Can You Bring Ashes (Cremated Remains) On a Plane?


  • You can bring ashes or cremated remains on planes, but there are some guidelines.
  • Choose the right container: Opt for X-ray-friendly materials like wood or plastic
  • Plan ahead: Check airline and TSA regulations.
  • Carry-on preferred: For peace of mind take the ashes as your carry-on bag.
  • Respectful handling: Airlines and the TSA treat ashes with respect, but procedures vary.

TSA Rules For Flights Within And From The USA

According to In 2022, 59 percent of Americans who died were cremated.

The TSA needs to have a section to regulate traveling with cremated remains to different destinations.

According to their website, you are allowed to bring cremated remains (ashes ) on a plane, either in your carry-on or in your checked baggage. However, there are some key points to keep in mind:

The container holding the ashes must be scannable by the X-ray machine.

This means that it should pick a TSA-compliant urn be made of a material that allows the X-ray to pass through, such as wood, plastic, or cardboard. 

Metal, ceramic, stone, or glass containers may not be scannable, and may prevent the TSA from clearing your ashes.

When presented to the TSA, the officer will not open the urn or the container holding the ashes, even if you permit them to do so, this is to respect the dignity and privacy of the deceased.

So, you should make sure that the container is properly sealed and labeled, and that you have the necessary document to prove that the ashes belong to you or your family member.

Do I Have To Take Out Ashes At Security?

No, you do not have to take out the ashes at security, as long as the container holding the ashes is scannable by the X-ray machine. 

But, you should inform the TSA officer that you have ashes in your carry-on or checked baggage, and show them the container and the documentation if they ask for it. 

The TSA agent will not open the container , but they may ask you to place the container on a separate tray or in a separate bin for screening.

If the container is not scannable, the TSA officer may not be able to clear your ashes, and you may have to find another way to transport them.

The @AskTSA Answers

I searched X (Formerly Twitter) to find more answers from the TSA team.

@Derek wonder if he can bring this small keepsake urn filled with his mother ashes in carry-on bag.

The @AskTSA team responded.

Cremated remains or ashes are lawed through the security checkpoint“, but he Weill need to place it in a spearer bin for X-ray screening.

The TSA officer might conduct additional screening if needed without opening the containers.

A bullet urn will not be allowed on board the airplane, as replica ammunition must be packed in checked bags.

Frequent Travel Recommendations.

To make your travel experience with ashes as smooth as possible, here are some frequent travel tips that you should follow:

  • Keep a copy of the death certificate and certificate of cremation in your phone.
  • You can use a light temporary container to take the ashes, and transfer them to an urn when you get to your destination.
  • Don’t pack your ashes in checked baggage.
  • Be prepared for any emotional reactions that you or others may have. Traveling with ashes can be a difficult and emotional experience, especially if you are grieving or honoring a loved one. You may feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed, or you may encounter other travelers who are curious, sympathetic, or insensitive, try to be calm.
  • You can always consider shipping your cremated remains to your destination.

Carry-on vs Checked Baggage

While most airlines do allow cremated remains on board and checked baggage as long as you have the right document, the best option is to keep them with you in carry-on baggage.

You can keep the ashes close to you and monitor them throughout the flight.

Checked baggage gets tossed around and not handled carefully, so there is the risk of losing or damaging the ashes.

So for extra peace of mind keep your urn in your carry-on bag.

Can I Bring Ashes On a Plane Internationally?

If you are planning to travel with ashes internationally, then you need to check the rules and regulations of that country regarding bringing cremated remains on a plane.

Different countries may have different policies and customs regarding the disposal or transport of human remains, and you may need to obtain other special permits or clearance before you can bring ashes across their borders. 

For example when transporting cremated remain to Mexico you will need to present the following documents:

  • Certificate of cremation from the crematory
  • Certified copy of the death certificate
  • Transit permit from the funeral home
  • Declaration of urn content from the funeral home
  • The deceased passport
  • Name and address of the individual in Mexico the cremains are going

Final Thoughts on Taking Ashes On a Plane.

Traveling with cremated remains (human or pet) can be a challenging and emotional journey, but it can also be rewarding and meaningful.

You can honor the memory of your loved one, and fulfill their wishes or your own, by scattering their ashes in a special place, or keeping them close to you wherever you go.

Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, ensure that you bring a container that  complies with security measures and the necessary documents, especially the death and cremation certificates.

We’re sorry for your loss.