Our office once dealt with an estate where the dying mothers wish was to be cremated and her remains returned to Prince Edward Island. After her death, her three grieving sons booked a flight out estate to spread their mother's ashes on red beaches of PEI. They had mom cremated and thought that taking her in their carry on bag would be the best way to transport her. Imagine their horror when the Edmonton International Airport security guard demanded that the urn is left behind so he could verify what was in the container.
Passengers are allowed to carry a cremation urn with them as part of their carry-on baggage. The container, however, must pass through the X-ray machine. Documentation from a funeral home does not provide an exemption to this requirement. Additionally, an urn cannot travel in checked baggage.
Before you head to the airport, you should ask your funeral director about temporary containers for transportation purposes. These containers are more likely to pass through a security checkpoint. Plastic, cardboard and cloth containers are most likely to be permitted past the checkpoint.
If the container does not pass pre-board screening for carry-on baggage, you may:
a. Leave the cremated remains with a friend or family member who is not travelling and is still at the airport;
b. Ask the airline representative to re-book you on a later flight, allowing you time to make alternate arrangements; or
c. Ship the container via mail, cargo or courier.
If you have questions or concerns about taking cremated remains on a plane contact your local funeral home or look at the Government of Canada website www.catsa.gc.ca