Travelling with ashes

It is usually possible to travel with a loved one ashes.

Some countries are easier than others. As Brian Parson expert on cremation from the Funeral Services Journal says: ‘it can be problematic, not so much the UK end, but countries like the Philippines treat the cremated remains the same as a body. Even in some European countries such as Italy and Poland it can be problematic, France and Germany can present issues too.’

If you choose to manage importing and exporting cremated ashes by yourself then following is what we consider to be the best approach:

You will need:

  • a certified copy of the death certificate,
  • the cremation certificate; and
  • a statement from the crematorium or the funeral home confirming the urn contains only the ashes of the deceased.

We would also suggest that you:

  • do speak to airline operator in advance – this is the first thing you should do as it will solve most issues*.
  • do take it on as hand luggage.
  • do carry the cremated remains in a non-metallic urn to allow screening.
  • do notify customs.
  • don’t just turn up at the departure gate and aim for the sympathy vote – you could well be turned away.
  • do contact the embassy of the country where the ashes are destined and they should be able to help you with what needs to happen at their end.

Unaccompanied cremains should be sent by airfreight. We can deal with for you see our page on Transporting cremated remains

* Ryan Air states on it’s website that the ashes must be carried in a container with a screw-top lid, however after calling Ryan Air they have confirmed that as long as the container is sealed and that you have the correct documentation a scatter tube, well packed, is suitable for travelling with ashes.