American Airlines is gearing up for one of its busiest holidays of the year, shipping flowers, plants, chocolates and gifts around the globe as millions prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Although American ships flowers and other perishable goods year round, the first half of February is especially busy for the carrier. Throughout 2017, the airline shipped more than 8.2 million kg of flowers alone, roughly 22.7 tonnes each day – putting it into perspective, a typical flower weighs less than 10 grams.
The most popular flowers around Valentine’s Day tend to be carnations, mini-carnations, roses and tropical flowers, like calla lilies, according to American.
While Valentine’s Day flowers come from countries all across the world, they’re one of the most popular exports from Latin America – particularly Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia.
In 2017, American Airlines Cargo shipped more than 4.5 million kg of flowers out of Amsterdam (AMS) into the US. That total is expected to grow in 2018 now that the airline has implemented a new direct seasonal service from AMS to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), providing additional support for the growing flower business. For people celebrating Valentine’s Day, this means even faster delivery of fresh, beautiful flowers straight from Europe’s largest floral producer, the airline added.
Thanks to Valentine’s Day and other major holidays, like Mother’s Day and the Chinese New Year, demand for Valentine’s Day flowers in the US remains steady, while the carrier has seen an increased demand for flowers across the rest of the American network, from places in Central America to China, Japan and the UK, and then from Europe to North America.
American Airlines Cargo is continually improving its systems and protocol to ensure fast delivery of perishables like flowers. In June 2017, the airline added a new option for a protective shield for flower shipments that helps them maintain the highest possible quality throughout the journey. No matter where they are sent, flower shipments are always boarded with a high priority to avoid delays and exposure to any harsh temperatures, American said.
“Transporting delicate, fresh-cut flowers across the globe certainly requires a lot of attention and care,” said David Vance, American’s vice president of Cargo Operations.
“We have to constantly monitor minimum and maximum temperature exposure throughout the entire routing process, and we have to meet very specific requirements to help ensure every flower’s freshness is properly preserved. But this extra care is worthwhile – that’s how we make it possible for people around the world to send and receive things, like delicate chocolates and fresh roses, as if they were made, or picked, that same day.”