Air Freight

Choosing what to send by air freight when relocating is a tricky matter. 

If you are taking a job in Abu Dhabi it is likely that you will be offered a comprehensive shipping package as part of your contract. Typically (but not always) this will include a small air  allowance and a larger ‘container sized’ shipping allowance.



Getting this sorted is slightly complicated at first as you need to understand what each of these allowances actually means in real terms of ‘your stuff’. 

And, more importantly, when you will actually get things at your destination...

  • Luggage (you take with you on your flight and have with you at all times, from start to finish). Usually about 20kg per person depending on your airline.
  • Shipping (goes via the sea and can take months). Usually a container full, which is enough for small 3 bed house load of furniture.
  • Air Freight (goes at the same time as the shipping but goes on a plane and takes on average two weeks to reach you). Usually about 140kg all in.

Shipping and Freight has more information on what you need to consider and what types of forms need completing in advance.

Choosing your Items

If you are lucky enough to be allocated some air freight, it will probably be around 140kg. 

In simple terms this is about 4 suitcases worth of normal holiday luggage, so not that much really. 

Key Considerations

Choosing what goes in this air vs sea is important as there a few limiting factors – thngs that require some forethought!

#1 - It will leave your home before you do.

The whole consignment (shipping and air) will be packed up and begin its journey at the same time. This means you will have to cope without it, somehow, until you fly off.

Consider your timing carefully when booking the packing dates with the shipping company.

#2 - It still takes about 14 to 21 days to reach you.

This is important, because you be without these things either back home before you fly, and/or for a while in Abu Dhabi when you arrive. 

For example, the kettle and mugs seemed like a good idea to pack in the air consignment, but actually, after a delayed visa which delayed the departure of our shipping consignment (that includes the air freight), we naturally purchased a new set!

#3 -  Weight matters, (which is less of an issue with the shipping where size matters more)

The 140kg limit is very quickly filled by not much – especially if you have small children and things like highchairs etc are in the mix.

Just like the shipping, the air items will be subject to inspection by customs on arrival. It is imperative that you have read, understood and adhered to the Customs Regulations for Abu Dhabi.

Now that you have you head around the logistics and timing of the air freight, here is an example of an air consignment that was within the 140kg limit...

Air Freight Checklist (example)

  • Box of selected pots, pans, utensils, cups and glasses (for cooking)
  • 2 x Brabantia Rubbish Bins
  • Toaster
  • Knife set and knife block
  • Baby High Chair
  • Cat tray and bowls
  • Small box of Boys Toys
  • Printer
  • Shoe Box of Stationary
  • Childs ikea wooden step and plastic potty step
  • Baby Walker
  • Bose surround sound speakers and cables
  • Marantz amp and remote
  • Blue Ray DVD player and control
  • Large Wicker basket of Girls Toys

For more information on creating your own shipping or air frieght lists and inventory, check out Shipping and Freight.

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