I will be traveling to the East Coast this spring. I will be carrying a small vial of human ashes, about the size of a prescription-medication bottle. I was asked by a deceased friend to spread them on a beach once I arrive there. How would you recommend I take them? Should I put them in my regular luggage, carry them with me in a box, carry the vial in my pockets, mail them to an address there and then intercept them, or what? I do not want to create any type of scene at the airport.
-Al, Colorado Springs, Colo.
We checked in with Christopher White of the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration’s public-affairs office. He said:
"The TSA has worked with crematory societies to come up with an urn that is "less opaque" than traditional urns. The more translucent ones allow the Xray machines to see through them, therefore ensuring that TSA may verify that ashes and only ashes are being brought on board the plane.
“As long as the TSA can see through the urn with Xrays,” said White, “there should be no problem flying with ashes whatsoever."
Of course, a passenger may check an urn; however, most, if not many, people are hesitant to do so as the materials are quite precious to them, and you wouldn't want to lose them and never get them back. However, some airlines do not allow ashes in checked bags, so you'll have to check with your airline if you want to transport the ashes.
A good idea might be to purchase a temporary container for use in transporting the ashes.
Bottom line: If Xrays can pass through the urn, you're good to go.