You can choose from a variety of methods to ship your car but if speed is a priority and cost isn’t a factor, then shipping your car by plane is the way to go. Maybe you’re entering your pristine restored antique in a car show across the country. Or are you moving overseas with your vehicle and don’t want to wait the long weeks it will take if you transport your car by ship? Or, is it possible that you’re thinking of purchasing a dream auto in Europe and want to get it to your home in the U.S. – ASAP? 

There are many reasons why shipping a vehicle by plane is a great idea and although there are many advantages, let’s also take a look at several disadvantages so you’ll be armed with enough data to make an informed decision.

The Advantages of Shipping Your Car by Plane

Speed of Transport

If time is of the essence and you need to get your car from A to B in the shortest time possible, obviously shipping by plane is the best choice. In most cases, shipping a car over a long distance by plane can be accomplished in a day or two rather than days or weeks by highway or ocean transport. In some cases, when you ship your vehicle by air,  it can even arrive at your new destination before you do!

Safety and Security

Shipping by plane is considered one of the safest vehicle transport methods. Those who handle the car are highly trained and experienced in caring for and moving high-value vehicles. And with air transport, the vehicle is usually handled less than it is on most road transport carriers and cargo container ships. Also, the level of security at airports is usually much higher than it is on the highway or at shipping container ports.

More Accurate Shipping Dates

When a car is transported by airplane, the short transit time and direct shipping usually allow for more accurate shipping dates. Airlines tend to have stricter adherence to departure and arrival schedules than cargo ship companies. See the section below “Possible Delays Due to Weather” to understand one limiting factor to accurate shipping dates.


Because air shipping is fast, it’s also convenient. If you’re on a tight schedule, you rarely can beat the convenience of air shipping. Adding to the convenience, many airline shipping companies offer additional white glove services. 

White-Glove Air Shipping Services

Transporting a vehicle by plane is considered a high-end white-glove service, and therefore you can request just about any add-on service that will meet your needs. You can arrange to have your car, truck, or motorcycle picked up from any location you designate – and this service will include secure transport to the airport in an enclosed carrier. You can request pre-transport prep such as fluid draining, pallet loading and crating, and flight scheduling. 

When vehicles are shipped to another country, they need to clear customs. To avoid customs delays, you can ask the transport company to manage all of the export/import paperwork and clearances. Some companies can even handle registration and insurance at the delivery location so that the vehicle can be driven legally upon arrival. Of course, these add-on white glove services are costly, but they can make air transport completely seamless and stress-free.

Ease of Shipping Overseas

Certainly, air transport is the fastest method if you’re shipping your car over the ocean. Even though shipping in a container on a cargo ship is the most common overseas transport method, air transport is significantly faster and more direct. And again, depending on the locations at both ends of your vehicle’s trip, your car may be handled less than it would on a ship. Most cargo ship transporters will only accept your car and deliver it at their specified ports of entry. This makes you responsible to get the car to the port for shipping and to pick it up at the destination port of the new country. Shipping by air is destination-direct. It assures your car doesn’t wait to be unloaded from the container of a cargo ship for several days and doesn’t sit unattended at the port overnight or in inclement weather.

Overseas air shipping isn’t just for one-of-a-kind vehicles. If you’ve just taken a job overseas, and want to keep your current vehicle as opposed to buying a new car once you get there, you can count on air shipping to be fast and safe. You probably will want to have your car for commuting and getting around in your new country, and if you ship your car by air, chances are it could arrive close to the time you do!

Ideal for Valuable and One-of-a-Kind Vehicles 

Shipping a car by air is considered the fastest, safest, and most secure transport method for extremely valuable and irreplaceable vehicles – and that value can also include sentimental value. The airline uses specially designed aircraft pallets to secure each vehicle in place so there is minimal movement during shipment. And the people who handle your vehicle are not only experienced but they’re trained in the safest ways to care for high-end vehicles.

The Disadvantages of Shipping Your Car by Plane


The high cost of shipping a car by air is the most limiting factor of air transport. At a minimum, air shipping will cost more than twice as much as an enclosed transport carrier that travels roadways – and for overseas transport, shipping by plane can cost 2 to 3 times as much as sea transport. The cost of shipping a car by air can often exceed the value of a standard vehicle, which is why plane transport is typically used for rare, valuable, and one-of-a-kind vehicles.

The factors that will affect the final cost of shipping your vehicle by air include:

  • The size and weight of your car.
  • The airport locations on both the drop-off and delivery ends of the shipment. Flying in and out of regional airports can be more costly than flying into major airline hubs.
  • The season of the year. Cargo demands can vary from season to season.
  • Any special handling requirements (see White Glove Air Shipping Service in the section above). 

Possible Delays Due to Weather

When shipping by plane, weather can affect shipping dates. During severe weather, flights can be canceled or delayed. This seems to be most common during winter months due to ice storms and heavy snowfall in specific locations of the country or the world. 


If you’re ready to go with air transport, save time and stress trying to find expert plane shippers for your one-of-a-kind vehicle. Caravan Auto Transport has already vetted the most reliable and experienced air shippers who know how to care for one-of-a-kind autos, trucks, and motorcycles. We only work with highly experienced, licensed, and insured transport companies who specialize in shipping valuable automobiles by air. Get your fast, free quote now!

Find out how much it costs to ship your car!