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Facts about Cremation Urn Air Travel

It may come to be necessary to transport cremation remains by air in an urn. However, in this day and age, the need for increased security at airports may present an obstacle for family members seeking to transport the remains of a loved one. However, the airline and airport both have an obligation to protect the passengers that they carry, and so itís best to know some facts about how they operate, so that your journey can be a smooth one.

Buy another urn: Itís not that the one you have isnít good enough, but because most airlines inspect items for explosives or other contraband by X-ray detection, and because there is no international standard for funeral urns which can be scanned by X-ray machines, itís possible that they may be unable to properly inspect the urn youíre using to transport the deceasedís remains. This may prevent you from being able to carry it on the plane as carry-on luggage, or it may prevent the urn from being brought on the plane at all. To ward this problem off, itís recommended that you buy a temporary or permanent urn that can be scanned by an X-ray machine. Most manufacturers whose urns can be X-rayed will say so. In general, urn materials that will pass inspection are woods, paper, plastic, cardboard, marble and non-lead-lined ceramics. They should also be thin enough not to interfere with the image generated by the X-ray machine.

Respect for the remains: Even if given express permission by the family, airline officials will never, under any circumstances, open the urn to inspect the contents. This is done out of respect for the deceasedís remains. Even so, the urn must still be screened for the potential of containing explosives or other contraband, and the airline is within their rights to refuse transport for an urn whose safety cannot be verified. In addition, all urns to be brought aboard a plane must be checked, one way or another; even a signed letter from the funeral home that processed the deceasedís body will not be enough to bypass that step.

Ask first: You should always check that you can bring an urn aboard the plane with you, because some airlines will not permit urns (and/or the ashes they contain) to be carried aboard an aircraft under any circumstances. In that case, alternative forms of transport for the urn must be arranged.

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