Understand its particularities through a didactic approach regarding nature, fare value, frequency, dimensions, regulatory registration, and frequency of flights.
The freighter flight transports cargo and the crew, while the passenger flight transports the crew, the passengers, and a select amount of cargo in the baggage carrier.
In order of priority, the passenger flight carries food, medicine, passenger luggage, and, finally, the cargoes that were previously coordinated by the company through their respective reservations.
Passenger flights hold some restrictions over which types of cargo are allowed in the luggage compartments. Certain chemicals, dangerous goods, and batteries are restricted on these flights, and fillers are only allowed in limited quantities.
The tariff value is another factor that differentiates a freighter flight from a passenger flight. The freighter flight usually has a higher cost compared to the passenger flight, since these types of flights are less frequent and the sole purpose of the flight is to transport cargo.
Flexibility is another important aspect that differentiates these two types of flights. Since there aren’t 200 passengers at the gate awaiting the departure of the aircraft, when necessary, the airline is allowed to delay (or even advance) the departure time of the freighter flight.
Another aspect to take into consideration is the size of the cargo. Passenger flights allow loads with a maximum height of 63 inches. Once this height is exceeded, the cargo will need to be shipped via freighter flight. For this reason, it is very important that international agents have the appropriate structure in terms of warehouse services. Upon receiving a load of over 63 inches in height, an experienced and equipped agent may offer a service of repackaging the load by lowering its height (if the nature of the load allows). Once the height is lowered, the load will be able to board a passenger flight, thus benefitting the customer since the cost is lower.
Frequency is another big factor that distinguishes a freighter flight from a passenger flight. Passenger flights are more frequent, while freighter flights are scarcer. The last, and one of the most important, factors to consider is if the exporter is registered by the TSA, the administrative security agency that regulates all the movement of air flights within American territory. If the exporter is registered, it is considered “known” by the TSA, and is therefore able to board a passenger flight, provided the cargo contents are not restricted.