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Air Cargo Dimensions: Safety, Compliance & Logistics

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

April 8, 2024

5 min read

Air cargo services are frequently utilised by businesses that want to ensure the safe and swift transportation of their goods. The height limitations for air freight are a factor you should be aware of beforehand. To preserve the integrity of aircraft structures, shippers are mandated to adhere to safety requirements. These limitations are essential rules that have been established by aviation authorities according to industry standards to preserve operational effectiveness. Everyone involved with air cargo transportation, from airlines and pilots to shippers and freight forwarders, must comprehend the importance of these limitations.

In this article, we go over the fundamentals of air cargo height constraints and the consequences of breaking the rules while shipping freight by air.

Air Cargo Dimensions

Basics of Air Cargo Height Restrictions

When shipping items by air freight, height constraints are important factors to take into account. These restrictions and limitations on the height of air freight pallets are enforced by several factors, including operational constraints, safety standards, and aircraft design. These are the fundamentals:

  • Aircraft Specifications: The size and weight capabilities of cargo holds differ throughout aircraft models. One of the most important restrictions on the amount and kind of cargo that may be transported is the height of the cargo hold. Greater cargo capacity is often achieved by larger aircraft, such as freighter planes, which typically include higher cargo compartments.
  • Regulatory Requirements: To prevent cargo from interfering with the internal structure or safety systems of the aircraft, aviation agencies around the world, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe, and others, set limits on the size and capacity of cargo.
  • Loading Procedures: It is important to take loading procedures into account even if a cargo item fits inside an aircraft’s height constraints. To keep the aircraft stable and balanced in transit, cargo has to be loaded and fastened securely and oversized cargo can affect it.
  • Aircraft Performance: The performance of the aircraft to take off, cruise, and land can be impacted by the height and weight of its cargo. Excess weight or height can influence fuel economy, mobility, and safety margins. When deciding whether cargo is suitable for a certain trip, pilots and load planners must take these criteria into account.
  • Communication to Airlines: To guarantee that aircraft or cargo carriers comprehend and comply with height constraints and other freight requirements, effective communication is crucial for shippers and freight forwarders. This involves giving precise dimensions and cargo descriptions to facilitate safe transportation and loading.

Air Cargo Dimensions

Understanding air cargo dimensions is crucial for efficient transportation. It ensures that goods fit within the limits of different aircraft types. Here’s a breakdown of maximum pallet heights for passenger and freighter planes:

Aircraft TypeMaximum Pallet Height
Passenger (PAX)61 inches (155 cm)
33X Freighter94.5 inches (240 cm)
737 Freighter94.5 inches (240 cm)
777 Freighter96.1 inches (244 cm)
747 Freighter118.1 inches (300 cm)

For standard air freight, the maximum cargo dimensions are:

Length: 96 inches

Width: 125 inches

Special equipment or charter services may be necessary if your cargo exceeds these dimensions. Understanding these dimensions is essential for effective cargo planning and logistics.

Consequences of Ignoring Height Restrictions

When it comes to air freight shipping, violating height standards can have several serious consequences:

  1. Safety Risks: There is a chance that going beyond the height limit raises the possibility of accidents endangering the passengers, cargo, and aircraft. 
  1. Breach of Regulation: Violating the Strict guidelines on freight standards could result in a breach of flying rules and regulations, with related consequences and legal implications.  
  1. Cargo Damage: When loading, unloading, or during air turbulence, cargo that is outside its height restriction can suffer damage. Unsafely fastened oversized freight may shift or clash with other goods.
  1. Operational Delays: For cargo to be loaded onto an aeroplane or fit into conventional compartments, it must fulfill height criteria. This may cause carriers to find other ways to move freight to the aeroplane or arrange for special handling of big cargo, which eventually leads to operating delays.
  1. Financial damages: Shippers and carriers may incur financial damages if shipments are rejected or delayed due to height violations. Paying penalties, rerouting freight, or making up for missed delivery dates can result in additional expenses. 

Experience Effortless Global Cargo Shipping with Shiprocket CargoX!

If you need solutions for your international air cargo shipment, Shiprocket’s CargoX offers a hassle-free option. They are a one-stop platform that offers an easy and seamless service by serving as an extension of your operations workforce. You can make use of their logistics services to send goods worldwide more effectively and securely. With a global network spanning more than 100 countries, they provide quick services including pickup in less than 24 hours and digitised procedures for smooth operations.

CargoX guarantees transparency at every stage of the process by providing full insight into shipments, clear billing, easily available documentation, and no hidden expenses.  It provides custom shipping plans that let you ship at a time and budget suiting your needs to any location in the world.


If you’re an eCommerce business owner and looking to expand your store globally, you need air freight services as part of your supply chain.  But while choosing to transport your goods using aeroplanes you need to keep in mind a few rules and regulations established by concerned authorities. One of those rules is height restrictions imposed for shipments. To ensure safe and efficient delivery, it is crucial to understand and adhere to the height restrictions. These restrictions and guidelines support the efficient operation of air freight procedures, the preservation of security requirements, and the maintenance of the structural integrity of aircraft. When you need to ship your goods by air keep these height restrictions in mind to guarantee seamless and reliable delivery of your shipment.

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