Whether you're traveling home or trying to follow through with a loved one's final resting place wishes, there are many reasons why you might find yourself needing to fly with cremains. If you've never had to transport ashes by air, you may not know what to expect of this process. When you fly with cremains, you'll have to be attentive to the regulations of the airline and each airport that you'll pass through. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trip and reduce the chances of problems at each stage.
Most of the domestic airlines have policies in place that allow you to travel with cremains without much trouble. However, some airlines may have requirements that the cremains be loaded on the plane with the checked baggage. Others will allow you to keep the ashes as a carry-on if you prefer. But before you fly domestically, there are a few things that you can do to ease the process.
Call the airline directly before you book a flight. Ask about the specific regulations and rules that relate to transporting cremains on a flight. Some airlines may require advanced notice of any cremains that will be transported on a flight, so plan ahead for your trip to ensure sufficient time for notifying the airline.
Reach out to a local funeral director in both your origin city and your destination city to find out what local regulations may exist in either area regarding the transportation of cremains. You may be required to transport them in a specific type of container, for example. You'll want to be sure that whatever you transport them in meets not only the regulations of both areas but also the requirements of the Transportation Security Administration. They have strict guidelines about what kinds of containers are permissible for transporting cremains on an airplane.
Gather all of the necessary supporting documents before you travel. You'll want to have the Death Certificate, the cremation paperwork and anything else that the airline may require. When you have everything gathered in advance and ready for security, you can simplify the process significantly.
International travel is a bit more serious a concern. You'll have to reach out to the U.S. Embassy in the destination country before you travel. The officials there can tell you what the local regulations are about traveling with cremains. Some countries require that all cremains be transported by licensed funeral directors. In those situations, you'll have to have a funeral director travel with you to the destination country in order to ensure that you can legally get where you're headed.
Ask the officials at the embassy about any necessary authorization forms as well. You may need to have a series of forms filled out by the funeral director or the local government authorities to certify the authenticity of the cremains. Keep in mind that you may need several weeks at minimum to prepare for an international trip with cremains because of the paperwork and authorizations that might be required.
Try to arrange for someone from the embassy to meet you at Customs when your flight arrives. This may help to simplify the process as you go through the gates. Your embassy contact can help you answer necessary questions about the cremains you're traveling with.
Whether you're traveling within the country or internationally, it's in your best interest to ensure that you have all of the paperwork in order and you understand what to expect. With these tips, you'll be in a better position to travel to your destination and put your loved one at rest in the way that he or she has requested.
For more information, talk with a cremation services company in your area, or visit websites like http://www.carememorialcremation.com/.