The Pros and Cons of Flying a Car Across Country

A plane flying above the clouds

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

If you ever need to move your car over a long distance there are many ways you can do it. Send it by train, drive it yourself, get someone else to drive it for you, or use an auto transport company. However, if speed is of the essence and money is no object, shipping a car across country by plane is possibly the best way to do it. 

You might be entering your priceless Model T Ford in an antique car show across the country or moving overseas and prefer not to wait weeks for your car. On the other hand, you might be purchasing your dream car online and want to get it home as soon as possible. 

Whatever the reason for shipping your car, having a car shipped across country by plane could be a viable option. However, before you commit to such an expense, let’s look at some of the advantages of shipping a car by plane and some of the disadvantages. When you’re armed with all the information you’re in the best position for making an informed decision. 

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The pros of flying a car across country

If you want to know more about car moving across country by plane, a good place to start is to explore the benefits. 

Speed

In the auto transport industry, there are standard timeframes when it comes to shipping a car across country.  If you need you need to get your car from point A to point B in the quickest time possible, air freight transport could be the answer. Rather than taking days or weeks by highway or ocean transport, shipping a car by plane takes a day or two. 

In some instances, your car could arrive at its final destination before you do.  

Security and safety

Shipping a car by plane is generally considered one of the safest transport methods. The people who handle the vehicles are highly trained and experienced in moving and caring for high-value vehicles. 

Compared to road transport carriers and cargo container ships, your car would be handled less if you ship it by air. 

Security levels at airports also tend to be much higher than in shipping container ports or on the highway. 

Accurate shipping dates

With air transport, direct shipping and short transit times allow for more accurate shipping dates. Airlines have to abide by strict schedules for departure and arrival which means fewer delays. 

Convenience

Shipping by air is a very convenient option because of the speed of the service. If your schedule is tight, there’s little that can beat or even match the convenience of air shipping. 

White-glove services

Many airline shipping companies offer additional white glove services. It’s considered to be a high-end service so you can request any add-on service, depending on your needs. You might ask that your vehicle is picked up and delivered from any location you specify. Secure transport to the airport would be in an enclosed trailer. Pre-transport prep such as pallet loading, crating, fluid draining, and flight scheduling might also be requested. 

If you’re flying your car to another country, it will need to clear customs. To avoid any delays, you could ask the transport company to manage this part of the process on your behalf. There are also companies that will register your vehicle and arrange insurance coverage at the delivery location. 

While these additional services might sound very attractive, they will be very expensive. That being said, such a white-glove service would make your air transport experience stress-free and seamless. 

Easy shipping overseas

If you need to ship a car across the ocean there is no faster way. Shipping a car in a container on a cargo ship might be the most common way to do it but air transport is more direct and quicker.

Depending on the pick-up and delivery locations, your car may also be handled less than it would if it was being shipped on a cargo ship.

If you use a cargo ship transporter, you’ll also be responsible for getting your car to the port for shipping and then picking it up at the destination port of the new country. Ship your car by air and it’s destination direct. Your car won’t have to wait to be unloaded from a container ship and it won’t sit unattended at the port overnight waiting for you to collect it. 

Overseas air shipping is a popular choice for one-of-a-kind vehicles, but there are others that could benefit from such a quick and convenient service. For example, you may be taking a job overseas and want to keep your current vehicle rather than wait and buy a new one when you get there.                                                                      

Excellent option for one-of-a-kind and valuable vehicles

If you own a very valuable, rare, or irreplaceable vehicle, shipping it by air is considered the safest, fastest, and most secure method. A car that has huge sentimental value would also be a good candidate for air shipping. 

Airline companies use specially designed aircraft pallets to secure vehicles into place. Movement is minimal during shipment. The people that handle the vehicles are also experienced and highly trained. They know the safest and best ways to care for high-end vehicles of all shapes and sizes. 

The cons of shipping your car by plane

There are lots of advantages but also a small number of downsides. 

Cost

The high cost of shipping a car by plane is what will put most people off choosing such a service. Typically, you can expect air shipping to cost at least twice as much as an enclosed transport carrier. If you want to fly your car overseas, you can expect it to cost two to three times more than sea transport. 

It would be very easy for the cost of air shipping to exceed the value of a standard car. This is why plane transport tends to be reserved for valuable, rare, and one-of-a-kind vehicles. 

The final cost of shipping your vehicle on a plane will be affected by the following factors:

  • The size and weight of your vehicle
  • The airport locations for the pick-up and delivery of your vehicle
  • The time of the year
  • Any special handling requirements such as a White Glove Air Shipping Service

If you want to know how much it would cost to ship your car with an auto transport company, you can get a quote today.

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Possible delays

There aren’t many things that can cause delays when it comes to air shipping, but weather can sometimes affect shipping dates. Flights may be delayed or canceled when the weather is severe. This is more common during winter months because of the heavy snowfalls and ice storms that can affect specific locations in the US and around the world.  

How much to fly a car on a plane?

Flying a car can be very expensive. You can expect to pay anything from $2,000 to $4,000, possibly even more. In some cases, it costs more than the average cost of a new car. 

If you want to know exactly how much it will cost, the best thing to do is contact an air shipping company and request a quote. Generally, you’ll be able to get a quote for free. You’ll need to provide some basic information, such as where you wish to ship it to and from. Once you’ve got a quote, you’ll be able to compare it with other forms of car shipping and decide whether it’s worth the expense. 

Tips for shipping your car by plane

If you want to ship your car by airplane there are rules you have to follow. Air freight rules are very strict and there tend to be no exceptions.

  • Your vehicle must be running
  • You’re not permitted to ship any personal belongings in your car
  • The gas tank must be no more than 1/8 full
  • All leaks must be fixed
  • Alarm systems must be deactivated
  • You have to hand over your registration and title documents when you deliver your car to the airport
  • You’ll need a notarized statement from your creditor or lessor if the car is under lease or finance
  • When your car arrives at its final destination, you’ll have to provide some form of ID before you’re allowed to drive it away 

Here are a couple of tips to bear in mind if you’re thinking about air transport:

  • Do your research carefully: You will probably find just a couple of companies offering to ship your car by plane, but that doesn’t mean you should choose the first one you find. Do some basic research before making a final decision.
  • Ask plenty of questions: Whatever questions you’ve got, don’t be afraid to ask them. Shipping a car by plane is expensive so it’s critical that you address all your concerns before finalizing your arrangements. 

If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided air shipping is not for you, get in touch with our shipping advisors and they’ll walk you through the auto transport process. Call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 

FAQs

What are the advantages and disadvantages of car travel?

Pros of car travel

  • You get to travel at your own pace
  • It’s a comfortable way to travel
  • You can make spontaneous stops when you’re driving
  • You can put more stuff in your car
  • You can share the driving to reduce fatigue
  • You can save money
  • You can listen to music on a road trip
  • You get to avoid crowds
  • Car travel can be an adventure

Cons of car travel

  • You might have car trouble
  • Your car might get stolen
  • Traveling by car can be tiring
  • You might get lost
  • You might struggle to find suitable parking
  • There might be tolls to pay
  • Car travel can be expensive
  • Traffic jams
  • Other road users

Is it good for a car to travel long distance?

Long-distance travel is not bad for your car as long as you’ve serviced it, and have sufficient engine lubrication, water, coolant, and fuel. However, a long road trip can inflict costly damage on your car that you might not notice right away. Every mile you travel in your car results in a certain amount of wear and tear to the engine, tires, and other moving parts.  

How do I get my car to the other side of the country?

There are several options:

  • Use an auto transport company
  • Drive it yourself
  • Hire someone to drive it for you
  • Tow it using a car trailer or tow dolly
  • Ship it by train
  • Ship it by plane

Are there planes that carry cars?

Passenger planes can transport cars in the cargo hold. There are also dedicated cargo aircraft that carry cars and larger vehicles on their main decks. 

Can a car go on a plane?

Cars can go on a plane, but it is a rare occurrence.

Can you fly your car to a different state?

Yes, you can fly your car to a different state and while it may appear to be the quickest and safest method, it is usually more expensive than the average cost of a new car.      

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