After a loved one’s cremation has taken place, you may wish to travel with the cremated remains, or ashes, interstate or overseas. But you might be wondering if you’re allowed to take ashes on a plane.
Perhaps you want to take your loved one back home for a special memorial service, or scatter them in a special holiday spot, but you aren’t sure if it’s allowed. The answer is yes. There are no legislative requirements in relation to taking cremated remains across Australia or overseas.
Cremated remains can be stored either in your carry-on or check-in luggage.
If you’d like to take ashes on a plane, consider the following general tips to make your journey hassle-free:
- Ensure the remains are contained in a sealed, non-metallic container free from contaminants such as soil.
- We would recommend keeping the remains in the container they come to you from the crematorium. These containers are a solid plastic, resistant to breaking, are well sealed and have details on the container specifying contents.
- Have with you some documentation confirming the contents of the container as cremated remains. Obtain this from the crematorium or your funeral director. If you are a Bare Cremation customer please contact us to organise the required document. Some countries also require the Official Death Certificate, so having a copy of that at hand is advisable.
- We also recommend you check with the country the ashes will be taken to for their specific incoming requirements. A list of foreign embassies and consulates in Australia can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
- On arrival, if you are planning to scatter the remains, check with local authorities if they have any restrictions or requirements.
We checked with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar airlines and found the below considerations about travelling with ashes, or cremated remains.
Travelling with Ashes on Virgin Australia flights
If you intend to travel with ashes, or cremated remains, on a Virgin Australia flight, the ashes must be shipped in funeral urns which are effectively cushioned against breakage by suitable packaging.
The container may be stored either in your carry-on or checked baggage. However, a funeral urn carried in the cabin of a Virgin Australia aircraft as carry-on baggage by a guest must conform to the following conditions before being accepted:
- The ashes must be contained in a sealed container (funeral urn) of such construction that there can be no risk of accidental spillage.
- The guest must have a letter from a funeral director or crematorium identifying the contents as human remains.
- The urn must pass through security screening with the guest.
- Guests are not required to open the urn at the security screen, but if the urn is stored in another bag, the outer bag has to be opened to view the actual container the ashes are in.
- The urn must be wholly contained inside a suitable carry-on bag that conforms to carry-on baggage size and weight limits. The bag and the urn are to remain closed during flight.
Travelling with Ashes on Qantas flights
Ashes, or cremated remains, may be carried on Qantas flights as checked or carry-on baggage. However, you’ll need to make the following considerations before you fly:
- To need you’ll need to ensure that the container used to hold the ashes is free from contaminants, such as soil.
- The container will need to be screened. The container and packaging for the ashes may be inspected or examined.
- Passengers travelling with cremated remains require an official document from the crematorium confirming the contents.
- The weight of the container cannot exceed 7kg and it must be sealed properly to stop any leakage.
Travelling with Ashes on Jetstar flights
The requirements for travelling with ashes on a Jetstar flight don't appear as strict as they are on Qantas and Virgin flights.
According to a response on the Jetstar Facebook page, no documentation is required if you plan on flying with ashes. There is also no need to declare ashes on a Jetstar flight, as they are not a dangerous good, the airline confirmed.
Final thoughts on travelling with Ashes on planes
There you go. Just a few simple guidelines to follow and you can take your loved one’s remains back home, overseas, or to a special place of significance somewhere around the world.
Flying your loved one home, or completing their final destination, is just another way Australians can go their own way and do what feels right to ensure a loved one is farewelled and remembered in their own unique way.
We hope this article about travelling with ashes on Qantas and Virgin Australia planes has provided you a better understanding of the requirements. For ideas on ways to personalise a memorial with ashes, read our articles on 10 Alternatives to a Traditional Funeral Service and Types of memorials after a Bare cremation.
If you have any further questions or to get a quote for a cremation visit the Bare Cremation website or call 1800 531 483.