Shipping A Car By Plane: How Much Does It Cost To Fly A Car

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Shipping by plane is regarded as one of the safest modes of vehicle transportation. Those in charge of the vehicle are highly trained and experienced in caring for and transporting high-value vehicles.

And, unlike most road transport carriers and cargo container ships, the vehicle is typically handled less in air transport. Furthermore, airport security is usually much higher than it is on the highway or at shipping container ports.

The cost of shipping a car by plane ranges from $2,000 to $4,000.

Yes, flying a car across the country is expensive. It can cost more than the average price of a new car in some cases. However, it is a viable option for more affluent clients who want to ship exotic cars.

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Ship a Car by Plane

If you’re looking for a way to get your car moved interstate, you should look into all of your options. Among these will be car shipping by plane. This is done, but it is by far the most expensive method of transporting a car. Nonetheless, when air shipping is available, it provides some ease and convenience.

There are some benefits to shipping a car by plane that may make it worthwhile despite the cost. It is the quickest way to ship your car and is mostly used for international auto transport. So, if time is an asset you cannot afford to lose, this may be the best option for you.

Should I Ship My Car by Plane

If you have a car that you consider to be very valuable, either financially or emotionally, and you want it to receive the best possible care, a cargo plane is the best option. Because road and sea transportation is more turbulent than air freight, there is a greater chance that your vehicle will sustain physical damage. 

Your valuable car will receive the smooth transportation it deserves on a plane, without being tossed and shifted around much.

If your destination is direct and you want to get there quickly and safely with your valuable car, you should consider shipping it by plane.

Reasons to Ship a Car by Plane

Shipping a car across the country may appear to be a daunting task, but you do have options for getting your vehicle to its destination. 

Transporting your car by plane may appear to be the quickest and safest method, but as with any car shipping option, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Using a plane to ship a car across the country is usually more expensive than the average cost of a new car, but for the right client, it’s a viable option. Shipping a car by plane is safe, quick, and dependable.

Rare or Expensive Car

Transporting a valuable car that is either very important to you or very expensive could be a difficult task if its safety is a concern. As a result, it is preferable to transport vehicles or expensive cars by plane because it is quick and safe.

Your valuable car will be transported in comfort on a plane, without being thrown and moved around much.

Shipping as Quickly as Possible

One of the main benefits of shipping a car by plane is that it is much faster than any other method. This is especially true when shipping internationally, as transporting a vehicle from its point of origin to a shipping port, where it would then take several weeks to arrive at its final destination, would typically take several days.

If you need to get your car from one location to another as soon as possible, shipping by plane is clearly the best option. Shipping a car over a long distance by plane usually takes only a day or two, compared to days or weeks by highway or ocean transport. When you ship your vehicle by air, it may arrive at your new location ahead of you!

Shipping Overseas

Someone might choose to ship their car by plane if they need it shipped overseas.

Also when a car is transported by plane, the short transit time and direct shipping usually allow for more accurate shipping dates. Airlines tend to adhere to departure and arrival schedules more strictly than cargo ship companies. See the section below titled “Possible Delays Due to Weather” to learn about one possible limiting factor to accurate shipping dates.

If you’re shipping your car across the ocean, air transport is undoubtedly the quickest option. Even though shipping in a container on a cargo ship is the most common method of international transport, air transport is much faster and more direct.

Looking for alternative car shipping options? Read our article “Amtrak Car Transport: The Benefits of Train Transportation” to learn about this auto transport option.

Preparing Your Car for Air Transportation

1. Clean and Inspect Your Car

  • Thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior of your car to remove any dirt or debris.

  • Inspect your car for any existing damage, scratches, or dents. Document them with photographs for reference.

2. Remove Personal Belongings

  • Empty your car of all personal belongings, including loose items and valuables.

  • Remove any accessories or modifications that could potentially get damaged during transportation.

3. Check for Leaks and Fluid Levels

  • Ensure there are no fuel or fluid leaks in your car.

  • Check the levels of essential fluids like oil, coolant, and brake fluid and top them up if necessary.

4. Maintain Adequate Fuel Level

  • Keep your car’s fuel tank approximately one-quarter full. Sufficient fuel is required for loading and unloading but avoid a full tank due to weight constraints.

5. Secure or Remove Exterior Parts

  • If your car has any detachable or loose exterior parts (spoilers, antennas), either secure them properly or remove them.

6. Disable Alarm Systems

  • Deactivate any car alarms or anti-theft systems to prevent them from being triggered during transportation.

7. Check Tire Pressure and Condition

  • Ensure all tires are inflated to the correct pressure and are in good condition.

8. Fold Back Mirrors

  • Fold back your car’s side mirrors to reduce the risk of damage during handling.

9. Disable Toll Tags and Parking Passes

  • Temporarily remove electronic toll tags or parking passes to avoid unnecessary charges.

10. Provide Necessary Documentation

  • Gather all the required documentation for shipping your car, such as registration, insurance papers, and any specific permits needed for transportation.

11. Inform Shipping Company of Special Requirements

  • If your car has any unique features or requirements, inform the shipping company in advance to make appropriate arrangements.

12. Consider Additional Insurance

  • Check if your existing car insurance covers transportation. If not, consider purchasing additional coverage for the shipping period.

The Pros and Cons of Shipping a Car by Plane

Let us now discuss the disadvantages of shipping by plane. The most significant limitation of air transport is the high cost of shipping a car by air. Air shipping costs more than twice as much as enclosed road transport, and international air shipping can cost 2 to 3 times as much as sea transport.

Because the cost of shipping a car by air can frequently exceed the value of a standard vehicle, it is usually reserved for rare, valuable, and one-of-a-kind vehicles.

The following factors will influence the final cost of shipping your vehicle by air:

  • The dimensions and weight of your vehicle.
  • Flying into and out of regional airports on both the drop-off and delivery ends of the shipment can be more expensive than flying into major airline hubs.
  • The time of year: cargo demands can vary seasonally.
  • Handling requirements that are unique.

Weather can affect shipping dates when shipping by plane. Flights may be canceled or delayed due to severe weather. Due to ice storms and heavy snowfall in specific areas of the country or world, this appears to be most common during the winter months.

Also, one advantage of shipping by plane is the safety of your car. If shipping time and quality are important to you, consider shipping by plane. It is the most efficient method of transporting your prized automobiles from one location to another. 

It’s not surprising that the cost of an airplane car transport is the same as the cost of a new car, but  It includes the option of delivering your personal belongings alongside the car, which is not provided by every auto transporter. It’s very convenient if you’re moving to a new house, and it will save you money on arrangements.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car by Plane?

The cost of shipping a car by air ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. Unless it’s an expensive exotic, the cost of shipping a car by air will usually far exceed the value of the vehicle itself. With the money you’ll save on air freight, you could buy a new car and still have plenty left over.

The cost will, of course, vary depending on the vehicle’s weight, make, and distance traveled. If you fly a car to another state, the cost will be less than if you flew it to another country. If you’re considering international auto shipping, be prepared to spend up to $100,000 of your own money.

Tips for Saving Money on Flying Your Car

1. Compare Multiple Car Shipping Quotes

  • Obtain quotes from different car shipping companies to compare prices and services.
  • Look for discounts or promotions offered by reputable carriers.

2. Book in Advance and Be Flexible with Dates

  • Plan your car shipping well in advance to secure better rates.
  • Be flexible with your shipping dates if possible, as peak seasons can be more expensive.

3. Utilize Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

  • Select terminal-to-terminal shipping instead of door-to-door service.
  • Dropping off and picking up your car at terminals can be more budget-friendly.

4. Minimize Additional Services

  • Stick to basic car shipping services without unnecessary add-ons.
  • Avoid extra services like expedited shipping or storage, unless absolutely necessary.

More Things to Think About

Shipping a car involves two parties: the shipper (vehicle owner) and the shipping company. On both ends, the process necessitates or prefers some paperwork to complete the move. This includes

  • Bill of Lading (BOL):
    • A document signed by you, the customer, and issued by the chosen transporter.
    • Confirms the receipt of your vehicle in good condition at pick-up.
    • Serves as a “contract of carriage” during the move, making the transporter legally responsible for your vehicle.
    • You’ll sign the BOL again upon delivery to confirm receipt.
  • Insurance Details:
    • Transporter’s insurance usually applies, but you may need a document outlining its terms and conditions.
  • Proof of Insurance:
    • Rarely required; if your insurance covers the car during transit, you’ll need to provide proof to the transporter.
  • Title and Registration:
    • Optional paperwork, often combined.
    • Registration legally binds the vehicle to you as the owner.
    • The title serves as proof of vehicle ownership.
    • While rarely requested, keep a copy on hand in case required.
  • Photographic Identification:
    • Some transporters may request a photo ID for their internal database.
    • You can use your driver’s license or any other form of identification for this purpose.


Do your homework! Certain documents are required by some companies. Some charge higher prices but provide better services. The key here is to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Always read the company’s policies to avoid getting into trouble. 

Furthermore, by conducting research, you can gain a better understanding of the type of transportation that would be suitable for your budget and transportation needs. The more you understand, the better.

Ask Your Shipping Company

Ask your chosen shipping company, look at their track record, and understand what services they provide.

A shipping company transports physical objects efficiently and safely. Choosing the best shipping company is similar to selecting the best accountant, vendor, or supplier. You are selecting a partner who will assist you in meeting your logistics requirements. Of course, that assumes they do their job flawlessly. 

In the shipping industry, as in any other, there are fly-by-night operators. They might offer you an unrealistic price and then take your valuables. However, there are some truly outstanding businesses. As a result, you should exercise caution. Examine their track record for characteristics such as timeliness, consistency, and cost efficiency.

Let Us Take Care of Your Auto Transport Needs

Mercury Auto Transport is an auto transport broker that presents offers from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration) licensed and insured carriers. We have access to a wide range of car transporters through National Dispatch Boards, and together with you, we can often strategize and negotiate far better rates.

Get in touch with Mercury Auto Transport to receive your personalized quote or speak with one of our professional auto transport representatives and experience seamless and reliable auto transport services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping A Car by Plane 


Can cargo planes carry cars?

Yes, cargo planes are specifically designed to carry large and heavy freight, including cars. Specialized containers and securement methods are used to transport vehicles safely by air.

What month is the cheapest to ship a car?

The cheapest months to ship a car typically fall during the off-peak seasons, such as late fall and winter. Prices can vary based on demand, so it may also depend on the specific route and location.

How often do cars get damaged in shipping?

Damage to cars during shipping is relatively rare, with industry estimates often citing that less than 5% of vehicles experience any damage. Utilizing reputable shipping companies and proper loading techniques can minimize the risk.

Can I Ship Personal Items Inside My Car When Shipping by Plane?

Generally, personal items are not allowed inside the vehicle when shipping by plane due to safety and security regulations. It’s important to consult with the shipping company for specific guidelines and restrictions, as any unauthorized items could cause delays or additional fees.

Is Shipping a Car by Plane Safe?

Shipping a car by plane is considered a safe method, as the vehicles are carefully secured within the aircraft. However, it is essential to work with a reputable shipping company and to ensure that proper insurance coverage is in place to protect against potential damage or loss.


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