Travelling with ashes on a commercial airline

Travelling with ashes on a commercial airline

Travelling with ashes on a commercial airline will not be a problem if you follow these guidelines.

Why travel with ashes?

Travelling with ashes may be necessary if you wish to scatter or bury them in another country. Or, if the person died and was cremated abroad and you wish to bring the ashes back home.


Take with you the death certificate and the certificate of cremation.

If possible, ask the funeral director to obtain a document from the crematorium that states that the urn only contains the ashes of the person named on the certificates.

Have proof of your relationship with the person who's ashes you are carrying.

If you are taking an international flight to a country where English is not the language, you may need to present certified copies of these documents in the local language. Also, returning to the UK with ashes requires documentation in English.

You may have to declare the ashes at customs. Check with the embassy or high commission in the destination country as to the specific requirements.

Check with the airline

Different airlines have different requirements about transporting ashes on their planes, so check with your airline about their guidelines.

Most airlines will let you either check the urn in your baggage or take it into the cabin in your hand luggage. The latter may be preferable, to avoid the risk and distress a lost bag could cause.

Choosing a suitable urn for travelling with ashes

As the urn will have to pass through x-ray machines you should not choose a metal urn.

A wooden urn or one made of another natural material such as cornstarch, or Himalayan Pink Salt is ideal if you wish to keep the ashes in the urn.

If you are going to bury the ashes in the ground and want them to decompose naturally a biodegradable urn is your best choice. For a water burial, you can transport the ashes in a water-soluble urn.

If you are planning on scattering the ashes at your destination a scatter tube is a convenient and economic option. These sturdy cardboard tubes are compact and easy to pack. They come in two sizes and a wide range of different designs. They have a secure lid to keep the ashes safe during the journey and an easy-open cap which makes scattering simple.

Follow these tips to make your trip smooth and stress free.