What Do I Need for Flying with Cremated Remains?

Video Transcript

Some things are needed if you’re going to travel by air for transportation of cremated remains. If you’re traveling domestically, you can actually take the cremated remains with you. You can either carry them on board as one of your carry-on items in your carry-on bag or check them in as checked baggage. What would be needed to do that through the TSA is the actual cremation permit that accompanies the cremated remains when you receive them, and I would also carry a certified copy of the death certificate just as an extra precaution to identifying who this person is. The other thing is you want to make sure that the cremated remains are in a container that is x-ray-able. If you’re going to be travelling internationally, there are so many variations as to the type of requirements that are necessary. Check with your local funeral director and/or your secretary of state in your relationship to traveling to that country. I would identify what the requirements are in transporting cremated remains to your destination.


Answers from Other Funeral Directors Around the United States:

When flying with the cremated remains on a domestic flight, three things are required. Cremated remains must be carried on, and cannot be checked. Cremated remains must be in a container that can be x-rayed. Finally, cremated remains must be accompanied by the Certificate of Cremation (official document produced by the crematory). While flying with cremated remains on an international flight, different rules apply and you should contact the Consulate and/or embassy of that country.

- Abby Schilling
Funeral Director in Richfield, MN


The TSA may require a form to be completed, but not always. The certificate of cremation is required, and it is always a good idea to carry a copy of the certified death certificate when traveling.

- Jessica Watts
Funeral Director in Jacksonville, FL


You will need a burial transit permit, and those taking out of country flights should contact customs in their final destination for specific regulations.

- C. A. Bankston
Funeral Director in Fort Worth, TX


Notify the airline in advance to check with their policies. Sending them a copy of the death certificate and cremation permit may be a good idea as well.

- Michael Sollitto
Funeral Director in Charlotte, NC


There are different requirements for flying with cremated remains. For domestic travel, the TSA allows you to bring cremated remains onto the plane either in your carry on or in your checked luggage. You should carry a copy of the death certificate and a copy of the Disposition Permit, which will be given to you when you receive the cremated remains from our office. The urn should be made of a material that they can see through in an x-ray; acceptable materials are wood, composites, biodegradable paper, or plastic. There are no additional forms to fill out.
If you are planning to bring cremated remains on an international flight, you must first verify with the destination country what the requirements are for bringing in cremated remains. Different countries have different requirements; you must contact the Consulate before you travel. Some countries require you have special documents with the Apostille from the Secretary of State. You may also need a notarized letter from the Funeral Director, a letter from the health department stating that there is no threat from a contagious disease, a cremation certificate, and sometimes you may need to have documents translated. The costs vary, approximately $10 - $25 per document.

- Noel Hanna
Funeral Director in San Francisco, CA