Flying with Ashes

Losing a loved one is never easy and it might be that you need to take the ashes of your loved one on a plane. This could be to spread the ashes somewhere else, to take them home or to take them to other family members. Before doing so, it’s important to do your research on the rules and regulations, ensuring you have the correct paperwork to make the journey as easy as possible.

It’s important that you contact the airline(s) that you are considering flying with, to confirm any specific rules around having your loved ones ashes in a carry-on or checked baggage. Most airlines will have specific rules on this and will be able to advise the best course of action. In most instances you will be able to find this information on the airlines website, however, it’s always worth giving them a call or dropping them an email if you are unsure on something. Before boarding a plane, certain documentation will be required which typically includes your loved ones death certificate, certificate of cremation and proof of your relationship with the deceased. 

International Flights with Ashes

Before travelling to a foreign country you must check the rules regarding flying with ashes. Each country will have their own regulations on cremated remains that they follow, which may differ from another. Without having the correct documentation, you could be at risk of breaking the rules and there could be financial implications.

In order to find out the rules of the country you would like to visit, it is recommended that you consult with their embassy or on their government website. Typically, you will be required to provide a Cremation Certificate and a Certificate of Death, plus any additional paperwork that the country you are visiting requires. 

Additional Questions Related to Flying with Ashes?

If you are after additional resources for flying with ashes, your funeral director should be able to assist you or point you in the right direction. Depending on the funeral company that you are using, they may be able to help make arrangements for you and share their knowledge on urns that are approved for flying.

Driving with Ashes

When driving in the United Kingdom, there are no rules or regulations about taking your loved ones ashes in a car. When transporting the ashes in a vehicle, make sure you take all the necessary precautions to protect the urn from any damage when transporting it. You may want to consider purchasing a protective container that can easily be secured in a place where it won’t fall over. 

When transporting ashes in a car abroad from the UK, similar to flying, it’s important you check the regulations of the country you are planning on driving to. There may be certain documents that you will need to present when crossing the border into their country. 

Posting Ashes

In some instances, in the unfortunate event of a loved one passing, you may be considering posting their ashes. There are a whole variety of reasons you may want to consider sending their ashes in the post and these include: 

  • The cremation has taken place at the destination the person was travelling in. The ashes are to be sent back to the family in a different location.

  • In some instances, ashes are divided up between family members who live in different locations. This is done so that they can have their own personal memorial.

  • Special memorials can be created in memory of a loved one, these can include jewellery or glass. It may be that you are required to mail the ashes to the manufacturer in order to create the memorial piece.

  • Your loved one requested that they be scattered in different locations due to their love of travel. 

In the UK, most delivery companies forbid the sending on of ashes however it’s important to do your research. The main company that will offer it is Hermes and you can opt for a private courier to come and collect them from you and deliver them to your chosen location, as long as it’s within the UK. If you risk sending ashes without using the correct method, delivery companies will refuse the shipment if discovered. 

When shipping an urn, there are several general guidelines that should be adhered to, these include the following:

  • Make sure the urn/container is completely sealed in order to avoid any spillage
  • Ensure a suitable box is used and that it is carefully padded
  • Never send the ashes without a tracking service
  • Include all the relevant paperwork when sending the ashes, such as the cremation certificate. 

On top of the above suggestions, we would always recommend you get in touch with the shipping provider to confirm the exact requirements. It can be that it changes depending on the provider you are using. 

Plan Ahead When Transporting Ashes

Planning is key to making the process of transporting your loved ones ashes as stress-free as possible. By giving yourself enough time, you can feel rest assured that the necessary steps have been followed and are in place for the smoothest transport by air, car or post. 

Take a look at the different urns on The Living Urn and don’t hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions.