Navigating Air Travel with Ashes

/ August 31, 2021/ Cremation Urns

Dealing with the death of a loved one comes with many challenges, both emotional and practical. The services have concluded, family and friends are saying their goodbyes, and your loved one’s ashes are being prepared for their final resting place. When that final place involves flying, here are some guidelines on how to transport cremated remains and urns with safety and dignity in mind.

In most cases, you are allowed to travel on a plane with cremains. This can be in a checked bag or carry-on bags. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends travelers use carry-on baggage for transporting ashes and urns. Checked baggage may be jostled about as it moves along conveyor belts. Carry-on bags are better able to protect your precious contents.

Make certain the container can pass through the mandatory x–ray screening. Transparent plastic containers are a great option if you are temporarily storing cremains outside of an urn until you reach your final destination. Most wood or non-lead lined ceramic urns can also pass through the TSA’s security screenings. The TSA will never open the cremation container out of respect for the deceased and their family. That is why choice of an urn that can pass through screening is essential.

Bring appropriate documentation. This may include an official signed copy of the death certificate or certificate of cremation provided by the funeral home or crematorium.

Check with your airline for specific protocols when transporting ashes. These major airlines offer the following information on their respective websites about traveling with human remains.

American Airlines ( When you travel with cremated remains, they’ll be treated as your carry-on bag. No special documentation is needed if you’re traveling domestically, but please contact a local consulate or burial advisor if you’re traveling internationally since the rules vary. Our TLC Specialists can also help handle the transportation of non-cremated remains and will work directly with funeral homes and mortuaries to make necessary arrangements.

Delta Airlines ( You can carry on or check cremated remains. A death or cremation certificate is required. If you’d like to carry them on with you, they must pass through the x-ray machine. If the container is metal and prevents the screener from clearly being able to see what’s inside, it will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. You can check cremated remains, as long as they pass through security screening. Standard checked bag fees apply. For more information about this regulation, you can visit the TSA website.

Southwest Airlines ( Southwest Airlines will not accept human remains as checked baggage; however, a Customer may take cremated remains onboard a domestic U.S. or international flight as a carryon item under certain conditions. We recommend that cremated remains be presented for transport in a temporary plastic or cardboard container.

It is important to accept that a using temporary container to travel your loved one’s ashes is just a part of the process. The caring professionals at Cremation Keepsakes can answer any questions you have about traveling with ashes. Once you have arrived at your destination, choosing a cremation urn or keepsake plaque is the perfect way to honor the legacy of the deceased. We can customized a beautiful cremation plaque keepsake urn to reflect the special life of your loved one. Call Cremation Keepsakes (314) 831-8868 or order your personalized wall urn online today.

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