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What is an OBC ?

What is On Board Courier (OBC)?

OBC (On Board Courier) transport, also known as hand-carry, is an express method of shipping parcels and boxes worldwide. The service consists in sending a passenger on board a commercial flight to accompany the urgent consignment all the way to its destination.

How does OBC work?

In practice, a courier picks up the consignment and travels with it in their hand luggage. If the consignment is too large or too heavy, it goes in the hold and is then picked up from the carousel upon landing. On arrival, the courier takes a taxi, hires a car, or hands over the goods to a local partner who will take care of the delivery. The goods are delivered to the consignee in person.

Who uses OBC and why?

Hand-carry is mainly aimed at industry professionals who need spare parts urgently to avoid line stoppage or delayed delivery to their customer. Companies that need to send important paperwork, or product samples for quality control or business presentations, also make use of it. Read about an OBC transport to Mexico for 276 kg of goods, or this OBC shipment from China to central Europe.

How much does OBC cost?

Several factors determine the cost of OBC, namely destination, consignment size and weight, as well as the courier’s travel costs. Air Time Critical® offers a professional, door-to-door, turnkey service with provision of a dedicated courier, all required visas, customs clearance at destination, and in-person delivery to the consignee.

Allow EUR 2,500-3,500 for OBC delivery to Europe and EUR 3,500-6,500 for the USA or Mexico…

Rates can vary considerably depending on destination and transit time. However, our rates are transparent as our partner travel agencies give us access to the most advantageous airfares. Start from a EUR 2,500-3,500 budget for Europe-wide delivery, and EUR 3,500-6,500 on average for long-distance shipments to the United States, Mexico, etc.

OBC delivery time frames

On Board Courier is the market’s fastest delivery service available for worldwide shipments. Average delivery time frames vary with the destination.

Worldwide cover within 24-36 hours on average

6-12 hours Within 24 hours Within 36 hours
  • Europe to Europe
  • Europe to/from North Africa
  • China/Asia to Europe
  • Europe to USA/Mexico
  • China to USA/Canada
  • Europe to South Africa
  • North America – Europe
  • India – Europe

OBC destinations

China, Taiwan, Mexico… Pick your destination

Hand-carry is available for a wide range of international destinations, subject to specific restrictions (blockade, geopolitical situation, health quarantine, or any other specific event). Thus, we are able to deliver to/from Asia, America, or Europe.

The most popular destinations for hand-carry include: the United States, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. India and South Africa are less common destinations but fall under ATC®’s expertise.

Closer to home: Morocco, Tunisia, central Europe

Closer to home: Morocco, Tunisia, and Europe, of course: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. It is also possible to ship from Turkey.

Maximum dimensions for OBC

On Board Courier is a suitable solution for shipping parcels, but not heavy boxes, oversize equipment, or pallets, as the goods need to fit into cabin or hold luggage.

Maximum dimensions can vary depending on airline policies. Standard dimensions are as follows:

  • In cabin: 1 single parcel of less than 10 kg, maximum dimensions 40 x 20 x 25 cm per parcel
  • In hold: parcels and boxes between 10 and 32 kg each, maximum overall dimensions of 152 cm (L + W + H = 152 cm), 150 to 200 kg combined weight (subject to airline approval when booking the flight)

The goods must also comply with cabin regulations for air transport (no dangerous substances, restrictions on liquids, etc.).

Your consignment doesn’t meet these criteria but is still very urgent? Consider our NFO (priority freight) or Air Charter (dedicated cargo plane) solutions to ship boxes, pallets, or urgent industrial equipment.

The benefits of On Board Courier

The main benefit of this mode of transport lies in the delivery speed and security as it is not subject to the usual cargo procedures. With a courier travelling with the goods from start to finish, loss or theft risks are also reduced. Additionally, real-time tracking allows better end-to-end monitoring of the supply chain.

Delivery speed, security, shipment tracking… OBC has multiple features

Using OBC offers many advantages, namely:

  • Responsiveness: pre- and post-carriage can be arranged 24/7, day and night. Pickup from the shipping site usually happens within 60 minutes on average.
  • Delivery time frames: OBC is often used with tight delivery time frames. An OBC courier can deliver the necessary parts within 6 to 12 hours in Europe, and within 36 hours everywhere else depending on the request, which can avoid costly production delays.
  • Flexibility: The courier can travel anytime, anywhere in the world to pick up necessary parts and deliver them to their final destination.
  • Security: The courier accompanies the goods from pickup to delivery and delivers them in person as an additional guarantee.
  • Real-time communications: Air Time Critical® provides real-time updates on cargo location, thereby allowing all concerned parties to track delivery progress and plan accordingly. Our optimal tracking advises you of the successful delivery and provides a pdf proof.
  • Customs expertise: ATC® takes care of express customs procedures on your behalf depending on destination, with the help of a large network of IATA forwarders and worldwide AEO agents.

An international logistics emergency? Think OBC

Air Time Critical® remains at your disposal to handle your most urgent international shipments.

Don’t hesitate to contact us:

  • via our webform
  • By phone : +33 1 78 90 26 52 (FR) / +32 2 888 84 16 (EN/FR)