Nope, all you need to do is just walk into any AASP or Apple Store, and they can set it all up. They'll create the repair probably that day, figure one or two days for a box to get from the fulfillment warehouse to get to the store, then another day or two for the box to get to the depot, they usually turn units around inside a single day (because Apple forces them to stock a huge inventory of parts, but everyone else is expected to use a JIT methodology), then another day or two to make it back... So that's why I figure you plan on about a week. If possible, you can go in on like a Sunday, so that the repair is processed first thing Monday. Then it shouldn't be an issue getting it back by the following Friday. Just tell wherever it is you go that you want to do a flat rate mail-in repair, and put back the original hardware if you've got it before you check it in.
And yes, there are cases where the MLB (in North America anyway) is only available via flat rate repairs. Apple's BS excuse for this is to ensure quick turn around times, which makes no sense when you think about it. I've been told by a nameless source inside Apple, that at least in the case of the 2010 Air's, there's an issue with the MLB that can be difficult to diagnose, since sometimes it also affects the I/O board. This didn't come to light until shortly after the new model Air launched, and then they very quickly yanked that part from availability for NA AASPs. At least if the issue has to do with not powering on or not booting. So basically they just don't want to cop to there being a defect that would probably warrant a recall if it were more widely known.
But the flat rate repair basically covers anything and everything. However, parts are divided up into different tiers based on cost. So like Tier 2 parts would be RAM, HDD, ODD, etc. Tier 3 is like specific display clamshells and like the MLB for Air's. Then Tier 4 covers everything else. They can declare a unit uneconomical to repair if it needs more than about 3 parts in total. I never could get anyone to give me a straight answer as to whether that is 3 parts in a given tier, or just in total, so I assumed in total. Any time Apple's people started getting squirrely with me, I figured I was treading on ground that they're not supposed to talk about. Anyway, if all you have wrong is a bum MLB, you should be fine.
I'm sure Apple wouldn't be happy my giving out that level of detail, but they have annoyed me sufficiently that they can kiss my arse.
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