Can You Carry Human Ashes on a Plane?

Hey there my fellow travel enthusiasts and welcome to a somewhat somber post where we will check out the answer to a question that is commonly asked – can you carry human ashes on a plane? The short answer is yes, you can however when it comes to traveling with the cremated remains of a loved one, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding their transportation.


According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), cremated remains can be brought through airport security checkpoints as long as they are in a container made of wood, plastic or non-lead lined ceramic. Metal containers, including urns made of brass or bronze, are not allowed due to their ability to interfere with x-ray machines. It’s also important to note that the container must be able to be x-rayed and must fit through the security checkpoint scanner.

How To Carry Human Ashes on a Plane

So, for those of you looking to take that final journey with someone you have farewelled, let’s check out the process and steps below:

Check Airline Policies

When it comes to traveling with an urn, it’s important to understand the policies of the airline you’re flying with. While there are no specific regulations prohibiting the transportation of cremated remains on a plane, each airline has its own set of rules and guidelines that must be followed.

Some airlines allow passengers to carry urns as carry-on or checked baggage, while others require that they be shipped as cargo. It’s important to note that international flights may have different regulations compared to domestic flights.

Before traveling, passengers should contact their airline to inquire about their specific policies regarding urns. It’s also recommended to check with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ensure that the urn and its contents comply with their guidelines.

Check TSA Regulations

When it comes to carrying urns on a plane, there are certain regulations that one needs to follow. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set specific rules and guidelines for carrying urns through security checkpoints. The TSA allows passengers to carry urns as a carry-on or checked baggage, as long as they meet certain requirements. All urns must pass through the security screening process and be inspected by a TSA officer.

TSA officers are trained to handle urns with care and respect. They understand the emotional significance of carrying an urn and will do their best to ensure that the urn is handled properly during the security screening process.

Other regulatory requirements include:

  • TSA Approved Urns – It is recommended that passengers use TSA approved urns, which are designed to pass through security screening without any issues. These urns are made of materials that do not trigger alarms and are easy to inspect. If a passenger chooses to use a non-TSA approved urn, it must be compliant with TSA regulations. The urn must be made of a material that does not obscure the contents and must be able to be X-rayed.
  • Security Screening – Passengers carrying urns must go through the same security checkpoint process as other passengers. The urn must be removed from the carry-on bag and placed in a separate bin for screening. The urn will go through an X-ray machine and may need to be opened for inspection by a TSA officer. If the urn cannot be X-rayed, the passenger may request a physical inspection.

And finally, it is important to note that certain items, such as cremated remains in a cardboard box or plastic bag, are prohibited from being carried on a plane. These items must be checked in as baggage.

Check out these: TSA-Approved Urns

Can You Carry Human Ashes on a Plane - ceramic urns

Communicating with Airlines and TSA

When it comes to traveling with an urn, it is important to communicate with the airlines and TSA to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. While there are no specific regulations regarding traveling with cremated remains, it is still important to follow certain guidelines to avoid any potential issues.

One of the best ways to communicate with airlines and TSA is by contacting their customer service or contact center. This allows travelers to ask any questions they may have and receive accurate and up-to-date information regarding their specific situation. Additionally, airlines and TSA may have specific policies and procedures that travelers should be aware of before traveling with an urn.

Another option for communicating with airlines and TSA is through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook Messenger. Many airlines and TSA have dedicated social media accounts that can provide quick and helpful responses to any inquiries. This can be especially helpful for travelers who may not have access to a phone or email.

When communicating with airlines and TSA, it is important to be clear and confident in your inquiries. Providing specific details about the urn and its contents can help ensure that the airline and TSA are aware of what to expect. Additionally, travelers should be prepared to provide any necessary documentation or paperwork, such as a death certificate or cremation certificate.

Required Documentation

When traveling with an urn, it is important to have the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience at the airport. The following documentation is typically required:

  • Death certificate: This document serves as proof of the deceased’s passing and is required to transport the urn on a plane.
  • Certificate of cremation: This document is issued by the crematorium and verifies that the remains in the urn are those of the deceased.
  • Cremation certificate: This document confirms that the cremation was conducted in accordance with local laws and regulations.

It is important to note that the specific documentation requirements may vary depending on the airline and destination. It is recommended to check with the airline in advance to ensure that all necessary documentation is obtained.

Additionally, it is highly recommended to work with a licensed funeral director when transporting an urn on a plane. A funeral director can provide guidance on the necessary documentation, as well as ensure that the urn is properly packaged and labeled.

Special Considerations for International Travel

When traveling internationally with an urn, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind. It is important to research the laws and regulations of the country you are traveling to and from, as well as any countries you may be passing through during your journey.

Some countries may have specific requirements for transporting human remains, including urns. For example, some countries may require a special permit or certificate to transport the urn across their borders. It is also important to check if there are any restrictions on the type of urn that can be brought into the country.

In addition to researching the laws and regulations, it is also recommended to contact the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting. They can provide valuable information and assistance with navigating the process of traveling with an urn.

Screening Process at the Airport

As above, when traveling with an urn, it will need to go through the airport’s security screening process. This process involves placing the urn on the conveyor belt to go through the X-ray machine.

The X-ray machine will create an opaque image of the urn, allowing the TSA agent to see what is inside. If the agent cannot see inside the urn clearly, they may need to open it for further inspection.

It is important to note that the TSA does not allow passengers to open the urn during the screening process. If the urn needs to be opened for any reason, the TSA agent will do so in a private area and with the passenger’s consent.

If the urn contains any items that are not allowed on the plane, such as liquids or sharp objects, they will need to be removed before the urn can be cleared for travel.

Types of Urns Suitable for Air Travel

When it comes to air travel with an urn, it’s important to choose the right type of urn to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey. There are several types of urns that are suitable for air travel, ranging from traditional wooden urns to lightweight plastic options. These are outlined as follows:

  • Wooden urns are a popular choice for those looking for a more traditional and elegant option. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be personalized with engravings or other decorations. However, wooden urns can be quite heavy, which may not be ideal for air travel.
  • Plastic urns, on the other hand, are a lighter weight option that can be a great choice for air travel. They are available in a range of colors and designs, and can be easily transported in carry-on luggage or checked baggage. Plastic urns are also a more affordable option, making them a popular choice for many people.

When traveling with an urn, it’s important to ensure that it is in a suitable container. The permanent crematory container provided by the crematorium is often suitable for air travel, but it’s important to check with the airline before traveling. If the permanent container is not suitable, a temporary container can be used instead.

Can You Carry Human Ashes on a Plane - wooden urns

Packing Cremated Remains

If you plan to pack cremated remains in your checked baggage, it is recommended to place the urn in a sturdy container and wrap it in a plastic bag or other protective material. This will help prevent any damage that may occur during transport. It is also important to label the container with the name of the deceased and the contact information of the person transporting the remains.

If you plan to carry the cremated remains in your carry-on baggage, it is important to inform the TSA officer at the checkpoint. The urn will need to go through the X-ray machine and may require additional screening. It is also recommended to pack the urn in a sturdy container and wrap it in a plastic bag or other protective material to prevent any damage.

In either case, it is important to note that the TSA may request to inspect the cremated remains. It is recommended to arrive at the airport early to allow for any additional screening time.

Weight Considerations

When it comes to traveling with an urn, weight is another crucial factor to consider. Airlines have strict weight restrictions for carry-on and checked luggage, and an urn can add significant weight to your luggage.

The weight of an urn varies depending on the material it is made of, its size, and the amount of ashes it contains. A typical urn made of metal or marble can weigh anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds. Ceramic and glass urns are usually lighter, weighing between 1 to 5 pounds.

If you plan to carry the urn as a carry-on, make sure it meets the airline’s weight restrictions. Most airlines allow a maximum weight of 7 to 10 kg (15 to 22 pounds) for carry-on luggage. If the urn exceeds this weight limit, you may have to check it in as luggage.

When checking in an urn as luggage, it is important to ensure that it is securely packed to prevent any damage during transit. The weight of the urn should also be within the airline’s checked luggage weight limit, which is usually between 20 to 32 kg (44 to 70 pounds).

It is also essential to check with the airline if they have any specific requirements for carrying an urn. Some airlines may require a death certificate or a cremation certificate, while others may have specific guidelines for packing and carrying urns.

Miscellaneous Information

When it comes to traveling with an urn on a plane, there are a few miscellaneous details to keep in mind. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Final Decision: Ultimately, the final decision on whether an urn can be brought onto a plane rests with the TSA officer. They have the authority to make the call based on their interpretation of the rules and any extenuating circumstances.
  • Restrictions: It’s important to note that there may be restrictions on where the urn can be placed on the plane. For example, it may need to be stored in an overhead bin or beneath the seat in front of you.
  • Flying with Ashes: If the urn contains ashes, it’s important to make sure they are securely sealed and packaged to prevent any spills or leaks. This is especially important if the ashes are not contained within a sealed plastic bag.
  • Funeral Homes: If you’re unsure about the rules and regulations surrounding flying with an urn, it may be helpful to consult with a funeral home. They can provide guidance and advice on how to properly transport the urn and any related paperwork.
  • TSA Policy: The TSA has a specific policy regarding traveling with cremated remains. According to their website, “passengers are allowed to transport crematory remains as part of their carry-on baggage or checked baggage.” However, they also note that “it is recommended that the container be made of a lighter weight material, such as wood or plastic.”
  • Cake: It’s worth noting that some airlines may have restrictions on bringing cake or other food items onto the plane. If you’re planning on transporting a cake to a funeral or memorial service, it’s important to check with the airline beforehand to see if there are any restrictions or guidelines that need to be followed.

Overall, traveling with an urn on a plane is possible, but it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding the process. By taking the time to properly package and transport the urn, and by consulting with a funeral home or airline representative if needed, it’s possible to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey.


Do you need permission to take ashes on a plane?

No, permission is not required to take ashes on a plane. However, it is recommended to inform the airline beforehand and carry the necessary documentation to avoid any issues during security checks.

What paperwork do you need to take ashes on a plane?

The necessary paperwork may vary depending on the airline and the destination. Generally, it is recommended to carry the death certificate, cremation certificate and a certificate of the urn’s contents. It is important to check with the airline and the destination country’s regulations for any additional requirements.


There you have it, my steps on how to fly with an urn. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences here.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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