24/7 international numbers: +33 1 78 90 26 52 (fr) or +32 2 888 84 16 (en/fr)

When On Board Courier beats an express van

On Board Courier - Express van

Hand carry delivery to the UK

A Czech client called Air Time Critical late afternoon: he needed to sort out a production delay while holidaying with his family.

40kg of urgent spare parts needed to be delivered before 14:00 the next day in Birmingham, UK. However, his usual express van company was unable to meet this deadline by road.

Fortunately, our contacts were still saved in his phone and he had the presence of mind to ring us. Given the short deadline, great distance and limited weight, we recommended a door-to-door On Board Courier solution.

What exactly is an On Board Courier?

How it works

On Board Courier, hand carry or simply OBC, is the fastest way to deliver urgent shipments all over the world.

A dedicated professional courier picks up your shipment and boards the next available regular passenger flight to the chosen destination. Shipments will travel either in the cabin or in the hold depending on their weight and dimensions. In either case, the courier clears customs on arrival and hand delivers the shipment for maximum speed and reliability.

The benefits of an OBC

It is an ideal solution for urgent or fragile shipments and a single courier can take several parcels on board. The overall load can be equal to a standard pallet (up to c. 150kg) provided each parcel weighs no more than 20 or 30kg, depending on the airline.

OBC transport is not the preserve of long-haul flights; it is just as effective within Europe.

How is an OBC more effective than an express van?

Delivery speed differs significantly between an On Board Courier and an express van. Express vans have to deal with a number of road transport constraints (traffic, speed limits, road works, compulsory breaks for the driver) while air transport is speedier and more direct.

How fast can an express van deliver?

Road transport between Prague and Birmingham represents a journey of between 20 to 24 hours. This is why:

  • The two cities are 1,500km apart, which is a 16-hour journey minimum
  • Road transport constraints cannot be avoided so delivery time is increased (e.g. road works in Germany)
  • The journey involves crossing the Channel, which means additional waiting time upon entering the Channel Tunnel.

What about the OBC?

As you will see, an OBC can guarantee a much speedier delivery between Prague and Birmingham.

You can see below the actual schedule of our OBC operation:

  • 22:30 – pickup near Prague
  • 06:50 – direct flight departure from Vienna airport
  • 08:20 – flight arrival at London Heathrow
  • 10:15 – shipment leaves the airport
  • 12:30 – delivery / consignee signs for the shipment

As the schedule indicates, the shipment landed in the UK in the morning and was delivered at 12:30, well before the 14:00 deadline.

Air transport therefore took a total of 14 hours (from 22:30 to 12:30) instead of 20 to 24 hours by road with an express van.

Important points

A door-to-door OBC solution is particularly suited to urgent deliveries across Europe or the world. It proves more effective than road transport over long distances and offers unbeatable delivery times.

This is how the OBC managed to shave 6 to 10 hours on usual road time frames and delivered in time in our above example, sparing the company half a day’s production loss.

Our client was thus able to enjoy his family holiday without worrying about possible road delays or other uncertainties that a 1,500km journey with Channel crossing could imply.

Have you already had a similar experience? Find out more about our On Board Courier solution or send us a web request.

*** Covid-19: possible restrictions for on board courier to the United Kingdom – Contact ATC to check the feasibility and the rules in force at the time of booking ***