Perishable Cargo

Keep it fresh no matter where it's going.

Fresh off the plane.

For perishable shipments like seafood, fruit, flowers and berries, time and temperature are of the essence. That's why we employ state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the freshness of your shipment from origin to destination.

On top of the temperature-controlled containers and refrigeration facilities we have throughout our network, our team actively monitors flight times and temperatures along the way to make sure these sensitive shipments get delivered fresh off the plane.

All of our products are capable of shipping perishable cargo, so contact your sales representative or call 800-CARGOAA (or 1-817-335-6706 if international) to learn more.

Book your shipment now »

Cool perishables in Miami

Exclusive to Miami, American Airlines Cool Perishables provides pre-cooling, confirmed cooler space and expedited USDA and U.S. Customs clearances for fresh shipments on-site. The program provides:

  • Two pre-coolers
  • Container handling systems
  • Integration of pre-cooling, USDA and U.S. Customs clearance for quick dispatch on connecting flights
  • Simplified schedule of charges

How to book Cool Perishables »

FDA regulations

To comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), please register all foreign and domestic food facilities and provide prior notice of "shipments of human and animal food being imported or offered for import into the U.S."

We encourage you to comply with all governmental regulations. It may minimize delays in clearing your shipment for travel.

Register and find more information on the FDA's website.

Chill at the facility

Some of our major cargo terminals have refrigeration available to store perishables during the shipping process. This feature is offered on a "first come, first served" basis, and may not always be available. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee refrigeration.

We highly recommend planning for your perishable shipment to arrive at its final destination while the terminal is open. Check your destination facility information for more details.

Packaging requirements

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.

Next steps

Perishables resources

Need to check on your shipment? Want to learn more? Here's help.