The first time I shipped, there was no requirement to be an approved shipper. I did everything myself,
The second time was after the attacks on the WTC, and security was considerably tighter.
Possibly that has eased now, but security in these days impacts all of us in some way, especially traveling
or shipping, especially internationally.
If you think this method might work for you, I suggest contacting AK Air directly,
and find out the current requirements well in advance of your trip.
If an approval is required, no telling how long it would take to do all the paperwork and submit, and wait for a reply.
If no approval is required, you can still find out current shipping costs and other requirements.
Either way, it is a pretty painless way to ship, especially when you compare amount of time and costs of crating,
and trucking or barge shipment.