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Transportation Security Administration

Ways to Travel with Cremated Remains

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Urn

You may have seen a story in the news recently about a traveler finding his mother’s cremains spilled in his checked bag at LAX. We understand how painful losing a loved one is, and we express our sincere condolences. It’s terrible that he had to discover this, and we can’t fathom the emotions this would induce.

In an effort to prevent this from happening to anybody else, we’d like to explain what happened and offer some guidance on traveling with cremains.

We immediately looked into the matter, and upon video review, we learned that the checked bag alarmed for an unidentified object. Upon opening the bag for inspection, a TSA officer discovered that the object was an opened, unmarked ceramic container that was loosely wrapped in aluminum foil. Due to the lack of markings, the officer did not know that the contents were cremains. The container was carefully repacked and the bag was cleared to continue to its destination.

Travelers are allowed to travel with cremains in a checked bag, however it is recommended to do so in a carry-on bag to help protect the contents from the risks associated with checked baggage. Checked bags are subjected to rapid and sometimes rough movement along a series of conveyor belts as they make the trek to and from the aircraft. A little known fact is that checked bags are only in TSA’s possession for a fraction of their journey to the aircraft.

TSA has a clear process for screening crematory remains. Our officers routinely conduct these types of screenings throughout our nation’s airports. Crematory remains in carry-on must pass through the X-ray machine to be screened. If the X-ray operator cannot clear the remains, TSA may apply other, non-intrusive means of resolving the alarm. If the officer cannot determine that the container does not contain a prohibited item, the remains will not be permitted.

We understand the emotional stress passengers may be under when transporting the remains of a loved one. Our guidelines for traveling with crematory remains are not intended to make this already emotionally difficult process more complex than needed. However, crematory remains are one of the many sensitive items that could be exploited by someone wanting to conceal a dangerous item. TSA officers are trained to treat all travelers’ belongings with care and respect and will not open containers with cremated remains, even if the passenger requests this be done.

We have a team of TSA employees who are ready to answer your questions via Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. They look forward to answering your questions 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily. You may also reach our contact center by email or by phone at 866-289-9673. Federal Relay: 711

Some airlines do not allow crematory remains in checked baggage, so check with your airline first.

Bob Burns

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by Nocaps on Sun, 2018-07-22 02:27
Submitted by The "Original" RB on Tue, 2018-07-17 21:31

Submitted by Frank on Sun, 2018-07-15 19:26
Johnny, explain to me the logic of confiscating a squeezed out tube of toothpaste that's labelled as 8oz but obviously has less than 4oz still in it and allowing a full 4oz tube? As a former TSO I can assure you common sense, discretionary thought and educated decision making are not advocated in the TSA.
...............................................

You know as well as anyone, it's due to the limited cognitive abilities of most TSA screeners. That's the same reason TSA gave for changing pat downs to one fits all situations. A demonstration of TSA's true confidence in TSA screeners.
............

so rb you are saying that the 1000s of retired/active duty/reservist us military members that currently work for tsa have limited cognitive abilities? how about the 1000s of retired/former law enforcement officers that currently work for tsa?
......................

TSA said it!

Submitted by West Cooper on

Anon said - "TSA said it!"

Please include a link where TSA stated the following information:

"it's due to the limited cognitive abilities of most TSA screeners."

or

"you are saying that the 1000s of retired/active duty/reservist us military members that currently work for tsa have limited cognitive abilities? how about the 1000s of retired/former law enforcement officers that currently work for tsa?"

I will wait.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Dona Dausey on

I carried my husband's wooden, lead-lined urn through TSA with a state permit to transport human remains across state lines (WA to CA), a confirmation letter from the funeral home and his death certificate. They held up the line and embarrassed me by trying to pass the urn through X-ray SIX times - no result with lead lining, duh! Then they asked me to open it - it had been SEALED by the crematorium. I began to cry and a supervisor told them to let me go! When will all this crap end???

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Submitted by West Cooper on Mon, 2018-07-23 11:09
Anon said - "TSA said it!"

Please include a link where TSA stated the following information:

"it's due to the limited cognitive abilities of most TSA screeners."

or....."

"Nico Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden....."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-rolls-out-new-pat-downs-some-tr...

No the quote that was given but it says the same thing.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Susan said - "

"Nico Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden....."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-rolls-out-new-pat-downs-some-tr...

No the quote that was given but it says the same thing."

You are correct, it was not the quote given, nor was it the same type of sentiment. As a matter of fact, it is not sourced as a direct quote, which means it may or may not be what Nico said. The meaning behind what Nico (and by extension TSA) was saying, is that TSA was seeking to simplify the process for all involved. A simplified process, lessens the confusion for the passengers, and by extension the TSOs. I see nothing in the attributed commentary that indicates that TSA changed the process due to cognitive limitations in any way, shape or form. What is there, is that like any good organization, TSA is always looking for ways to improve efficiency, cut costs, and produce a better product (or in our case, a service to the people traveling).

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"TSA public-affairs manager Nico Melendez told the Redding Record Searchlight there’s another reason for the new policy: It “lessens the cognitive burden for our officers.”" Does that satisfy you West? Of course it won't because you, like others in the TSA, refuse to accept responsibility.

Sexually assaulting all passengers needing a "pat down" is "simplifying" the process and providing better service? I don't think so and I don't think the passengers who are assaulted, humiliated, degraded and traumatized by having their genitals probed think it is either.

But you must stick to the party line in order to keep your job.

Screen shot/DHS IG statement

Submitted by The Original "RB" on

Submitted by West Cooper on Wed, 2018-07-25 09:37

You are correct, it was not the quote given, nor was it the same type of sentiment. "snipped"

TSA Blog Team
......................

Just can't accept that your bosses had to go to the Universal Pat Down to accommodate TSA screener limitations.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-tsa-pat-down-20170306-story.html

TSA quietly launches new 'enhanced' pat-down procedure

"The TSA is standardizing its physical search procedure rather than allow screeners to choose among types of searches to reduce the chance of poor decisions at crucial security checkpoints.

"The UPD [universal pat-down] lessens the cognitive burden for our officers and reduces the possibility for confusion with passengers and employees as well," the agency said."

And for whoever brought up the high number of prior military signing up for TSA I would suggest that those people had limited potential in the private sector or other government jobs. A example might be a person with a MP background who could have moved to the FAM's yet stayed in a lower paying TSA screener job. The FAM salaries that I have personally seen are 6 figures when LEAP is included. TSA screeners not nearly as much. Add on the basic issues, a rifleman skills doesn't translate well to the private sector. Military trades in electronics, aircraft maintenance, and such have more potential in the private sector. The final major point is that some people are more willing to take bigger risks or work harder than others instead of settling for marginal jobs.

I would ask the prior military working as TSA screeners what their excuse is for just settling?

Submitted by No Caps on

Submitted by The Original "RB" on Thu, 2018-08-02 11:06:
The final major point is that some people are more willing to take bigger risks or work harder than others instead of settling for marginal jobs.

so the military members are lazy too, got it

Submitted by The "Original" RB on

Submitted by No Caps on Fri, 2018-08-03 05:44
Submitted by The Original "RB" on Thu, 2018-08-02 11:06:
The final major point is that some people are more willing to take bigger risks or work harder than others instead of settling for marginal jobs.

so the military members are lazy too, got it
.............................................

Yes, lazy in the same way that you can't take the time write a proper sentence.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Rb said - "The TSA is standardizing its physical search procedure rather than allow screeners to choose among types of searches to reduce the chance of poor decisions at crucial security checkpoints.

"The UPD [universal pat-down] lessens the cognitive burden for our officers and reduces the possibility for confusion with passengers and employees as well," the agency said"

Meaning that it is also an increase in efficiency in terms of training, and recertification. It also makes it easier for a checkpoint in ATL or LAX able to function more consistently - as well as an airport like GSO. I will stick to the statements I have made previously - TSA made the changes to provide a streamlined approach to training and floor operations - not due to recognizing a cognitive lack on the part of the workforce, as many of you (with no direct experience I might add) state.

RB also said "And for whoever brought up the high number of prior military signing up for TSA I would suggest that those people had limited potential in the private sector or other government jobs."

I like how you have lumped thousands of people that have served their Country in the military into the "you guys can't do anything better" without any information to support it. Please provide me with the statistics you used to reach this conclusion.

And - " A example might be a person with a MP background who could have moved to the FAM's yet stayed in a lower paying TSA screener job."

Your thinly veiled reference to someone specific that works for the organization is duly noted, and I would expect nothing less from you.

And - "I would ask the prior military working as TSA screeners what their excuse is for just settling?"

Many of the folks that come from a military background to work for TSA believe in the mission and job, many of them feel like they are a part of something important. Many of them come to work with the intent of protecting you and your family, and all the other people that come through the checkpoints. Thousands of hard working folks come to work in this uniform with the intent to do the job, do it to the best of their ability, and to prevent anything bad from happening. You are welcome to disagree with that all you like, but it is the simple truth. Coming to TSA and working to protect the traveling public from folks that would do it harm is not settling, it is serving the Country in a different way.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Sun, 2018-08-05 17:32
Rb said - "The TSA is standardizing its physical search procedure rather than allow screeners to choose among types of searches to reduce the chance of poor decisions at crucial security checkpoints.

"The UPD [universal pat-down] lessens the cognitive burden for our officers and reduces the possibility for confusion with passengers and employees as well," the agency said"

Meaning that it is also an increase in efficiency in terms of training, and recertification. It also makes it easier for a checkpoint in ATL or LAX able to function more consistently - as well as an airport like GSO. I will stick to the statements I have made previously - TSA made the changes to provide a streamlined approach to training and floor operations - not due to recognizing a cognitive lack on the part of the workforce, as many of you (with no direct experience I might add) state.

RB also said "And for whoever brought up the high number of prior military signing up for TSA I would suggest that those people had limited potential in the private sector or other government jobs."

I like how you have lumped thousands of people that have served their Country in the military into the "you guys can't do anything better" without any information to support it. Please provide me with the statistics you used to reach this conclusion.

And - " A example might be a person with a MP background who could have moved to the FAM's yet stayed in a lower paying TSA screener job."

Your thinly veiled reference to someone specific that works for the organization is duly noted, and I would expect nothing less from you.

And - "I would ask the prior military working as TSA screeners what their excuse is for just settling?"

Many of the folks that come from a military background to work for TSA believe in the mission and job, many of them feel like they are a part of something important. Many of them come to work with the intent of protecting you and your family, and all the other people that come through the checkpoints. Thousands of hard working folks come to work in this uniform with the intent to do the job, do it to the best of their ability, and to prevent anything bad from happening. You are welcome to disagree with that all you like, but it is the simple truth. Coming to TSA and working to protect the traveling public from folks that would do it harm is not settling, it is serving the Country in a different way.

TSA Blog Team

..............................
My reference wasn't thinly veiled, it was a direct shot to prove a point.

West, the simple fact is that TSA released statements saying that TSA went with the UPD to lessen the cognitive burden on TSA screeners. Attempting to say it was necessary so various airports functioned the same is laughable. Does that mean that TSA screeners can't be properly trained? Denial of TSA statements doesn't make like those statements where never made but does say something about some people's ability to deal with reality.

I don't think I have to show statistics to you or anyone else but you are welcome to prove me wrong. Given TSA's history of employing thieves, rapists, pedophiles, drug dealers and all other manner of criminal I think I'll wait for your statistics proving me wrong. Face it, even TSA's Social Media team is in violation of the law by blocking access to some TSA's Social Media accounts. And I feel justified reminding everyone of the TSA screener who tried stealing from my wife's purse, an event that was never investigated but covered up by the FSD at that airport when it happened. TSA is a black eye on all of America and I'm sorry that prior military working at TSA took nothing from their service that prepared them to have the honor, dignity, and loyalty to the Constitution that is needed to understand why TSA is UnAmerican.

With the job market being what it is right now, more good jobs than workers, I don't understand why anyone with any ambition would settle for a $20 per hour job when they could find one that pays $30 or more. Same goes for those people who actually have skills above carrying a rifle. And I take it from your comment that you don't think the FAM role isn't important or protecting people.

TSA causes more harm to the United States than any benefit supposedly given. And tell me, how many terrorists has TSA found since inception and at what cost?

Submitted by West Cooper on

RB said - "My reference wasn't thinly veiled, it was a direct shot to prove a point."

Again, I expected nothing less.

And - " Denial of TSA statements doesn't make like those statements where never made but does say something about some people's ability to deal with reality."

I never once denied any statements made by TSA, I disagreed with assumptions or reading into the comments too much. TSA did not change a policy because the workforce has cognitive limits, none of our spokes persons have ever said that, and they never will.

And - "I don't think I have to show statistics"

You are correct, you can make all the unfounded statements you like, and then fail to provide any information to back them up.

And - "And I take it from your comment that you don't think the FAM role isn't important or protecting people."

Clearly, you misread something, somewhere. FAMS are a fine group of folks, a key component of TSA and our mission, and I have worked with several of them throughout my career here - once again, a case of assumption or misreading.

We will simply have to disagree on the benefits TSA brings to the United States.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2018-08-07 16:25
RB said - "My reference wasn't thinly veiled, it was a direct shot to prove a point."

Again, I expected nothing less.

And - " Denial of TSA statements doesn't make like those statements where never made but does say something about some people's ability to deal with reality."

I never once denied any statements made by TSA, I disagreed with assumptions or reading into the comments too much. TSA did not change a policy because the workforce has cognitive limits, none of our spokes persons have ever said that, and they never will.

And - "I don't think I have to show statistics"

You are correct, you can make all the unfounded statements you like, and then fail to provide any information to back them up.

And - "And I take it from your comment that you don't think the FAM role isn't important or protecting people."

Clearly, you misread something, somewhere. FAMS are a fine group of folks, a key component of TSA and our mission, and I have worked with several of them throughout my career here - once again, a case of assumption or misreading.

We will simply have to disagree on the benefits TSA brings to the United States.

TSA Blog Team

.........................
TSA did make statements saying that the UPD was created to lessen the cognitive burden on TSA screeners. Quotes to that effect have been posted. You can be in denial all you want but that won't change fact.

You accuse me of making unfounded accusations yet TSA is famous for doing exactly the same thing.

Tell us Why is ID Important?

How many terrorists has TSA caught or Identified?

Give us some measurement of why we need TSA instead of say a private screening force?

I'm sure a few others can add to this list of questions that have never been answered with facts or statistics.

Ball is in your court TSA!

Submitted by Susan Richart on

RB wrote: "TSA causes more harm to the United States than any benefit supposedly given. And tell me, how many terrorists has TSA found since inception and at what cost?"

$10 billion a year in productivity is lost standing in TSA lines. That's a lot of infrastructure repair that would have more value to the country than TSA.

Submitted by The Original "RB" on

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-rolls-out-new-pat-downs-some-tr...

TSA Rolls Out New Pat-Downs, Some Travelers Say They're Invasive

"Nico Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and ******** lessen the cognitive burden of officers ******** after the TSA faced a record number of firearms detection during the week of February 20. Agents found 79 firearms, 21 of which were round chambered, setting a new record from its highest number of 18 firearms in 2014."

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-tsa-pat-down-20170306-story.html

The TSA is standardizing its physical search procedure ******* rather than allow screeners to choose among types of searches to reduce the chance of poor decisions ********* at crucial security checkpoints.

"The UPD [universal pat-down] ******* lessens the cognitive burden for our officers ******** and reduces the possibility for confusion with passengers and employees as well," the agency said.

Clear as day to me; TSA doesn't trust TSA screeners to make correct decisions on what type of pat down to use and was concerned about the cognitive abilities of screeners that required having only one pat down.

TSA can try spinning this in other ways but facts or facts!

Submitted by Ann on

I recently traveled with a relative's remains. The urn was in a sealed box with the funeral home's papers on the outside. I placed the box in an easy to carry attractive carry-on. Another family member & I came through TSA precheck with no problems. Every one was very respectful. The urn went through separately. Then the inspector did a chemical test on outside of box(the tape) and we were on our way. The supervisor of the area was also very helpful to me when I misplaced some medical equipment by checking the video tapes to see if I had it when I entered the TSA checking area. This was at PBI airport. Kudos to the staffers there.

Submitted by JENN on

Thank you for the info. I'm doing this tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous (flying is not my strong suit anyway) so this puts me at ease a bit.

Submitted by Marion on

What is your problem? People are grieving and you are being rude and hiding behind anonymmity. For shame.

Submitted by Gine Oquendo on

Thank you for sharing this. When my pet died in Seattle, and with the help of The Pet Loss Center - Seattle they help us to to give a pet cremation to our beloved Lucy and now we're here in New York, we travel her cremated remains. Please refer to this link: https://thepetlosscenter.com/our-locations/seattle/

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Submitted by Anonymous on

No you are! These sometimes are thewishes of the deceased and you need to get a grip!

Submitted by GroGep on

whatever

Submitted by Lix on

Yes, make a 1st amendment case out of a web glitch. Truly, these are the times we’re living in 🙄

Submitted by FilmeGep on

whatever

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