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The US imported over $600 billion of goods from Canada and Mexico in 2017.

These came to the US via truck, rail, pipeline, vessel, and air. Among these common methods for shipping goods across distances, airfreight is the most secure and reliable.

If you need to ship something quickly, air freight is your best option. But there are some things you should know when you’re choosing airfreight for the first time. 

Read on to find out what freight airlines offer and more.

What is Airfreight?

Airfreight is for rapid and safe transit across the country or internationally. It’s faster than ocean freight that can take more than a month. It also delivers goods more quickly than trucks that are susceptible to weather and unable to access the globe.

For some companies, airfreight is a critical part of the supply chain. It allows them to meet demands quickly. It also reduces the potential for loss in regard to time and temperature-sensitive products.

Airfreight Options

There are 3 options when choosing an airfreight carrier. 

Commercial Aircraft

You can send an airfreight via passenger plane. This is an economical way of shipping smaller shipments.

One problem with commercial aircraft is that it’s subject to capacity. But because most commercial flights take off more than once per day, there’s a good chance of getting your shipment out quickly.

However, more restrictions apply to freight traveling on planes carrying passengers. There are also the size and weight limits that are more limiting than other airfreight options.

Cargo Aircraft

These aircraft are specifically designed for moving freight. They can fit freight of all sizes and ship to all destinations.

Cargo aircraft aren’t subject to the same TSA restrictions as passenger plans. They’re capable of carrying large, heavy freight as well as HAZMAT and other dangerous items.

Private Airfreight

Often used for the most urgent shipping needs, private airfreight gives you the exclusive use of a plane. You can customize every aspect of your shipment.

Private airfreight typically means no transfers or stopovers. These providers off direct service to the required destination, no matter how remote.

Benefits of Private Airfreight

Why choose private airfreight over other shipping options? We’ll give you 4 reasons.


Commercial and cargo airplanes are far more inconsistent with their departure and arrival times. Passenger planes especially are often delayed for various reasons.

When you’re shipping an item that has an expiry date, private airfreight is the fastest method of moving goods. As a private air carrier, it’s not subject to the same delays as passenger planes. It provides direct service between you and your products destination.


Most items stolen in transit are taken from shipping hubs. With airfreight, your shipment remains in airports, which are far more secure.


Besides theft, shipping with airfreight results in less risk of a shipment getting lost. With direct service and no stops where your package is handled or inspected, there’s less chance of your package being lost or even damaged. 

Cost Savings

Shipping by land, sea, or cargo plane means going through customs. Every time your freight goes through customs and gets inspected, you’re subject to additional customs charges. With a private airfreight provider, you pay fewer customs fees because there are fewer stops.

Customs fees aren’t the only items that private airfreight circumvents. It also avoids carriers that require additional preparation, reduces paperwork, and saves time getting to your destinations.

Because private airfreight providers usually have smaller warehouses and inventories, those cost savings are also passed onto you.

Costs of Private Airfreight

How much your shipping costs depend on the chargeable weight of your freight.

Airfreight carriers use weight and volume to calculate rates. Your chargeable weight is based on 1 of 2 options, actual weight or volumetric weight.

Actual weight charges are based on the gross weight of your shipment. That is, exactly what your freight weighs.

You may also be charged based on the volumetric weight. Otherwise known as dimensional weight, this takes into account the length, width, and height, of the shipment. It’s an estimated weight involving the minimum density accepted by the carrier.

Delivery Options for Private Airfreight

In most cases, the faster you want your shipment delivered, the higher your costs are going to be. Although your delivery service can affect costs, it also gives you flexibility.

For urgent shipment, same-day is the fastest option but also the most expensive. Next-day air can deliver goods as early as the following business day and is a little less costly then same-day. 

While still speedy, second-day air is an affordable option for getting your shipment to its destination within two business days. The most economical option is deferred air. If your shipment isn’t time sensitive and can wait for space on an aircraft, this is the most cost-effective option. 

Tips for Choosing a Private Airfreight Provider

If you haven’t already picked your airfreight provider, here’s what you should keep in mind.

Choose Reliability Over Cost

Sometimes, carriers that cost a little bit more, offer more reliability. When you choose your carrier based on rates alone, you may be sacrificing security. And when freight gets lost or damaged as a result of poor handling, you’ll have to absorb those unexpected and often large costs.

Do Your Research

If your cost seems too good to be true – look into it further. Ensure there are no hidden costs or fees in your quote.

Don’t rely on just one quote. Compare quotes across providers. Do this well in advance of any urgent needs so you’re prepared when the time comes.

Need to Ship Urgently?

When time is of the essence, airfreight is the only way to ship your products. You can be sure that your shipment will arrive faster than it would via any other method. And if you ship with a private airfreight provider, you have the added benefits of security and direct to destination cost-savings.

The next time you need to ship something without delays, contact us for a quote.