Body Transportation and Repatriation 

Where your loved ones die is often not where you want them buried or where you know a funeral service to contact.  The hospital will usually have a short referral list, but that might not be the best option for your situation.  It will be a funeral home /mortuary who will arrange for a local cremation or preparing and shipping your loved one where you want the burial.  In Jewish and Muslem traditions, this needs to happen very quickly.

The Red Book – National Directory of Morticians is a resource for funeral professionals, Families can use it to locate funeral service firms in the U.S. and other countries.  You don’t need to fill in a Firm name, in the top box to get the
list of business in a particular geographic area.
Click this link Redbook Funeral Home Directory

95% of all casket transport, by air, is done on commercial airlines. Private airlines are much more expensive and are usually done for privacy concerns or when there are remote locations involved.

Airline arrangements must be made by an authorized organization such as a mortuary. The mortuary makes arrangements through casket transportation service companies.

Copies of death certificates and other documents are required to accompany the casket so make sure you have requested enough copies.

Most mortuaries do not add a fee to the airline fee.

Extra charges apply for vehicle transport to and from the airport.

Most airlines have a maximum weight of 450 pounds, with additional charges for extra weight.

Embalming is not required by the airlines. Cold packs and other care is needed without embalming.

Sealed caskets are also not required. Contact the airlines to confirm the requirements that are being sold to you buy the mortuary.

There are additional options and charges for the type of containers the body goes in so learn about these before buying a fancy and heavy casket that needs to be shipped. Also be aware of the cost of storage and handling fees when planning the timing the transportation and funeral events.

Here are some websites of casket transport services that provide helpful information.

For additional listings do a web search with the words air cargo and funeral. For international transportation include the word repatriation. – Southwest Airlines cargo site has prices on it for estimates and comparison

Traveling on Airlines with Your Loved One’s Ashes

More helpful information from our book “Heartfelt Memorial Services” — Contact us to pre-order our book about creating meaningful connections when you gather.

As of March 2014, the TSA procedure for traveling with cremation remains is as follows:

Before you make your reservation, check the airline(s) rules.

Some airlines want you to check the urn while others will except it as a carry on.

All containers are TSA approved unless they are made of lead. It is recommended to travel with wood, glass, biodegradable and ceramic urns as heavier and thicker urns made of brass or marble may not X-Ray well and will be denied clearance.

Inform the airline at your check in that you have a cremation urn with cremated remains so that they can explain any necessary boarding policies. Keep the remains in a clear bag inside the urn for any needed inspection.

At the TSA Security Station explain what you have and they will treat you and your loved ones cremated remains with the utmost respect. But be aware that they have a job to do. They will X-ray the urn in order for you and your urn to be cleared.

After TSA clearance you will be able to board without any problems.

If you plan to travel internationally, you will also go through customs. Check with customs before you travel but their polices are not much different than TSA’s.

Important: Bring paperwork from the crematorium or funeral home with you when traveling with a cremation urn.

A supplement to the book
Heartfelt Memorial Services: Your Guide for Planning Meaningful Funerals, Celebrations of Life and Times of Remembrance by Dave Savage
and Beverly Molander