What Is Air Parcel Shipping? Explore its Method and Benefits

Picture a plane flying while someone counts packages on the ground. That's what is air parcel shipping.
what is air parcel shipping

In today’s fast-paced world, air shipping plays a crucial role in swiftly transporting goods across the globe. However, within air transport, air parcel shipping is a specific method. What is air parcel shipping method, and why does it hold such immense importance? 

This article delves into the intricacies of air parcel shipping, shedding light on its operational processes, advantages, and significance in global logistics. From its rapid delivery times to its reliability in handling time-sensitive goods, air parcel shipping emerges as a cornerstone of modern supply chains, facilitating seamless trade and commerce on a global scale.

What is Air Parcel Shipping?

Air parcel shipping is an air freight service specifically designed for transporting packages (versus large quantities of goods) by aeroplane. It’s a popular choice for businesses and individuals who need to send items quickly and efficiently over long distances.

If we talk specifically about Air parcel definition then It falls under the broader umbrella of air shipping, which encompasses any goods transported by air, but focuses on smaller packages and prioritizes speed and convenience.

Air parcel examples include

  • Documents and important papers
  • E-commerce orders (clothing, electronics, etc.)
  • Gifts and personal belongings

How Does Air Parcel Shipping Work?

Air parcel shipping follows a well-defined process, ensuring your package gets delivered quickly and securely. 

  1. Preparation and Booking: You start by packaging your item securely and following the carrier’s size and weight restrictions. Then, you’ll book your shipment online, at a courier outlet, or through a third-party shipping service. During booking, you’ll choose your desired speed (overnight, express, etc.) and any additional services (tracking, insurance). 
  2. Collection and Sorting: Once booked, a courier will pick up your parcel from your chosen location (your home, office, or a drop-off point). The package is then transported to a sorting facility, where it’s scanned, weighed, and categorized based on its destination and chosen service. 
  3. Air Transportation: Parcels are consolidated with others going to similar destinations to maximize space and efficiency. This consolidated shipment is then loaded onto a cargo plane for its flight to the destination airport. 
  4. Customs Clearance (International Shipments): For international shipments, the parcels may undergo customs clearance procedures at the destination country. This might involve inspections and additional documentation depending on the item’s value and content. 
  5. Delivery: Upon arrival at the destination airport, your parcel goes through another sorting facility and is prepped for final delivery. A local courier service then takes over, delivering your package directly to the recipient’s address.

What are the Advantages of Air Shipping?

Is air parcel shipping good? Well, every method has its pros and cons, however, we will highlight some of the key advantages of air shipping. Air shipping boasts several advantages that make it a valuable option for businesses and individuals alike. Here are some of the key benefits.

  • Speed: Air transport is by far the fastest method of shipping, often delivering cargo within 24-48 hours internationally. This is crucial for time-sensitive items like perishables, pharmaceuticals, and high-value goods. 
  • Global Reach: Unlike ocean freight that’s limited by water routes, aeroplanes can reach almost any location on the planet, as long as there’s an airport. This opens doors for businesses to access new international markets quickly and efficiently. 
  • Security: Airports have strict security measures in place to protect cargo from theft or tampering. This provides peace of mind for businesses shipping valuable goods. Additionally, air parcel shipping offers superior tracking capabilities, allowing for greater control over your shipment’s whereabouts. 
  • Reduced Risk of Damage: Air travel is generally smoother and faster than ocean or road transportation, leading to a lower likelihood of damage or spoilage during transit. This can be a significant advantage for delicate or perishable items. 
  • Improved Inventory Management: With faster delivery times, businesses can maintain leaner inventory levels, even adopting just-in-time inventory practices. This reduces storage costs and improves cash flow. 
  • Potential Cost Savings: While generally more expensive than ocean freight air parcel shipping cost can sometimes lead to overall cost savings. Faster delivery times can mean lower insurance premiums, reduced warehousing needs, and the ability to meet tighter deadlines.

Air parcel shipping is a cost-effective method for international parcel shipping. It’s a popular choice for individuals and businesses who need to ship parcel to China, shipping  parcel to South Africa, or send items to any other international location quickly and efficiently.

Air Parcel Shipping vs. Other Shipping Methods

You might already guess what Air Parcel shipping is? But can you differentiate air parcel vs ems or do you know how it’s different from surface shipping? shipping falls between EMS (Express Mail Service) and surface parcel on the spectrum of speed and cost.

Air Parcel vs. EMS

EMS is a global postal service offered by postal operators worldwide. It provides express shipping for documents and merchandise.But the point of concern is that  is air parcel cheaper than EMS? In terms of cost, EMS can sometimes be more cost-effective than traditional air parcel shipping, especially for smaller packages. However, EMS may have limitations on package size and weight compared to dedicated air freight services. Air parcel shipping tends to be faster and more reliable than EMS, particularly for urgent or time-sensitive shipments.

Air Parcel vs. Surface Parcel Shipping

Do you have any idea what is the difference between air parcel and surface parcel? Well, surface parcel shipping refers to shipping methods that utilize surface transportation, such as trucks or ships, instead of air transport. Surface shipping is generally slower and less expensive than air shipping, but it’s suitable for non-urgent shipments or goods that are not time-sensitive.

Lifti App

Although air parcel shipping is costly, it is a great option for sending parcels internationally, consider utilizing Lifti, a unique peer-to-peer luggage-sharing platform for secure and highly affordable service. With Lifti, you can list your unused luggage space and connect with travellers who need to send packages internationally. This innovative platform offers a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional shipping methods, potentially reducing shipping costs and environmental impact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Air Small packet shipping?

Air small packet shipping refers to the method of transporting small parcels or packages weighing less than 2 kilograms via air freight services. These packages are commonly used for mailing items that cannot be sent as regular letters due to their size or weight. It’s an efficient way to send lightweight items domestically or internationally, offering faster delivery compared to surface shipping methods.

How do I check my air shipment status?

You can check the status of your air shipment by using the tracking number provided by the shipping carrier. Most carriers have online tracking systems accessible through their websites or mobile apps. Simply enter your tracking number into the designated tracking tool to view the current status and location of your shipment.

How is Air shipping calculated?

In air shipping, costs are determined by your package’s volumetric weight or its actual weight, whichever is higher. This ensures you pay a fair price based on the space your shipment occupies on the aeroplane. Imagine a box of pillows, it might be lightweight, but it takes up a lot of space! So, for bulky but light items, the volumetric weight wins out. This way, airlines can optimize their cargo loads and you only pay for the space you’re using.


Air parcel shipping stands out as a reliable and efficient method for international deliveries. It offers a compelling balance between speed and affordability, making it a valuable tool for businesses and individuals alike. From sending important documents to treasured gifts, air parcel shipping streamlines the global movement of goods. Remember, for a potentially more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative, consider utilizing peer-to-peer luggage-sharing platforms like Lifti alongside traditional air parcel shipping.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top