While I mainly focus on glass pet cremation jewelry, I also create cremation jewelry with human cremains. I had a client whose lovely aunt had recently passed, and was going to be cremated. The client knew they wanted her ashes created into a custom cremation pendant by me; however, the ashes were in another country. It was a bit of a challenge getting the answers I needed to have the cremains delivered in time to my studio. We ended up having to have the funeral home and crematory involved, as this was the most expeditious way of ensuring the timing of her memorial service and completion of the pendant coincided.
But it made me realize how difficult it would be for someone with zero knowledge of the rules and regulations of cremains transportation (and most probably already feeling overwhelmed, having to deal with their own shock, sadness, and grief) would go about learning this. Going to another country via air travel with a beloved’s ashes hopefully won’t happen to many of us with any frequency. But if you do find yourself in this situation, you can hopefully avoid the disappointment and frustration by reading this helpful article I came across from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration).
You should definitely check with the airline you are flying on for any special requirements or policies regarding the cremains before you leave for your flight. It would be heartbreaking to get to the terminal only to find out the container with the cremains is not TSA or specific airline approved, which can occur with metal, ceramic or stone containers.
“We understand how painful losing a loved one is and we treat crematory remains with respect. Some airlines do not allow cremated remains as checked baggage, so please check with your airline to learn more about possible restrictions.
Under no circumstances will a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) open a crematory container. To facilitate screening, we suggest that you purchase a temporary or permanent crematory container made of a lighter weight material, such as wood or plastic. If the container is made of a material that generates an opaque image, the TSO will not be able to clearly determine what is inside the container and the container will not be permitted.
Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”