Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to your cargo shipping questions
Packing and Labeling
How do I pack my shipment?
All shipments must be properly packed and packaged to ensure safe transportation for your contents. Packaging must be sturdy enough for normal handling during loading and transport. Styrofoam may be used as inner packing only.
Are there labeling requirements?
Each piece of your shipment must be legibly and durably marked by the shipper with the name and address of the shipper and the consignee. Old and/or non-applicable labels or markings must be removed or completely covered up. Our cargo team will affix a shipping label to ensure the proper destination. And we’ll add special handling labels, such as “This Side Up,” “Frozen,” etc.
What if my packaging is damaged or insufficient?
If there are packaging deficiencies when your shipment is tendered, we will note these issues on the air waybill. In such cases, we will not be liable for damages incurred as a direct result of the stated deficiencies or cited inherent defect.
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Weight and Size Restrictions
How much can my shipment weigh?
Maximum weight for a single piece in the lower cargo compartments is 300 pounds.
- Prearranged shipments (e.g. Human Remains) may be accepted for belly up to 500 pounds per piece.
- Live animals with kennel are limited to 150 pounds for belly load.
- The maximum acceptable weight limit for certain regional destinations is 150 pounds per piece.
Will my shipment fit on your planes?
Size charts vary by aircraft type. Please verify the type of aircraft operating the route your cargo is flying on and then view aircraft specific dimension charts here.
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Rates and Pricing
What is chargeable weight?
The chargeable weight for your package will be either the actual weight or the dimensional weight of your package, whichever is greater.
What is dimensional weight?
Dimensional weight pricing is based on the volume of the package – how much space it occupies. To determine the DIM weight, multiply its length x width x height. For domestic shipments, divide the sum by 194. For international shipments, divide the sum by 166.
You can also determine your packages DIM weight and estimated price for shipping by accessing our online Price Calculator.
What is a specific commodity rate or SCR?
A specific commodity rate is a rate applicable to a certain class of commodities, usually moving in large volume or requiring special handling.
Special rates are available for the following commodities:
- SCR 0091 Human Remains
- SCR 0113 Tropical Fish and/or Aquatic Plants
- SCR 0300 Seafood
- SCR 0310 Shellfish
- SCR 0316 Fishing Bait
- SCR 0666 Cut Flowers, Nursery and Growing Plants
- SCR 2199 Foodstuffs: Dairy, Meats, Fruits and Vegetables
- SCR 4903 Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals
Pricing for SCRs can be found using our Price Calculator. Certain restrictions may apply. For commodities not listed, please utilize our standard GoldStreak, Priority, General or Pet Connect pricing.
How much does it cost to ship an animal?
Access our Price Calculator to determine the rate for animals traveling as cargo.
Are there any surcharges or fees?
For information on surcharges, visit the Rate Charts and Surcharges page on this website.
Do I have to pay tax?
A Federal Excise Tax of 6.25% is applied to all U.S. domestic shipments and is based on the basic weight/rate charge, valuation charges and fees such as fuel/security surcharges, dangerous goods/hazardous materials are also taxed. Cargo shipments moving between Alaska or Hawai'i and the Continental U.S. have a reduced tax rate applied based on the city pair. International shipments are not subject to the Federal Excise Tax.
Please note that government employees, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations are not exempt from the Federal Excise Tax. Additional information regarding the Federal Excise Tax can be found here.
Please access our Price Calculator to view an itemized list of charges including taxes.
How are zones used to establish rates?
Alaska Air Cargo uses eleven geographic zones to determine shipping costs. Here’s a map of our cargo zones.
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Insurance and Declared Value
What about insuring my shipment?
Which is the best option to protect my shipment?
Alaska Air Cargo has Basic Carrier Coverage for lost or damaged goods. But we encourage our customers to consider added protection in the form of All Risks Insurance or Declared Value, depending on your shipment. There can be a lot of complexity and variances. We’ll do our best to simplify them for you here. For personal assistance, please contact our Cargo Call Center at 1-800-225-2752.
Understanding the Differences Between Basic Carrier Coverage, Declared Value Coverage and All Risks Insurance
Basic Carrier Coverage
Alaska Air Cargo’s Basic Carrier Coverage for lost or damaged goods, if caused by our negligence, is limited to $.50 cents per pound, and a minimum of $50 per shipment. For more information on this limitation, please refer to the Alaska Air Cargo conditions of contract here
Declared Value coverage allows you to increase the value of your goods up to its actual verified value. Keep in mind that Declared Value coverage only covers loss caused by the negligence of Alaska Air Cargo. Losses caused by other factors are excluded from coverage.
When Should You Consider Declared Value Coverage?
We generally recommend considering Declared Value for any shipments of perishable items such as seafood, flowers, produce etc. and live animal shipments.
Is a Customs Value Declaration the Same as Declared Value Coverage?
A customs value declaration
on an air waybill is different from Declared Value Coverage. It is required to declare a value on an air waybill for international shipments clearing customs. However, this listing does not create additional coverage. Only paying for Declared Value Coverage will ensure this coverage is applicable.
Understanding All Risks Insurance Coverage
All Risks Insurance is the broadest insurance you can obtain to cover your shipment. In simple terms, all unnamed risks are automatically covered
, whether it is the fault of the carrier or something due to unavoidable situations, such as weather. Practically speaking, it generally covers all losses to your shipment, although there are some specifically excluded losses or perils that will limit the coverage. One common exclusion is loss caused by improper packaging. It is important to read the terms and conditions of the policy offered by the insurer to understand the coverage and exclusions.
When Should You Consider All Risks insurance?
We generally recommend All Risks Insurance for any shipments of dry goods. Perishable shipments and live animal shipments are not eligible for All Risks insurance.
Costs for Insuring a shipment
Declared Value Coverage may be purchased at $.50 per $100 of value. All Risks Insurance may be purchased at $1 per $100 of coverage.
Determining Liability Under Basic Carrier Coverage
To determine Alaska Air Cargo's per pound liability, multiply the total weight of your shipment by $.50.
If the total weight of the shipment is 500 pounds:
The per pound liability is $.50
The maximum liability would be 500 x $.50 = $250.
All Risk Insurance Specifics
- No free allowance is allowed.
- The total value of the shipment must be considered for rate issuance.
- When the amount of insurance is not in even $100 increments, the next higher $100 increment is used to determine insurance rates.
Not applicable to freight originating on or carried solely on substitute service carriers.
- Excess valuation shall not be charged in addition to insurance.
- No charge shall be made for insurance when the shipper only declares a value.
- Coverage applies to loss or damage to goods in transit from point of origin to the destination shown on the air waybill.
Coverage exceptions apply in the following circumstances:
- Thawing, freezing or changes in atmospheric pressure
- Delay, including spoilage resulting from delay
- Strikes, civil disturbances
- Shipments of perishables and live animals
- Coverage shall not be sold on shipments improperly packed or vulnerable to damage as a result of normal handling
- Other exclusions may apply. Please see the Alaska Air Cargo insurance policy which is available for public inspection
Maximum Amount per Shipment:
- $250,000 USD
- If shipment is in excess of $250,000 USD you must obtain clearance in advance from Alaska Air Cargo.
- Provide the shipper’s name and address, consignee’s name and address, type and method of packing, and any other information available.
If you still have insurance questions, please contact our Cargo Call Center at 1-800-225-2752.
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What are the requirements for transporting pets via air cargo?
Our Pet Connect™ animal travel service provides quality care when transporting live animals. To learn more about shipping your pet as air cargo visit our Pet Connect page.
What are the requirements for a pet traveling with me?
Visit Traveling with Pets on our website.
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Cargo Requiring Special Handling
Alcohol and firearms have various restrictions, depending on government regulations and specific stations. Please see our Restrictions and Embargos page for more information.
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What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous goods may also be referred to as hazardous materials or hazmat. These items are defined as “articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property or the environment when transported by air.”
Certain biological agents and toxins have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety. Those designated as “select agents” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not be accepted for carriage. Please visit our Dangerous Goods page for specifics
Can I ship dry ice?
Yes. Restrictions apply. Please go here
Can I ship firearms and/or ammunition?
Generally, individuals may only ship firearms (such as sporting rifles, shotguns, handguns, silencers, starter pistols, BB guns and flare pistols) to themselves, a Federal Firearms Licensee (FLL) or a government law enforcement agency. If shipping to a FLL, you must have a certified copy of the license with an original signature.
- Firearms must be unloaded and packaged in a locked, hard-sided case that does not identify the contents as a firearm. Multiple locks may be required on some cases (e.g., both ends and middle) to prevent unauthorized access to the firearm.
- Any amount of ammunition must be tendered as dangerous goods and requires a Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods.
- Shipper must comply with all IATA packaging instructions and an additional dangerous goods fee applies.
Keep in mind many products associated with firearms, such as cleaning solvents, primers, black powder and exploding targets, are also considered dangerous goods and must be declared and packaged properly.
For additional details, please go here
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What about lost or damaged goods?
Filing a claim.
Claim procedures and guidelines:
- All claims must be made in writing, within fourteen (14) days after the date of acceptance of the shipment by the consignee.
- Claims for hidden damage or loss, discovered by the consignee after leaving the cargo facility or airport, must be reported within fourteen (14) days after delivery of the shipment.
- Claims for overcharges must be made in writing within ninety (90) days of receipt of billing.
To initiate the claim process, please click here
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Printed Air Waybills
Can I use a printed Air Waybill?
Yes. A fillable Air Waybill can be found here
Please have the following information ready and included on your Air Waybill before you book:
- Departure and arrival locations
- The total number of packages being shipped
- The weight of each package (lbs.)
- Dimensions of each package (L x W x H)
- Shipping service
- Customer ID number
- The name of who will be dropping off and picking up the shipment
- A phone number to call when the shipment arrives
- Any special handling needs (ex. - whether it need to be cooled or frozen)
- The commodity type (if applicable)