Cargo Jet Charter vs. Traditional Freight Services: Which is Right for You?


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While most people know private jets can be chartered for private air travel, many are not aware that the planes can also be rented to move freight. Cargo jet charters and traditional freight services are the two most common ways freight is moved across the country and around the world. However, the two services have some important differences you need to be aware of before making a decision on which is the better method of shipping your valuable cargo. Traditional freight services include using common carriers on land, sea and air, and sometimes all three. A cargo jet charter is a private plane you hire to move your cargo from point A to B and offers many advantages over traditional freight services.

Traditional Freight Services

Freight is traditionally moved via common carriers that use trucks, trains, barges and planes or some combination thereof to move goods from food to automobiles all over the world. Common carriers include such companies as United Postal Service, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service. Common carriers typically have fixed origin and destination locations with daily departure and arrival schedules that can face disruptions for a variety of reasons. Employee layoffs and union strikes can also be an issue when shipping cargo via traditional freight services.

You can also ship goods to commercial airline companies like Delta and Southwest. If using a commercial airline, know that you are responsible for getting the cargo to and from the airport. Additionally, airlines are notorious for overbooking, and this is true of cargo as well. Just like passengers, cargo can be bumped if a more urgent issue comes up. For example, if the carrier has to make a choice between sending your furniture from New York to your new house in the Midwest and getting disaster relief supplies to hurricane victims in Florida, the choice is obvious. Many airlines also have stringent drop-off times to make a flight, and if you are just one minute late, your shipment will have to wait for the next flight.

Cargo Jet Charters

Private cargo jet charters offer a viable alternative to traditional freight services that are convenient, dependable and completely secure. Most commonly referred to as “airfreight charter,” a cargo charter can be a better option under many circumstances. Air charter cargo services are dedicated specifically to transporting your goods. There are several advantages to hiring a private cargo charter that includes more personalized and professional services than common carriers can provide. Cargo jet charter services, like Stratos Jets charters, can also handle sensitive freight that commercial aircraft won’t accept. Charter air freight flights also offer access to a far greater number of airports that increases both scheduling flexibility and convenience.

Another freight charter option is a shared jet charter service that will typically save you a fair amount of money. Simply put, a shared charter requires only paying for the amount of space your cargo takes up. For example, a shared charter flight leaves New York City with its cargo bay half full. It stops in Cleveland, Ohio, to pick up more freight before going on to Missoula, Montana, to drop off the cargo from New York. This can save the shipper in Cleveland over half of the cost of chartering the whole plane for the entire distance. However, unfortunately, shared charter flights are not always available.

Which is Better for You?

If you just have a small load of cargo or are not on a strict schedule, a common freight carrier may be the right option for you. However, if you are shipping a large amount of cargo, have heavy and/or oversize items, are on a strict timeline or have hazardous cargo to move, then a cargo jet charter is probably the better option. If you are dealing with an extreme emergency situation, a cargo charter is almost universally the better choice.


Moving cargo across the country or to the other side of the globe is a big undertaking, especially if you have no experience with the process. Both methods of moving freight have advantages and drawbacks that must be considered. Before making a decision, consider and evaluate all of your options and carefully weigh those against your needs.