Chapman Freeborn blog

How to book your cargo air charter in a time of high demand

It is no secret that demand for air cargo space is exceptionally high at the moment. This has only been further exacerbated by peak season, which we are now in the midst of. But alongside these facts about demand, there are also some myths percolating the industry, and Chapman Freeborn is here to debunk those myths and to help you get the best deal and have the smoothest experience when booking your cargo charter flights.

What is the myth of artificial demand?

The myth of artificial demand is a misconception that by ‘shopping around’ for a charter, that prices will rise disproportionately. It stems from the misunderstanding that by asking, for example, three brokers to quote for a flight, that the carriers will get asked to quote for that trip three times instead of just once. If this were true, carriers would see demand rising and would raise their prices to reflect this. However, this is not the case, as carriers can tell the difference between true demand (the number of available and active flights) and this artificial demand, which is an increase in quotes but not an increase in flights or market activity.

Should I get multiple quotes before booking my cargo air charter flight?

Yes, when you come to book a charter flight you should certainly get multiple quotes before choosing your charter. Ben Hampton, Chapman Freeborn’s Cargo Sales Director, explains, “Not all brokers know the same carriers, and in fact, some use automated bid boards that require electronic bids that not all carriers choose to participate in. So, by getting multiple quotes from multiple brokers, you will ensure that between them all bases are covered, and you are getting options from a wide array of carriers. This is how you can be sure you get the best price for your charter”.

What should the process of obtaining quotes and booking an air cargo charter look like?

  1. The first step should be to put together accurate information about your requirements for the charter and include as many details as possible, such as weight, volume, dates and locations.
  2. Send this out as an enquiry to two or three trusted brokers – in an ideal situation you will receive a few options back in as little as 15 minutes. Ideally companies want to respond to inbound enquiries as quickly as possible.
  3. Evaluate your quotations and make your decision.
  4. The contracting process should then take place, hopefully as quickly as possible to ensure that you have everything confirmed and the broker has everything in-hand.

What else should I bear in mind when arranging my air cargo charter?

Don’t lose sight of how important the human factor is in this industry. Ben advises that, “The charter market and charter operations in general are very fluid, ever-changing and can be unpredictable and confusing. The benefit of having a knowledgeable, trustworthy broker working alongside you cannot be overstated. That person will manage any obstacles and ensure your cargo arrives in its destination, and for a fair and competitive price.”

To arrange your next air cargo charter, get in touch with our air freight charter team by emailing