Flying With Cremated Remains

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, February 26, 2024

Traveling with cremated remains, or cremains can have its challenges. Whether you are moving to a new state or country or bringing your loved one home with you, it is important to understand the procedures so that you can plan ahead. Planning ahead can help you avoid some security issues on what is likely going to be an emotional trip for you anyway. 

Purchase a Temporary Urn

The TSA has strict rules as to the opening of cremated remains. Out of respect for the deceased, TSA officers are not allowed to open urns, even if requested by you. However, many urns are made of materials that can be impossible to scan via x-ray. Because of this, the TSA requires that you bring the cremains in a wooden or plastic urn. If the TSA sees an unscannable urn, you simply will not be able to bring it with you. 

Keep the Remains in Your Carry-On Bag

Generally, cremains should be brought in your carry-on bag. Because there is always a risk of bags being lost or damaged, it is safer to keep the urn with you.

Consult the Airline’s Rules

Depending on the airline you choose to fly with, you may have different restrictions regarding cremains. Not all airlines have the same rules in place. Be sure to check the website of the airline you are flying with for further details and instructions. You should do this before choosing the airline you want to fly with so you can find one whose regulations fit your needs.

Bring Official Cremation Documentation

Official documentation of the cremains from your funeral home or cremation provider is helpful in helping reduce issues from the TSA. Generally, this paperwork will not prevent the urn from being subject to x-ray scanning. The paperwork can also be important in the event that your destination has stricter requirements regarding cremated remains. Overall, having the death certificate and the certificate of cremation handy can reduce concerns about misuse.

Plan Ahead for Longer Security Checks

Generally, it is always best to get to the airport early to give yourself time to go through security. But, you should give yourself additional time if you are traveling with cremated remains. You may also want to sign up for the TSA’s precheck program, as it may help reduce your overall security check time. 

Check Your Destination's Regulations

It is also important to look into any regulations regarding cremains in your target destination. This is especially important if you are traveling internationally. 

Consider Mailing Cremains Instead

You may also want to consider mailing the cremains to the destination instead. If you have someone who can receive the remains at the destination, this can be a good way to avoid TSA complications. Cremains can be in any urn when shipped via USPS. The remains must be shipped via Priority Express Mail. A special label is used for cremated remains so that the workers know to handle the box with extra care.

For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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