The loss of loved ones is an emotional experience and adding in the additional stress of flight and airport security to the process is a lot for some to handle.
Learning the rules for traveling with cremains can lessen an already precarious emotional state. Knowing what to expect from the airline can make the trip a little less taxing mentally and emotionally.
Running a ocean ash scattering company in Florida means that many of my customers are in the process of scattering ashes of their loved one, often in multiple locations. During this time it is often necessary to fly with the ashes.
Believe me that the last thing you want is to be held up at the airport or even miss your flight. Luckily if you follow some simple guidelines and remember some key tips your flight will go on as planned.
Most airlines will allow you to transport cremated remains, but not all. Always check with your airline beforehand for their rules regarding transporting human cremains.
The airlines that allow you to bring the cremated remains with you will designate whether they allow carrying them as air cargo, checked luggage or as carry-on.
The Following Rules Apply For All Transport Of Cremains:
- Go to your airline’s website and search for “cremated remains”. To date, Southwest, American and Delta airlines all have “cremation friendly” policies.
- As some airlines require advance notice before flying with cremated remains and can refuse you if you don't comply, don't wait until travel day to check the airline's policies.
- Review the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements which mandate that the container or urn be able to be scanned. The TSA will not permit a container which returns an “opaque image” through security under any circumstances.
- Always arrive earlier than usual in case of a delay at security even if you're sure that you complied with all regulations.
- When going through security, in addition to your airline documents and personal ID, show the Death Certificate, Certificate of Cremation, other funeral related documentation and attach a copy to the container or urn.
- Take the time to check with a licensed funeral director both at your origin of travel and your destination to determine if there are local regulations that you must consider.
Always Make Sure To....
- Never use a cremation urn made of stone, granite, some ceramics and metal as these materials cannot be scanned by airport security.
- Use a scan-able urn for ashes like cardboard, fiberboard, cloth, plastic, transparent glass and wood. I highly recommend this TSA approved wood urn because of its durability and beauty. Amazon sells a quality urn at a great price.
Airline Specific Rules For Transporting Cremains
All airlines have slightly different rules so always ask your specific airline again before booking and allow extra time at the airport in case they need to review your documentation.
- Southwest is allowed but for carry on only.
- Delta is allowed with the death or cremation certificate.
- American Airlines is allowed.
- Frontier is allowed.
- Jet Blue is allowed with certified copy death certificate and funeral director/crematorium letter.
- Spirit is allowed.
- United is allowed.
- US Airways is allowed.
Always Consider Shipping Ahead
It is sometimes easier to ship the ashes instead of flying with human remains, which eliminates any airport special procedures. However this is a more costly choice as the shipping rate for cremated remains is around $80.
If you do plan to ship here are the USPS shipping instructions for human remains.
Remember To Scatter Some Or All Ashes Into The Ocean...
- The spiritual and physical connection we have with the ocean is powerful.
- Almost everyone has their own special bond with the ocean.
- Send your loved one around the world and back again, They will travel the ocean currents of the world until the end of time.