Back in the dark ages, we had two data centers maybe 40 miles apart, connected by a state-of-the-art 56KB line. Management wanted to move data over this channel, the usual method had been to drive magnetic tape up the highway in a station wagon. We implemented the desired functionality, but management was disappointed at the slow throughput. We did the math and showed how a station wagon full of mag tape had much higher bandwidth than the comm line. We named the comm program STAWGN.
Yep, I remember station wagon full of mag tape being the standard unit for large data transfers. Somewhat after that, somebody decided to up the ante, and was talking about a 747 full of CD-roms.
At one point early in my career before FedEx took off with world wide next day delivery, somebody in Europe wanted a tape of a bug fix for the DG/L compiler I was working on, and the company had just put in X.25 connections to its overseas offices. We did a back of the envelope calculation, that it would be cheaper and faster to pay for a round trip ticket across the pond and hand carry the data, than it would be to upload it. I believe the customer decided they could live with delivery out 2-3 days, and we did a normal package mail.
Speaking of using airplanes, one of my coworkers in a previous job was saying at times she would have to fly to the fab in Japan, and get two carry on suitcases filled of the first tape-out of whatever the new chip was and fly back first class (to get more carry on space) to the home base so the company could begin system bring up ASAP. She could carry nothing in carry on luggage, as all of that space was reserved for chips, and it was extremely important that the new chips never leave her custody, which is why FedEx, etc. wasn't used.