While it’s true that almost anything can be shipped from one location to another, including hazardous materials, when it comes to air freight, some restrictions are in place. This is simply because some items – be that explosive materials, flammable liquids, and compressed gasses, for example – can become dangerous and/or unstable in transit due to the changes in pressure that occur during flight. 

To make sure you don’t fall foul of these restrictions and you’re able to organise the most appropriate form of transportation for your goods, we have put together this handy guide which outlines the items that cannot be shipped via air freight. 

Restricted air freight items 

While some items that are restricted from air freight in the UK are obvious, such as illegal drugs and prohibited weapons for example, you may actually be surprised to learn about other restricted items and materials. That’s why it is important to check out the list of restricted items below before booking an air freight service. If you want to ship items that are included on the list below, you may have to consider alternative methods of transportation. 

Restricted air freight items and materials include:

  • All forms of explosives, including fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers and detonating fuses. 
  • Compressed gas. This includes dry ice, gas cartridges/canisters, fire extinguishers, respirators, automotive airbags, aerosols, light bulbs, etc. 
  • Flammable solids. Such as activated carbon, copra, castor products, titanium powder, rubber debris, matches, etc.
  • Flammable liquids. This includes petrol, diesel, alcohol, camphor oil, engine oil, engine starting fluid, turpentine, insect sprays, air fresheners, etc.
  • Items that contain corrosive materials, including standalone batteries.
  • Toxic and potentially infectious items such as standalone lithium batteries and some pesticides.
  • Magnetic items/materials (without degaussing packaging). This includes currency detectors and heavy duty industrial magnets. 
  • Natural oxidizers, peroxides, radioactive materials and corrosive items. This includes some medicines and common lab chemicals, such as potassium permanganate and sulphuric acid.
  • Potentially dangerous biohazards, such as corpses, bones, human ashes, untanned animal hides, etc. 
  • Potentially dangerous biochemical products (including infectious materials). For example, dangerous pathogens, medical wastes and bacillus anthracis.
  • Any powders, liquids or pastes that display a danger sign on their packaging.

If you are still unsure whether or not you can ship a certain item via air freight, get in touch with us here at Freightline Carriers. We can talk through the contents of your cargo and advise on the most suitable form of transport for you.

Can you air freight lithium batteries?

The use of lithium batteries is significantly growing, meaning more and more common consumer products now contain them. This has posed a logistical challenge when it comes to shipping these items. But what exactly are the rules when it comes to shipping lithium batteries by air freight?

Well, the fact is, all standalone lithium batteries are prohibited as cargo on all international flights heading out of the UK, unless the shipper follows the correct battery packaging regulations. However, depending on the size and capabilities of the lithium batteries in question, some are allowed on flights, as long as they remain inside their associated devices. 

For example, the likes of smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, tablets and cameras that contain lithium batteries are typically permitted on air freight services. However, many air freight services will not accept cargo that contains standalone or very large lithium batteries. It is also important to check the laws surrounding the safe transportation of lithium batteries in the country you are planning to fly your goods to, as if your cargo breaches these regulations you could stand to have your goods confiscated or face a hefty fine. 

If you are planning on shipping cargo that contains lithium batteries, but are not sure if air freight is a valid option, contact us. We guarantee to respond to all enquiries within 15 minutes.