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Air Freight ~ Simplified

Mar 11, 2018

Of all the freight shipping methods, air freight is definitely the fastest. It is an excellent solution for manufacturers who need a critical replacement part to get their assembly line back up and running quickly. Pharmaceutical companies ship temperature-sensitive immunizations across the world via air freight and high-value, high-demand electronic manufacturers use it to meet global retail requirements. If you’ve selected air as your shipping mode, here’s more information about air freight transportation to help you get started. 

Air Freight - American Group.jpgAir freight advantages

Air freight is faster than other modes for moving shipments across country and internationally.  Beyond that there are several more advantages you may not have considered.

  • Reliable - Due to TSA requirements, air freight is highly secure, reducing the risk of theft. Many air shipments travel on one plane, from point of origin to destination, minimizing the amount of handling and the chances of damages. Plus, delivery times are highly predictable because delays are typically no more than a day.
  • Minimal inventory & warehousing – Air shippers tend to keep smaller inventories. This means that they have less capital tied up in goods and less warehousing expenses.
  • Less packaging – Less heavy packaging is required for air freight than by other shipping means. This saves on both time and packaging costs.
  • Easy to track – Many air cargo companies offer applications that facilitate the monitoring of freight status.

Air freight options

There are three main air freight options. They include next flight out, consolidated, and deferred. One additional option is air charter. This less common option involves the use of an exclusive aircraft to accommodate unique capacity, scheduling, and other special requirements.

  • Next flight out is often referred to as expedited. It is the fastest air cargo shipping method. This is often used at the last minute, to meet tight timelines, and is usually the most costly option.
  • Consolidated air shipments allows you to combine your air freight with that of other shippers in advance. This option moves on a set schedule and often results in better rates.
  • Deferred air cargo is lower priority and typically ships on the third, fourth, or fifth business day. Due to the longer transit times, this is often the most economical air freight option.


Costs are calculated by using dimensional parameters. Beyond these basic charges, air freight costs usually include fuel surcharges, security surcharges, container freight station/terminal handling charges, and airport transfers. For door-to-door services there are additional costs for customs brokerage, pickup and delivery, cargo insurance, and accessorial fees. 

Tips for improved efficiency and reduce costs

We’re all looking for ways to contain costs and increase efficiency. Here are a few ways to do so when shipping air freight:

  • Pack perishable cargo properly to minimize loss and clearly identify the commodity in the package.
  • Know airline regulations before packing your shipment – Packing requirements vary by airline, so be sure to check with your carrier or freight partner before preparing your shipment. For example, dry ice is classified as a dangerous substance and cannot be used in air freight packaging. Wet ice is also prohibited and some airlines recommend gel-packs.
  • To avoid issues in customs, be sure that your paperwork is complete and accurate.
  • Routing your shipment through major airport hubs may help lower your air freight rates.
  • Check with your airline or your logistics partner before packaging so you’re aware of your air carrier’s maximum-sized dimensions to help minimize shipping costs.

Now you should be ready for your first air freight shipment. Still need assistance? American Group is here to help.

American Group is a 3PL with decades of experience guiding businesses through the selection, preparation, and shipping of their freight. Contact us for assistance with your next shipment by phone at 866-553-6608 or by email at We’re here to make Shipping.Simplified®.


Photo attribution: Copyright: <a href=''>navintar / 123RF Stock Photo</a>