Fearless traveler

Before she died, a friend asked my wife and me to take some of her ashes to England and scatter them in a special place. The ashes fit in a container not much larger than a sandwich bag. What do we need to know about transporting these ashes on a flight to England?

It’s not so much the size of the container as what it’s made of.

You’re allowed to carry ashes on board, but the container must be able to be X-rayed; if the screeners can’t see what’s inside, they won’t allow it through the checkpoint. Screeners are not allowed to open crematory containers, either, even if you give permission. So if your friend’s ashes are in a metal urn, the Transportation Security Administration recommends changing to a container made of a lightweight material such as wood or plastic. Make sure it’s well-sealed.

Some airlines, including British Airways, will allow you to pack the ashes in your checked luggage (although I wouldn’t risk it). BA also requires a death certificate. Check with your airline for specific requirements.

For details, see the TSA’s Web site,; click “For Travelers” and scroll down to “Traveling With Special Items,” then “Crematory Containers and Deceased Remains.”