Travelling with ashes

Travelling with ashes: it is usually possible to travel with a loved one’s 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 carry ashes with you when travelling, then following is what we consider to be the best approach:

You will need:

  • a certified copy of the death certificate, and
  • the cremation certificate.
  • to carry the cremated remains in a non-metallic urn to allow screening.

You should:

  • speak to airline operator in advance – this is the first thing you should do as it will solve most issues.  We have contacted a number of airlines, have a look to see if yours is covered and what they say – Airline Policy
  • expect to take it on as hand luggage.
  • obtain a statement from the crematorium or the funeral home confirming the urn contains only the ashes of the deceased.

Depending on the country it may be necessary to:

  • notify customs.
  •  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.

Don’t just turn up at the departure gate and aim for the sympathy vote – you could well be turned away.

Unaccompanied cremation ashes can be sent by airfreight under certain circumstances. We can help deal with for you, see our page on Transporting cremated remains