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Can I airfreight magnets?

Correct classification of magnets requires accurate measurements, which supermagnete cannot provide. Magnets are generally considered dangerous goods and can only be shipped by airfreight under certain circumstances. The United Nations lists magnets under UN2807, Class 9.

When in doubt, we recommend avoiding airfreight.

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Magnet package rules issued by IATA

According to IATA (International Air Transport Association) Packing Guideline 953 (formerly 902), a shipment with magnets falls under one of three categories:

1. Airfreight prohibited (magnetic field too large)

If the package with the magnets (including magnetic shielding packaging) creates a magnetic field of more than 0,00525 gauss (=5,25 mG = 0,525 µT) at a distance of 4,6 metres (in any direction), the transport of the package via air freight is generally prohibited.

2. Shipment unproblematic (magnetic field very small)

The second and more stringent test requires that at a distance of 2,1 metres from the package a magnetic field of less than 0,002 gauss (2 mG = 0,2 µT) is created.
If the package passes this test, the content is considered "not magnetised" for transport purposes and the package can be shipped. In that case, it is recommended to attach a shipping declaration that confirms the package passed the stricter test and therefore can be regarded as non-magnetic. This can avoid possible delays due to inspections by authorities.

3. Shipment as declared dangerous goods (for all other cases)

If the package falls between the two categories, meaning the first test was passed but not the stricter second one, the package must be declared as dangerous goods, which will lead to higher shipping costs and additional work. Also, there are certain airports that cannot be used in this case.

The aim is, therefore, to pass the stricter second test and airfreight the package without special measures. The big problem with this packing regulation lies in the fact that this measurement can only be done with expensive special equipment. Most magnetic field measuring devices cannot measure such weak magnetic fields.
A correct classification requires accurate measurements, which supermagnete cannot provide. When in doubt, we recommend avoiding airfreight. If the shipment is sent by means other than airfreight (train, truck, ship, etc.), magnets are not considered dangerous goods.

Neodymium magnets

Neodymium magnets create a far-reaching and strong magnetic field. The mandatory tests must be carried out accurately to prevent any risks as well as monetary fines from the aeronautical authority.

Ferrite magnets

Ferrite magnets create a much weaker magnetic field than neodymium magnets. Therefore, it takes less effort to pass the mandatory tests.

Magnetic sheets, magnetic tapes, C-profiles

Magnetic sheets, magnetic tapes and magnetic C-profiles produce a much weaker magnetic field than neodymium magnets. Therefore, they pass the required tests much easier.

How to pack magnets for air freight shipment

On our FAQ page 'Can I send magnets by mail?', we show you different options for packing magnets. These packing methods are also suitable for shipping by airfreight – if necessary, you can combine these methods. However, we cannot guarantee that shipping by air will always be possible with these packing methods.
Please also note: As mentioned at the beginning of this page, precise measurements must be taken to determine the correct classification for shipping by air freight. Unfortunately, we are unable to take these measurements for you.

Are magnets allowed in carry-on baggage?

There is no general answer to this question as regulations differ by airline. Airlines such as Swiss or Lufthansa state in the regulations regarding dangerous items that strongly magnetic materials and objects are prohibited in hand baggage. However, there are no precise specifications regarding the strength of the magnets. Therefore, we cannot provide you with legally sound advice at this point. Please check with your airline before your flight.