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Carrying ashes on a British Airways flight

Carrying ashes on a British Airways flight

Travelling with ashes can be tricky it is best to get thing right from the start, so that you experience the minimum disruption.  So if you intending to take cremation ashes on an British Airways flight, this is what they say:

Can I take cremated remains or a full urn when I fly with British Airways? 

Cremated remains can be carried onto our flights in either your hand baggage or checked baggage.

In order to comply with regulations, you’ll need to carry with you a Certificate of Death (or other country-specific equivalent) issued by a competent authority from the country of departure. You’ll also need to ensure that the cremated remains are packed in a sealed outer box or case.

Please be aware that if you are carrying them in your hand baggage, full security procedures will still have to be be applied and the sealed box/urn will be x-rayed at the airport security point. Therefore, we need to advise you that if the urn is made of a material that prevents the x-ray screener from clearly being able to see what is inside, then the container will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. (It is not policy at airport security locations to open any urn, out of respect.)

40 thoughts on “Carrying ashes on a British Airways flight

  1. Reply
    Ailsa - 26th October 2023

    I’m taking my father’s ashes to HK from Scotland with BA. I’m intending to carry them in the hold luggage. I will have the death certificate and certificate of cremated remains with me but do I need to declare the ashes when I check in my luggage? And I presume there won’t be a problem on arrival in HK?
    Also, what do BA mean by a “sealed container”? Just our own judgement to keep it all safe?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 27th October 2023

      Hi Ailsa
      Yes you should declare them, as they don’t like them in the hold.
      Sealed Container – Scatter Tube
      Kind regards
      Richard

      1. Reply
        Ailsa - 2nd November 2023

        Great, it’s in a scatter tube already.
        I thought BA said ok to carry as hand luggage or as checked luggage? Why would it not be ok to place in my suitcase and check in to the hold?

        1. Reply
          Richard Martin - 13th November 2023

          In case they lose you bag, ashes can’t be replaced or insure….

  2. Reply
    Daisy - 21st July 2023

    Hello

    I’m taking a relative’s ashes to be scattered in Venice, Italy. Do you know of any issues please?

    Also is it easier to take in a scatter tube or urn? As I’m not sure what to do with the urn afterwards.

    Thank you

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 4th August 2023

      Hi Daisy

      Scattering is catholic Countries is frowned upon. The permits interment at cemeteries. However people do scatter often in the water in spite of this but this would be your choice.

      Generally I would advise using a scatter tube.

      Kind regards
      Richard

  3. Reply
    joanne ward - 27th June 2023

    I’m taking my step mums ashes to Singapore to meet step sister, mums ashes is wrapped in thick paper bag and placed in a box from the crematorium but the box not sealed but ashes bag is would this be ok to carry on as hand luggage, I have all paper work

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 29th June 2023

      If there is a chance that if the container fell out the over head locker it could lose some of the content then it is likely they would not accept it. I hope that helps.

      Kind regards
      Richard

  4. Reply
    Andrea Sims - 22nd December 2022

    I am flying to South Africa to seee my brother and taking a teddy made of my mums clothes which also has a small amount of my mum and dads ashes inside.What is the best way to take it

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 4th January 2023

      I would carry it in hand luggage and speak to security when before goes through the scanner so they can easily identify it and it wont cause distress.
      I hope this helps

      Kind regards
      Richard

  5. Reply
    Leigh Dowdy - 14th December 2022

    I have cremated remains of my father who lived in Israel. He was cremated there. My step-sister took care of all the arrangements and I am sure she has the death certificate. We are planning to take his ashes to Scotland in May of 2023. What do I need to do since I had his ashes sent to me from Israel and he was not cremated here in the States? I do not have a document from a crematorium.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 21st December 2022

      Most airlines are sympathetic to peoples needs and circumstances this the main page for advice Travelling with ashes

  6. Reply
    Stella Shaw - 12th October 2022

    As I am travelling to Australia stopping at wSingapore with British Airways would it be more sensible to pack the ashes in my checked in suitcase instead of my hand luggage .
    I have the death certificate and crematorium certificate , is that sufficient?
    Can you also tell me if it is legal for us to scatter them in my son garden ?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 13th October 2022

      Hi Stella
      I am afraid I don’t know the answer to first question – you would need to contact the Airline
      I can answer you second question, yes it legal to scatter in your son’s garden
      You can record this at ashesregister.com

  7. Reply
    Raj k singh - 10th September 2022

    Can I take 2 hand luggage 1 with ashes and one for myself

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 13th September 2022

      I don’t know sorry, you would need to ask BA themselves.
      Many thanks
      Richard

  8. Reply
    Oliver - 18th August 2022

    Can I carry my cats ashes in hand luggage? I don’t have a death certificate as not Sure they give these I could maybe reach out to the vets for one.
    I really want to take him to the south of France with me

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 26th August 2022

      I would suggest following the advice as closely as possible, take any paperwork you have ben provided by the Vet. And be prepared to open the urn if requested. Obviously this is just advise from us and not guaranteed.

  9. Reply
    Helen Fisher - 29th July 2022

    I wish to travel with my mum’s ashes in my hand luggage, from Heathrow to Johannesburg. The ashes are in a little sealed oak casket, which I believe is scannable at security.

    My question is, can the casket be scanned whilst inside my luggage bag, or must it be removed and scanned separately? I’d like to be as discreet as possible!

    Also, do I need to notify BA in advance?
    Do I need to have the cremation certificate as well as the death certificate?

    Thank you

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 2nd August 2022

      Dear Helen
      The more paperwork the more secure you will feel.
      Wood is scannable..
      Can you access the urn if they ask you, they would deem this reasonable (although it is unlikely)
      The could scan it in you luggage, if they can’t get an accurate picture of what is contains then they may remove and scan separately.
      I hope this helps.
      Kind regards
      Richard

  10. Reply
    Gail Westwood - 23rd May 2022

    I have a small urn (approx 8” high) which has a metal base and I will be carrying it as hand luggage. I have a copy of the death certificate.
    Will it be a problem to get through security ?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 25th May 2022

      Can the contents of the urn be scanned, you say the base is metal but no mention of the main part of the urn itself.

  11. Reply
    Jack - 3rd May 2022

    I have my dad’s ashes in an oak box with wax seals to be applied at the embassy. Will airport scanners be able to scan through 5/8″ oak?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 4th May 2022

      Yes I would think so.

  12. Reply
    Julie Lilian Wilkes - 5th November 2021

    I am taking dad’s ashes back to his beloved Scotland on thursday 18 November – can yo please confirm that you are aware I am on flight BA1474

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 5th November 2021

      I would suggest contacting British Airways directly. Hope it goes well

  13. Reply
    Jo - 18th August 2021

    Hi
    I would like to take some of my dads ashes to Bardot with me in a Sealed tube from the funeral directors. I have the certificate of death and a letter from the funeral directors is this adequate to take on the British Airways flight with me?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 19th August 2021

      I would think that would be fine – this is our main page for carrying ashes

  14. Reply
    Georgina Osborne - 1st July 2021

    Can I carry my husband’s ashes in the same box the funeral director gave them to me.I’m travelling home to Ireland to give my in-laws some of there brother’s ashes,they already have it arranged with the graveyard at home to put some in with there parents I have the death cert and the travel form I just can’t bear to open the box on my own as he only passed in February

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 5th July 2021

      Georgina
      I couldn’t say with any degree of certainty, I appreciate that it is distressing to transfer the ashes. I would suggest directing this question to British Airways and if they say the ashes need to be in a different container call your funeral directors as they would do this for you….
      I hope this helps.
      Regards
      Richard

      1. Reply
        H.F CHAN - 26th November 2022

        I’m carrying Ashes to Hong Kong from Spain Barcelona, but needs to stop in UK to connect to another flight is that ok to do that.

        1. Reply
          Richard Martin - 7th December 2022

          Yes that is fine

  15. Reply
    Karen Butler - 20th June 2021

    I want to take some of my mothers ashes to Italy from the UK to scatter on Lake Garda. Is there anything I should be aware of please ? Many thanks

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 21st June 2021

      Dear Karen

      Very few other countries have such relaxed laws around the scattering of ashes. The practice is frowned upon in most other countries, Catholic countries like Italy don’t not kike. I know people have scattered at Lake Garda, but they have done so without permission.

      Kind regards
      Richard

  16. Reply
    Bonnie Leung - 18th March 2021

    Will fly to UK next week. What is the procedure or documents for hand carrying my pet’s (dog) bone ash?

  17. Reply
    Tracy Lavery - 5th March 2019

    Can I carry my dogs ashes. I want to take him home to Scotland to scatter them. I’m travelling from the USA. I have a cremation certificate

    1. Reply
      Ammon Enterprises Ltd - 6th March 2019

      Dear Tracy
      We would advise speaking with your airline to discuss how the ashes should be packaged and the paperwork you require. We wouldn’t expect you to encounter any problems.

  18. Reply
    Faye - 6th April 2017

    Thank you, Hannah! One very helpful lady at BA directed me to that very same page on their website with current information –
    I have an original death certificate, Certificate of Cremation, and (possibly unique to Arizona) a Disposition-Transit Permit from the Department of Health Services – Bureau of Vital Records. The Funeral Director was very helpful and checked that the urn encased in a sealed wooden box may be x-rayed. When I booked my return flight, I also asked that a note be placed on the passenger manifest as to what I am carrying. This was suggested to me by BA when I booked my flight out to Arizona to say final good-bye’s to my mother. BA have always been kind but it was an extra kind gesture that I did appreciate at an emotional time.
    Many thanks for your help!

  19. Reply
    Faye - 4th April 2017

    I’m going to be carrying my mother’s ashes from the USA to Scotland on a British Airways flight and I have the death certificate, a certificate of cremation and a Disposition-Transit Permit from the state health department. The lady I spoke to at BA is checking if I can carry the ashes with me but I’m looking for assurance that security at Heathrow or that someone in BA will not try to put the ashes in the luggage hold. This is one instance when I would like to be certain of what is allowed! The container can be x-rayed. Is BA still allowing passengers to carry ashes on board? The post above is over a year old. Many thanks for your help!

    1. Reply
      Hannah - 4th April 2017

      This is still correct, I have spoken with BA this morning and they have confirmed the following information on their website is still true:

      “Question
      Can I take cremated remains or a full urn when I fly with British Airways?
      Answer

      Cremated remains can be carried onto our flights in either your hand baggage or checked baggage.

      In order to comply with regulations, you’ll need to carry with you a Certificate of Death (or other country-specific equivalent) issued by a competent authority from the country of departure. You’ll also need to ensure that the cremated remains are packed in a sealed outer box or case.

      Please be aware that if you are carrying them in your hand baggage, full security procedures will still have to be be applied and the sealed box/urn will be x-rayed at the airport security point. Therefore, we need to advise you that if the urn is made of a material that prevents the x-ray screener from clearly being able to see what is inside, then the container will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. (It is not policy at airport security locations to open any urn, out of respect.)”

      https://www.britishairways.com/travel/gsanswer/public/en_gb?faqid=688&gsLink=searchResults

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