipping is a considerable concern when choosing this option for freight transportation. You must pay for the services accordingly if you want speedy and safe delivery. Parcel shipping on passenger planes is the cheapest among other aircraft freight moving options, while the charter is the most expensive.

Weather conditions

The weather is something people can’t control. Because of this, air shipments sometimes must be canceled if they can’t fly in certain weather conditions. The delays lead to your goods being late and slow down the supply chain.

Shipping restrictions

Airplanes have some restrictions on the types of goods they can transport. Some examples of these items include explosives of any kind, gases, flammables, and toxic items. You’ll have to find another shipping mode if your company wants to ship these items.

Ultimately, air freight shipping is a very beneficial shipping option if your budget isn’t tight. It offers secure, fast delivery and covers a wide range of services.

PLS and air freight shipping

Are you looking for overnight or domestic shipping? PLS Logistics Services can help you! Check out our website to get a quote with us for your following air shipping process.

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