Air shipping is one of the many great advances in technology over the course of the last century. Now, you can drop your package off at any UPS, FedEx or USPS location, slap an overnight shipping sticker on it (after paying the necessary fees) and guarantee that your package arrives the next day.
Of course, air shipping isn't just limited to overnight shipping services. In fact, many packages being shipped long distances are now shipped by air. This reduces shipping times and cuts down on error that can occur when packages are shipped on the ground, like mix-ups at processing facilities and package delays.
As with any relatively new development, there are pros and cons that come with air shipping, although there are admittedly many more pros than cons.
Pros of air shipping
Air shipping has a long list of benefits. Although some of the pros of air shipping are obvious to anyone who has shipped a package in the last few decades, other more indirect benefits from the development of air couriers can be seen in anything from the way businesses run to the way people interact with each other.
While the impacts of air shipping are widespread, here are some of the biggest ways in which people have been able to benefit from it:
- Speed. Air travel has come a long way since it was first introduced, connecting people in different countries and on different continents. One of the things that air travel has brought to the table has been the ability to ship packages across a continent and have them arrive the very next day.
- Safety. Along with the speed factor comes the safety of shipping packages by air. The longer a package takes to get from one place to another, and the more hands it changes in the process, the greater the chance is for something to go awry. Air shipping all but eliminates this risk and remains the safest way to ship belongings when you move.
- Variety of items you can ship. Because it takes such a short amount of time for a package to be shipped through the air, it has opened the door for a larger variety of things that you are able to ship. For example, ground shipping can take up to a week, and you can't ship things that are perishable. However, with air shipping, your goods are delivered quickly and efficiently, so you won't have to worry about your contents being spoiled.
- Less of an opportunity for damage to occur. In addition to protecting your package contents from being spoiled, there is also less handling of packages that occurs when you ship through the air, meaning that there is less of a chance that your items will be damaged during the shipping process.
- A clear path from point A to point B. When packages are shipped on the ground, any number of obstacles or unforeseen events can delay delivery. For example, road closures, accidents or other difficulties that exist on the road can hamper a shipment and might delay a package. However, with air shipping, there is virtually nothing that stands in the way of your package being delivered, on time, to its intended destination.
Cons of air shipping
With an operation that's as big and complicated as air shipping is, there are going to be a few flaws in the system that still need to be worked out, and there are going to be a few natural drawbacks.
- More expensive. Air shipping tends to cost more money than other shipping methods. This is due to a number of factors, including the cost to fuel the cargo planes that carry these shipments each and every day. With gas prices being so high, the cost to run the planes has also gone up, increasing the price that many air shipping services charge customers. Air shipping companies also realize that when people need to get a package to someone in a short amount of time, they have no choice but to ship their package by air, thus increasing the demand for the service and raising the price.
- Limit on the size of packages you can ship. Because your packages are being shipped via cargo plane, there is a limited amount of space on each plane for shipments. Weight issues and space requirements set by the FAA for cargo planes tend to limit what you can and cannot ship by air. The limitations are small, but they can pose a problem for people who need to ship large items. For those items, using ocean shipping may be a better route.
- Bad weather. While this can also be a problem for ground shipping services, it's a bigger problem for air shipping. Airports tend to shut down service in cases of extreme inclement weather, which can delay shipments by up to a few days. Ground shipping services aren't as dependent on good weather in order to make shipments, and thus major snowstorms that shut down airports can be a hindrance for air shipping services that rely on cargo planes.