Know Airline Requirements
Though most major airlines allow you to fly with cremated remains, some have additional restrictions beyond TSA’s standard guidelines. It is important to check your airline’s policy at least seven days prior to arriving at the airport because some airlines require advance notification if you intend to bring remains in a carry-on.
Review the following major airlines’ policies on traveling with cremated remains prior to your trip.
Delta: Permitted with a death and cremation certificate. “Cremated remains can be accepted as either carry-on, checked baggage, or shipped unaccompanied as cargo. The passenger must have a death or cremation certificate.”
American Airlines: Permitted. “When you travel with cremated remains, they’ll be treated as carry-on baggage. No special documentation is needed if you’re traveling domestically, but please contact a local consulate or burial advisor if you’re traveling internationally since the rules vary.”
United: Permitted as a carry-on only, with required documentation. “If you’re traveling with cremated human remains, they need to be transported as carry-on baggage. For travel within the U.S., it’s highly recommended that you travel with appropriate documentation (such as a document from the funeral home or a death certificate) to present during TSA screening.”
Spirit: Permitted. “Documentation from the funeral home is not sufficient to carry a crematory container through security and onto a plane without screening. To be transported as checked baggage, the crematory container must be successfully screened during the checked baggage screening process.”
Frontier: Permitted. “The container must be made of a material such as wood or plastic that can be successfully screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).”
Southwest: Permitted as a carry-on only. “Southwest Airlines will not accept human remains as checked baggage; however, a customer may take cremated remains onboard a domestic U.S. or international flight as a carry-on item under certain conditions. A customer or funeral/cremation facility may choose to transport either cremated or uncremated remains via Southwest Airlines Cargo. Advanced arrangements are required for this service.”
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.