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What is Air Freight?

Martha Lott

Written by

2nd Aug 2017 (Last updated on 7th Feb 2024) 4 minute read

Moving abroad is an exciting prospect, but it takes a lot of organisation and preparation. One of the big decisions you will need to make is how you want to transport goods. The fastest and most efficient mode of transport is air freight.

However, you need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages so you can have peace of mind when you make your choice.

In this guide, Compare My Move takes you through everything you need to know. You’ll be able to determine whether it is the best option for you.

  1. What Is Air Freight?
  2. Why Use Air Freight?
  3. Air Freight Logistics
  4. Air Freight Times
  5. Other Costs to Consider
  6. Finding an International Removal Company
Air Freight Costs

Here is the table with the average air freight costs per 100kg and the transit times:

CountryCost Estimate per 100kgTransit Time
3-10 days
Same day
1-3 days
1-2 days
New Zealand
7-10 days
1-2 days
1-2 days
South Africa
1-3 days
Same day
1-2 days
8-10 days

This data was collected from DFS Worldwide, MoveHub, Cargo Force, and Freightos.

What Is Air Freight?

Air freight is the carriage of goods by aircraft. Your goods will be stored on an air carrier and can be flown to any destination around the world. This makes it ideal for all international moves. As with all modes of transport, there are advantages and disadvantages that you should learn about.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages to bear in mind:

Advantages of air freight

  • Air freight is a lot faster compared to road and ocean freight
  • It is accessible to destinations all over the world
  • Reduced risk of loss or damage compared to other freight services

Disadvantages of air freight

  • Air freight services are the most expensive with some options being ten times more costly than sea freight

Why Use Air Freight?

Air freight is so popular because of the speed. For those embarking on a last-minute move or those who can afford to have the most efficient service, it is the ideal choice for shipping goods. It is calculated by weight rather than a flat rate, meaning that it can be extremely expensive. For those who are shipping large or heavy goods such as automobiles, ocean freight may be the best option for you.

However, shipping goods in air cargo is an extremely secure method and can be cost-effective for smaller moves such as student movers.

Air Freight Logistics

Air freight goods must be professionally packed. This is a security regulation as ‘owner-packed’ items are not allowed on the flight. This means you will need to pay for packing services. This is when your removal company will package your goods securely using professional supplies.

Your goods will then be arranged into robust cartons which are grouped onto a large pallet to keep the items together for easier handling. The consignment will then be wrapped in waterproof material and secured using bands and tape. Your freight shipment will then be labelled with your name and destination on the outside.

The consignment is subject to an X-Ray scan before being loaded onto the aircraft. It will then be scanned after landing along with further security checks and customs.

Air Freight Times

The amount of time that your shipment of goods takes depends on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Your destination
  • How many goods are being shipped
  • Whether you are receiving a door to door service

Flights can take as little as a day for closer destinations such as France and Spain. However, it can take 2 weeks if you are travelling further afield or face delays. This is still much quicker than ocean and road freight.

Other Costs to Consider

There are other costs you should consider before deciding to fly your goods across the world. This is because these costs can add a lot to your budget, so it's important to set some money aside just in case. Here are some additional costs you may want to think about:

  1. Packing services: Packing services are compulsory when flying your goods as your belongings will need to be securely packaged. When you hire your removal company, let them know that your goods will be flown. They should be able to offer a packing service that uses the correct materials and supplies. The average cost of packing services is £250.
  2. International removals insurance: Another essential cost you will need to think about is international removals insurance. While air freight is the safest mode of transport, there is still a chance of loss or delay. Therefore, insuring your goods means that you are financially covered.
  3. Door to door service: If you live in a rural area or are moving to an area that is nowhere near an airport, you may want to hire a door to door service. This means that your removal company will transport your goods to and from the airport. This will make your moving experience easier and smoother.

Finding an International Removal Company

At Compare My Move, we have a network of international removal partners who are ready to assist you with your air freight move. Receive a quote today and save up to 70% off your removal costs. Bon, voyage!

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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