General Packaging

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your package transport.

General Packaging Requirements

In preparing your shipment, make sure it is able to:
  • Withstand 8 to 12 physical handlings
  • Withstand pressure of up to 60 lbs/27 kgs per square foot
  • Slide on any surface
  • Withstand a 12-inch drop to any surface
  • Tolerate 30 seconds in the rain

When shipping dangerous goods, please follow IATA packaging instructions.

Minimum Size and Weight Requirements
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Priority Parcel Service (PPS)

With this service, there is no minimum size restriction. However, small items may be placed in an authorized box or bag when necessary.

ExpediteFS and ConfirmedFS

With this service, there is no minimum size restriction. However, we recommend that each piece have a size of at least one cubic foot (12" X 12" X 12").

Maximum Size and Weight Requirements
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Priority Parcel Service (PPS)

When using this service, think dimensionally. The combined dimensions of length, width and height of each package cannot exceed 90 inches. The maximum allowable weight of each piece is 100 lbs/45 kgs.

ExpediteFS and ConfirmedFS

The maximum size and weight allowed for ExpediteFS and ConfirmedFS shipments depends on the aircraft and its destination. However, we regret that shipments of extreme length, excessive weight, unusual shape or those requiring special handling may not be accepted without making advance arrangements.

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Please mark your shipment legibly on two adjoining sides with the name, street address and telephone contact for both the shipper and consignee. If you have personal effects and animal shipments that show the consignee address as "hold at airport," it will not be accepted. Also, remember to remove or obliterate old labels and markings.

Please read our Shipping Dangerous Goods section for specific labeling requirements.

Tracking Devices
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It's natural to want to monitor your precious cargo from takeoff to landing, so we allow different types of trackers to accompany shipments on our aircraft. These tracking devices below have been approved for carriage.

View a list of approved tracking devices (PDF) ยป

Perishable Shipments
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For your package's safety, we have certain requirements in place to help ensure the freshness of your shipment and to protect aircraft from damage caused by leaking boxes or shipping containers.

Please do not use Styrofoam outer packaging. It is not allowed in most cases. See Packaging Requirements for more details.

General perishable items

Preparation is key. Please pack your perishable cargo to withstand the journey.

  • 48 hours of transit time domestically (within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • 72 hours of transit time internationally (to or from destinations outside the United States)
  • 8 to 12 physical handlings
  • Pressure of up to 60 lbs./27 kgs. per square foot
  • Sliding on any surface
  • A 12-inch drop to any surface
  • 30 seconds in the rain
Fresh seafood

On top of general perishable packing guidelines, fresh seafood requires extra care.

  • Make sure they are placed inside a polyethylene bag at least 4 mil. thick (or two 2-mil. bags) and pressure sealed, knotted or professionally folded to prevent leakage.
  • Pack them in a multi-walled, wax impregnated fiberboard outer container or box with leak-proof corners or leak-proof plastic or fiberglass containers. These must not exceed the manufacturer's maximum capacity.
  • Put absorbent materials between the polyethylene bag and the outer or inner container.
  • Band or tape the outer container or box with a minimum of two bands around the width of the box.
  • The maximum gross weight per container or box for most fresh seafood, including packaging and refrigerant, may not exceed 150 lbs./68 kgs.
  • The maximum gross weight for whole tuna or whole swordfish shipments may not exceed 300 lbs./136 kgs.
  • When shipping with a carrier-owned, shipper-loaded container, seafood should be packaged utilizing the requirements listed above.
Live seafood

When shipping live seafood, please follow general and fresh seafood packaging guidelines for perishables, as well as these.

  • When using self-oxygenating containers, the shipper should provide, on company letterhead, a statement that leakage will not occur.
  • Mark your shipping containers with "LIVE ANIMALS" or "LIVE SEAFOOD" and "DO NOT TIP, DO NOT TURN OVER."
  • For international live seafood transportation requirements, please refer to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations.
High Value Shipments
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  • Provide an accurate and specific description on all documents.
  • No indication of the nature of the contents or value should appear on the outer packaging.
  • They should arrive at their destination between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Friday (except holidays).
  • Shipments will not be accepted more than three hours before a scheduled flight's departure time.
  • Shipments may only be picked up between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Cargo shipments valued above $500,000 USD or animal shipments valued above $1,500 USD should receive prior approval from the American Airlines Manager of Corporate Insurance. Our customer service representative will submit the request for approval.
  • Shipments must be packaged in sealed containers of at least 1,728 cubic inches (example: 12" x 12" x 12") and have a minimum top-loading capability of 75 pounds per square foot.
    • Exception: Coins and jewelry (other than costume) packaging should be in sealed and banded metal or wooden boxes of at least 1,728 cubic inches.
  • Articles of high value may not be included in shipments with regular articles.
  • Articles moving under carrier's customs bond must be tendered as a separate shipment from any other items that are not moving "in bond."
  • The shipper must state in writing that the consignee will pick up the shipment within three hours after the scheduled flight's arrival time. If the consignee fails to pick up the shipment within this time frame, an armored vehicle or vehicle with an armed guard may be hired and all charges will be attached to the shipment.
Dangerous Goods Shipments
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Learn more about how to pack Dangerous Goods shipments by clicking here.

Plastic Covering Requirements
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In order to keep our team members and customers safe, please make sure to use transparent or clear plastic protective coverings for palletized shipments. Because opaque (darkly colored plastic) protective covering is not allowed for use with the commodities listed below, we strongly recommend the use of transparent protective covering for all shipments.

Opaque plastic is not allowed for use with:

  • Liquids
  • Powders
  • Dusts
  • Shipments containing NFPA warning labels
  • Dangerous goods, including dry ice
Packaging Exceptions
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Animal Shipments

If you are shipping any type of animal, these shipments have special requirements. Please click on Shipping Animals for details and instructions.


If you want to ship barrels, cans, drums, jerricans, pails and the like in their original form, please know that these are reserved for wide-body flights only. All barrels must be secured upright and either banded or strapped to a skid or pallet. If you are shipping multiple barrels, please firmly shrink-wrap or band them together and place them securely in an upright position. If you are planning on dropping off a customer-loaded container, please shrink-wrap or band the barrels together within the container.

Barrels may be acceptable for shipping on narrow-body aircraft if they are contained in an overpack, such as a box or other non-barrel container.

Place orientation arrows or labels on all packaging.

Blood and Urine Samples

Please pack shipments of this nature according to IATA packaging instructions.

Dry Ice Shipments

When shipping dry ice (Carbon Dioxide, Solid) or any other dangerous good, please remember that it is your responsibility to comply with all IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Please read our Shipping Dangerous Goods section for more.

Oxygen Containers

If you are shipping full oxygen containers, please remember that these are dangerous goods, also known as restricted articles, and are required to meet IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. An empty oxygen container with no dangerous residue is not a restricted article.

Pole-Vaulting Equipment

Wrap pole-vaulting equipment in a rectangular-shaped package or strap it to a narrow pallet. This will prevent rolling during transportation.

Helpful Packing Hints
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To help you prepare, here are some useful packaging tips:
  • Shrink-wrap packages and pallets for better protection from the weather elements
  • Use permanent markers when labeling packages
  • Remove old labels and obliterate old marking on packages
  • Use original packaging when available
  • Use proper inner packaging such as styrofoam inserts, "peanuts" and plastic bubble-wrap
  • Do not use improper inner packaging such as cloth or blankets
  • Do not over pack, as the seams on the package may burst
  • Avoid shipping in used or worn cardboard boxes
Styrofoam Containers

Never use styrofoam for outer packaging. We regret that it is not allowed, when used as an outer package.

Wood Packaging Material

If you are shipping wood packaging materials, keep in mind that governmental regulations require they be appropriately treated and marked. For more specific information, visit and

For untreated wood, please be informed that international shipments destined to the United States are not allowed. For other destinations, if a shipment containing untreated wood is discovered at its destination or gateway, it will be returned at the customer's expense.

Wet Ice

Never use wet ice as a coolant. It is not allowed except for certain tropical fish and medical shipments.

Household Goods
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As some household items contain dangerous goods, please see the Dangerous Goods Indicators section at Shipping Dangerous Goods for examples that must be declared.

Carpet and Rugs

Roll all carpet and area rugs around an unbendable core and wrap them in heavy paper. Then wrap it in plastic of at least three-millimeter gauge.

Household Furniture

If shipping furniture, please present it as professionally crated.


If shipping kitchenware, please present it as professionally boxed.

Major Appliances

If shipping used household major appliances, please present it as professionally packaged and crated. Please drain fuel, oil and other fluids if they are present. New or unused household equipment - such as refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, lawn mowers, air compressors, floor lamps, stationary power saws and other power tools - may be transported in its original shipping carton.

Major Electronic Equipment

If shipping electronic equipment, please present it in its original shipping carton or as professionally crated. This includes all video/audio equipment and speakers, microwaves and personal computers complete with related hardware and software.

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