Translogistics Blog

TLI University: Air Expedite 101

July 10, 2018

Written By: Translogistics

TLI University Logo horiz CMYKiStock-681169358

Welcome to TLI University!

With more than 20 years in the industry we thought it was time to pass along some of the knowledge that helped us get to where we are today. This is a weekly publication aimed to educate anyone who is curious about transportation and shipping.

This week moves onto Air Expedite, defining what it is and what it requires.


What is Air Expedite?

  • Sometimes a ground expedite or Guaranteed LTL is not even fast enough to meet the customer’s need for their product – at this point, Air Expedite is an alternative to be explored
  • From an operational standpoint, a truck which is usually contracted by an air freight company to make pick-ups and deliveries between shippers, consignees and the airports, will make a pick-up at the shipper’s dock and take it to the airport to fly to an airport in another city and an awaiting truck that will take the product to its ultimate delivery location – in some cases, the product will make transfers at other airports, much like a passenger would
  • Airport Expedites have varying service levels based on the speed of delivery as follows from slowest to fastest:
    • Economy Service – will deliver in 3-5 business days after pick-up is made – this service is rarely used due to LTL companies becoming so efficient that they can make deliveries nationwide in this timeframe for no additional cost
    • 2nd Day– will deliver 2 days after pick-up is made – service is usually guaranteed to deliver by 5:00PM
    • 2nd Day AM – will deliver 2 days after pick-up is made – service is usually guaranteed to deliver by noon
    • Next Day – will deliver the day after pick-up is made – service is usually guaranteed to deliver by 5:00PM
    • Next Day AM – will deliver the day after pick-up is made – service is usually guaranteed to deliver by noon
    • First Flight Out – these shipments will go directly to the airport, get on the first available flight to the delivering airport and then deliver to the consignee as soon as possible – they can deliver early the next morning or on the same day in some cases
    • Charter Aircraft – this is the most expensive of all Air Expedite options – this service entails renting an entire exclusive use charter aircraft – varying sizes of aircraft are available for contract depending on the size of the shipment
  • Some examples of Air Expedite carriers that TLI uses is AIT, DBA, Pilot Air Freight and Chapman Freeborn


How are Air Expedite Shipments Priced?

  • Air Expedite shipments are priced by a certain amount per pound based on the level of service selected
  • The rate per pound rises as the service level becomes faster in terms of transit days – Economy Service would be the lowest price per pound and First Flight Out would be the highest price per pound
  • Charter Aircraft is based on spot rates only and based on availability and size of jet needed – these charters can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars
  • As LTL uses freight class to compensate carriers for low density freight, the airlines use a similar tool called Dimensional Weight. Space on an aircraft is very valuable, so the airline cannot price air freight on a strictly “per pound” basis – it must take the cubic volume of the shipment in mind as well
  • Dimensional Weight is determined by multiplying the shipment length (in inches) x the shipment width (in inches) and the shipment height (in inches) and divide by a factor of 194 – the shipment will move as the resultant weight of this formula or the actual weight, whichever is higher
  • For example, suppose we have a shipment that is 48” x 40” x 24” pallet that weighs 232 pounds – 48x40x24 = 46,080 cubic inches – we divide that by the factor of 194 to arrive at a resultant weight of 237 pounds – since the resultant weight is higher than the actual weight of 232 pounds, the shipment would be priced considering a weight of 237 pounds dimensional weight
  • For international shipments, including shipping from and to Puerto Rico, the Dimensional Weight factor is adjusted to 166. In the example above, if this shipment shipped internationally, we would divide the 46,080 cubic inches by 166, which would provide a resultant weight of 278 pounds , which is again higher than the actual weight of 232 pounds

What information is needed when booking a Air Expedite shipment?

  • Origin (Shipper) City, State and Zip Code
  • Destination (Consignee) City, State and Zip Code
  • Shipping Date and Time – When is the specific time or “window” that the shipment is to be picked up by the carrier?
    • Note – As is the nature of this service, lead time is not an issue for Air Expedite carriers – they can be called for service and arrive at the shipper’s location within hours
    • Note – Appointments may or may not be required for Air Expedite shipments – Customers can often be desperate at the point when a Air Expedite carrier is needed, and may be willing to be flexible with their appointment times or extend their shipping hours to accommodate the carrier
  • Delivery Date and Time – When is the specific time or “window” that the shipment is to be delivered by the carrier?
    • Note – Specific appointment times may or may not be required with Air Expedite shipments. As mentioned above, customers may be flexible when an expedited carrier is being used
  • Number and Types of Pieces Shipping – How many pallets, bundles, cartons or pieces are shipping?
  • Weight and Size of the Shipment – How much does the total shipment weigh? What is the size of the shipment? As mentioned, the cost of an air expedite shipment is dependent on both the weight of the shipment AND the size of the shipment – it is also VERY important to check with the air freight provider to ensure that the shipments falls within the size restrictions of the aircraft that will be being used
  • Commodity of Shipment – What product(s) does the shipment consist of? The Air Expedite carriers will only be concerned with the commodity – they are generally not concerned with the National Motor Freight Classification of the commodity – they will also need to know if any part of the shipment contains Hazardous Material or not, as these products require special handling and consideration by the airlines
  • Purchase Order and / or Other Reference Number – what is the customer’s Purchase Order Number? What paperwork do they need it listed on? Is there any other reference number that the customer would like included on their paperwork?
  • Value of Shipment – Is the product high value? Is additional cargo insurance required? Additional cargo insurance can generally be purchased at a quoted rate by the carrier – Air Expedite carriers will only provide a certain amount of cargo liability insurance on a “per pound” basis, generally $0.50 per pound – additional insurance can always be purchased for a certain rate “per pound



Stay tuned for more information on transportation modes! 


Information about the Author:

Learn more about Translogistics, Inc


Share This Blog

Categories: TLIUniversity

About Our Blog

For the latest insights, tips and commentary surrounding the logistics industry, look no further.  Shippers will find thoughts from the award-winning team at Translogistics covering everything related to your transportation processes and plans.  If you have a question we are readily available at