May 2015 Blog Post
Transporting cremated human remains may require a lot of decisions, planning, and steps.
There are a variety of documents that will be required, such as death certificate, certificate of cremation, various authorization forms, etc., and you may need assistance from a licensed funeral director to send and/or receive the cremated remains.
It can be a sensitive matter and a frustrating process to try to transport the cremated remains of a loved one; however, understanding the rules and requirements often have a basis in ensuring proper care for your loved one’s remains, as well as abiding by local customs and traditions.
Transporting Urn Materials
Passengers may transport crematory remains in their carry-on or checked baggage.
Please be aware that not all airlines allow remains as checked baggage, so find out the regulations first.
If you need to take an urn through screening as a carry-on item, this is what the TSA policy states:
If you carry on the crematory remains, they are subject to screening and must pass through the X-ray machine. There are no circumstances in which a TSA officer should open the transportation urn or container, even if the passenger requests this.
Traveling with a carry-on or checked bag which contains cremated remains, human or otherwise, requires special precautions and adhering to the airlines’ rules. And one should know that rules may vary depending on the airline. This information can be found by searching the airline website for “cremated remains”.
As far as selecting the appropriate urn for transporting, it is understandable that most people want to choose a decorative urn for the remains of their loved one. However, when it comes to transporting the ashes, you should avoid easily breakable materials, such as glass or ceramic.
Another thing to consider is the weight, as you want to travel as lightly as possible. As far as the size of the urn container, smaller will be better, especially for a carry-on transfer.
Better options for transportation would be a plastic cremation urn, biodegradable cremation urn, an urn or container made of cardboard, cloth, or possibly a wood urn.
Since the urn will most likely need to be x-rayed, as TSA agents should not open the urn as an alternative inspection method, it may get rejected if it cannot be examined by x-ray. Make sure you stay away from any lead-lined containers.
Please remember: If the urn is not scan-able, it may not be cleared during the inspection, even if you have all the supporting documentation for its contents.
As a general rule, always double-check with your specific airline before booking your flight and allow extra time at the airport in case the TSA agents need to review your documentation, which you should carry with the urn package and you.
When in need of a Lancaster PA cremation or memorial urn for ashes, please visit our selection right here: https://www.debordsnyder.com/product-category/urns/
For all your questions regarding the transportation of crematory remains, reach out to the TSA Contact Center: 866-289-9673.