After a direct cremation, family members may wish to honor the deceased loved one by transporting cremated ashes to their home. You may also want to scatter the cremated remains in one of their favorite destinations. For this reason, you may find that you need to fly with your loved one’s ashes but aren’t entirely sure how to go about it.
Here’s all you need to know about transporting cremation ashes on a plane.
Is Transporting Cremated Ashes Legal?
Yes, transporting cremated ashes on a plane is legal. However, you have to meet specific airline and TSA requirements.
- The cremation urn must have a material that allows x-ray screening at the airport
- The ashes can get on the plane by checking luggage or a carry-on
- You must have the proper documentation to show proof of cremation services
- Ensure the urn’s weight meets the carry-on or checked baggage requirements
Preparation Tips When Transporting Cremated Ashes
Here’s a list of things you can do before flying with the cremated remains:
- Confirm the urn’s material is permissible at the airport. For instance, wood, fabric, and temporary urns are acceptable.
- Gather all necessary paperwork. Check with your airline for exact requirements. Generally, you’ll require a certificate of cremation and a copy of the death certificate.
- Consider speaking to a TSA customer service agent if you have any concerns
- Talk to the funeral home that provided the cremation services. The funeral director may be able to assist.
- It’s best to get to the airport earlier than you usually would in case of additional screening.
Airlines That Allow Cremated Remains on Planes
The following airlines allow the transportation of cremated remains.
- American Airlines – AA does not require a burial transit permit or any other special documentation. However, you must meet specific packaging guidelines. These include a metal urn for inner packaging and cardboard for the outer one and proper labeling with details of the destination country, deceased name, and Air Waybill number.
- Delta – This airline requires a cremation or death certificate. Also, you can choose to use a carry-on, check-in, or ship the cremated remains. We highly recommend inquiring from the airline in advance whether you are eligible for their bereavement fare.
- Southwest Airlines – This airline allows you to transport ashes in a carry-on for local and international flights.
- United Airlines – This airline allows the transport of ashes using the QuickPak cargo service. To book, contact their TrustUA desk. They also offer veterans special services to honor them through a water cannon salute.
- Alaska – This airline allows carry-on and requires you to show the death certificate.
What Documentation Will You Require?
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to check with the specific airline. Typically, you will require:
- A certified copy of the death certificate- the funeral home or cremation service will provide you with this document as it is a prerequisite for cremation
- Cremation certificate
- A burial transit permit- essential for interstate or international flights
Carry-On or Checked Luggage, Which Is Better?
Transporting the ashes in a checked suitcase means that the urn’s safety is not under your control. Since mishandling such luggage isn’t uncommon, this may not be the ideal way to fly your loved one’s ashes. Therefore, a carry-on is a much safer option because you will know where the ashes are at all times and will be the one handling them.
Is Shipping Cremated Remains an Option?
Shipping cremated remains is an ideal option if none of the family members can afford to travel. Currently, only the US Postal Service offers this option through the Priority Mail Express service for international and domestic shipping. Also, you must meet the following shipping and packaging requirements beforehand:
- The inner container carrying the ashes must be sift-proof. You may use a temporary urn for domestic shipping. However, permanent urns are non-negotiable for international transport.
- It’s best to attach a label on the inner packaging as it will prove helpful if the outer sticker comes off.
- It would be wise to add cushioning items to act as a shock absorber.
- Order the USPS cremated remains container, specially made to handle the shocks.
We hope this post has answered all your questions regarding flying cremated remains. While we highlighted the current airline requirements, it’s always best to visit their website or call their customer support for the most accurate information. Remember, Florida Family Cremations strives to ensure that transporting cremated ashes of your loved one goes smoothly.
After a simple cremation, we can provide you with a durable and TSA-allowed cremation urn to carry during domestic flights and international ones. If you have questions about cremation services in Clearwater, including veterans’ services and ashes handling, do not hesitate to call us.