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Celebrating a Life: Blog

    Traveling with Cremated Remains: What You Need to Know

    Posted by Jim Busch February 23, 2017

    Following the loss of a loved one, you may need to travel with cremated remains. However, maneuvering through airport security can lead to additional emotional stress to those in mourning. 

    If you or someone you know is planning on traveling with cremated remains, continue reading to learn how you can ensure your loved one’s remains are treated with respect and properly handled through airport security.

    Purchase a Temporary Container

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) understands the emotional stress that grieving passengers are under, and as a result, established a clear procedure for screening and handling cremated remains. These procedures are sensitive and keep passenger’s safety in mind.

    All crematory containers are subject to x-ray screening to ensure sensitive items are not being exploited for illegal use. If the contents of the container cannot be determined, TSA officers reserve the right to prohibit your loved one’s remains. However, under no circumstances is a TSA officers permitted to open a crematory container during inspection.

    To ease the experience and reduce the risk of being denied, TSA advises that grieving travelers purchase a temporary container for your loved one’s remains. The container should be made of a lighter-weight material, such as wood, cardboard or plastic so that its contents can be easily identified.

    Consult With Your Airline About Specific Regulations

    When traveling with your loved one’s remains, it is wise to inform your airline and TSA officers prior to traveling so that your sensitive items are properly handled. Each airline has a specific policy for traveling with cremains. Grieving travelers should verify policy terms with their airline to ensure an easier travel experience during the difficult time.

    Listed below are several airlines and their respective policies regarding traveling with human remains:

    • American Airlines – All cremains are treated as carry-on bags, and no special documentation is required for domestic travel.
    • Delta Airlines – Cremains may be checked or treated as carry-on bags. Special documentation such as a death or cremation certificate is required. All carry-on bags are subject to x-ray screening.
    • Frontier Airlines – Cremated remains are not accepted.
    • United Airlines – Cremains are treated as carry-on bags. The airline recommends traveling with appropriate documentation for TSA screening.

    Tips for International Travel

    You may face additional obstacles if you are traveling internationally, so it is important to plan ahead. In addition to the actions outlined above, the Cremation Association of North America suggests international travelers:

    • Contact the embassy for the country you are traveling to and verify all legal requirements.
    • Ensure you have required authorization and forms.
    • Plan in advance as the process may take more than two weeks.

    At Busch Funeral and Crematory Services, we understand the emotional stress you may be under while traveling with the remains of a loved one. To learn more about how you can ease the experience, speak to one of our compassionate staff members today.

    Contact Busch

    Topics: Cremation

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