The easiest way to travel with cremated remains is to pack them in your checked luggage; however, you need to check with the airline on their policy since some airlines will not accept cremated remains in checked luggage, while others may only accept it as checked luggage.
If you prefer to carry them on, and are permitted to do so, you have to be sure that the container will pass successfully through airport security. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers are not permitted to open urns to verify the contents. So, if the container won’t pass through security, you might miss your flight.
- Scan-able containers include cardboard, fiberboard, plastic, and wood.
- Non-scan-able include metal, stone, and ceramic.
While not required, it is a smart idea to bring the paperwork that accompanied the ashes from the crematory provider. Often the container comes with a statement of its contents affixed to the container or inside.
Another option is mailing through the US Postal Service. No other carrier (UPS, Fed-EX, DHL, etc.) will knowingly accept cremated remains. USPS requires that they be in a strong, durable and stiff-proof container with “Cremated Remains” marked on the address side next to the shipping label. Mail sent to domestic addresses must be sent using Priority Mail Express service.
Learn more about the Do's and Don'ts of Traveling with and Mailing Cremated Remains and Scattering Ashes.
This post was originally published by the Funeral Consumer Alliance or Princeton.