People often ask if you are allowed to fly with cremated remains and what the airport or government regulations would be. The answer is, yes, you can fly with cremated remains. Often people want to take their loved one home and bury, scatter or entomb their cremated remains outside of Canada. Cremation containers are allowed on the plane with you providing you meet certain criteria.
In addition to accompanying documentation such as the: Cremation Certificate and Funeral Directors Proof of Death and Letter of Contents; x-ray screening of cremated remains will be taken at pre-boarding airport security checkpoints, to ensure there are not prohibited items inside the remains.
On July 26, 2013 Transport Canada (TC) released regulatory changes requiring the Canada Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to follow these procedures regarding the X- ray screening of cremation containers in checked baggage or carry- on baggage.
Either as checked-baggage or carry-on baggage, the type of material the cremation container is made of must allow the X- ray to clearly scan the contents. A temporary container made of plastic, paper, or cloth allows the x- ray to scan the contents of the container. More dense materials such a metal, granite or ceramic do not allow the X -ray to scan the cremation contents.
If the cremation container does not pass pre-boarding security screening, the cremation container will not be allowed on to the flight. The passenger then has 3 options:
- Return the cremation container to a family member who is not traveling and still at the airport
- Postpone and rebook your flight allowing you time to make the necessary cremation container changes
- Ship the cremation container via mail, cargo or courier in compliance with the shipping options available at the airport and in compliance with airline or other carrier requirements and specifications.
If the Airline permits cremated remains to be placed in checked baggage, TC strongly suggests that the cremated remains be placed in a temporary container and the permanent container be packed open and empty in the checked baggage as well.
If you prefer to carry the cremated remains in your carry-on baggage, TC has instructed the CATSA to follow these procedures for screening cremation containers:
- The cremated remains are placed by in a specially designed bin in order to be scanned.
- The cremation remains pass through the security x-ray to ensure there are not prohibited items in the cremated remains
- If the cremated remains are not cleared, they are not be allowed on the flight
- Screening personnel are not allowed to open the cremation container even if requested to do so by the passenger. They will not inspect the container if the passenger opens it
- If the security scan raises an alarm, and the passenger states that the cremation container is empty, then the passenger may open the cremation container to allow the security personal to visually inspect the container and be sure that is does not contain prohibited items.
When you arrive at your final destination, a local funeral home could assist to transfer the cremated remains from the temporary to the permanent container.
Following the regulations set out by TC and distributed through the Ontario Board of Funeral Service and CATSA, this will assist you with a problem-free journey while traveling with the cremated remains of your loved one.
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Until next time,