In the vast majority of cases, if you chose to have your car shipped, either domestically or overseas, you will chose from a land option or via ocean freight. Not only are these the most common methods, but it simply makes the most sense from a financial perspective. You'll have a far easier time finding a quality auto transport company that ships via ocean freight or via a trailer than you would finding one that offers the air freight option. In some cases though, the air freight option should be considered.
Even thought it is VASTLY more expensive, the following reasons are why it should be considered in rare circumstances:
You Need Your Vehicle Right Away
Traditional shipping methods through ocean freight can take up to three weeks to a month to arrive. Sometimes it can be as little as two weeks, but it depends. By choosing the air freight option though, it can take just a few days to arrive at its destination. If you really happen to need your vehicle overseas, this would be perfect for you. If you don't, it really is not worth it. Remember though that if your final destination is in a hard to reach place, the car will still have to be transported from the major airport hub that's closest to that location.
It's Rare and Valuable
For some collector vehicles worth in the hundreds of thousands, some people chose to have it shopped via air freight for in order to have as much peace of mind regarding security and safety standards as possible. You should know though that auto transport companies take every possible security and safety measure imaginable to ensure that your vehicle arrives at its final destination the same way that it was picked up through ocean freight and/or ground transportation.
Things to Be Aware Of
Just like with ocean freight or ground transportation, there are requirements that you should be aware of, which are:
- The vehicle has to have below 1/4 a tank of gasoline in it. There's no exceptions to this rule.
- Its battery has to be disconnected once it is on the airplane.
- There are no personal items allowed to be stored in the vehicle, including in the trunk. Everything must be cleared out.
You must make sure that you have air cargo insurance for your vehicle. It is not a legal requirement, but it is something that you should absolutely have. Otherwise, your regular car insurance in the United States will offer you zero coverage for anything that occurs during the transportation. Airlines also don't offer much protection, if any at all.
To be quite frank, air freight should only be chosen as a very last resort and if you have the disposable income to pay for it. It's extremely costly and unless you're in dire need of the vehicle right away, it doesn't make much sense to chose it. Nonetheless, for some people, air freight may seem like the best option for them.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.