With the increase in cremations, there has also been an increase in the number of people traveling by air with the cremated remains. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued rules that apply in this situation: Cremated remains may be transported as part of the carry-on luggage or as checked baggage, if allowed by the particular airlines. You will need to check with the airline to determine what its rules require.
Delta, JetBlue and United all require a death certificate or official transit letter from the cremation provider. Southwest only allows cremated remains as carry-on luggage.
The container for the remains must be capable of allowing TSA screeners to x-ray and see its contents. These normally consist of lightweight plastic, wood or cardboard with a plastic bag liner. If the TSA screener cannot view the contents, the remains will not be allowed through the checkpoint.
There are apocryphal tales of TSA agents opening containers and spilling remains at checkpoints, so avoid this possibility by using an approved temporary container while you are traveling, and a more permanent urn once you arrive back home.
Cremated remains also can also be shipped by U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail Express® Service, which will track the remains to their destination. At the current time, neither UPS nor FedEx will accept cremated remains for shipment.
Should you want additional information, I recommend you check Gail Rubin’s blog, “The Family Plot Blog.” Gail has also authored an excellent book on this and other related topics called A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.
If you have questions or need assistance, please call our office at 405-843-6100 or 913-385-9400 to schedule a complimentary appointment.