Can You Take Human Ashes on American Airlines? From Our Experience

> Taking Ashes Abroad > American Airlines
While this guuide is primarily aimed at UK and Irish passengers flying outbound with human ashes, the same guidelines generally apply to all American Airlines flights, regardless of departure or arrival location.

Embarking on a journey with cremated remains presents both emotional hurdles and logistical uncertainties. We went through this very process ourselves, taking a customer’s ashes from Heathrow to New York. Based on our experience and our conversations with American Airlines, here’s what we discovered.

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American Airlines Official Policy on Cremated Remains

First and foremost, American Airlines does allow you to transport cremated remains. They recommend having a death certificate and a cremation certificate on hand. These documents are crucial for a hassle-free experience. When it comes to the ashes themselves, make sure to keep them in a sealable urn, securely placed within your carry-on baggage.

Tip: Always have copies of the death and cremation certificates. The airline staff may ask to see them.


Emotional Preparedness

Taking ashes on a flight isn’t just a logistical matter; it’s also an emotional journey. Here are some tips we gathered:

  • Ask Someone Supportive to Travel with You: A helping hand can make a world of difference.
  • Plan for Different Scenarios: Think about what may happen at the airport and prepare yourself emotionally.


Carry-on Dimension Guidelines for Ashes on American Airlines

The urn must meet specific size requirements to be accepted as a carry-on item. The dimensions shouldn’t exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 56 x 36 x 23 centimetres (including handles and wheels).

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Extra Tips: Packing the Urn Safely

Here are some additional points to consider:

Consult the Crematorium

Before your flight, it’s essential to know the material of the urn, particularly how it will appear on an X-ray machine. Should an issue occur, such as the urn not passing through the X-ray screening, be aware that some urns are sealed and cannot be easily opened. In such a case, transferring the ashes to a different container may not be an option—something that’s generally not recommended, especially in an airport setting.

Scatter Tubes

Often considered a more convenient alternative, these can also serve as temporary urns. Their size and material usually make them easier to accommodate when it comes to airline regulations and screening processes.


If you've found value in this guide, please think about sharing it with others who might also benefit from it. If you've had the experience of traveling with ashes on American Airlines, we would greatly appreciate it if you could leave a comment below, sharing the details of your experience. Your input is highly valuable to us. Our mission is to make the process of traveling with ashes less challenging for anyone flying with American Airlines.
How heavy is My URN?
When flying on American Airlines and you need to transport ashes, it's crucial to consider the total weight of both the ashes and their container. Generally, ashes weigh between 1.8kg and 4kg, and the urn itself can add another 1kg to 3kg. This puts the combined weight in a range from a minimum of 2.8kg to a maximum of 7kg, with the average weight hovering around 4.9kg. Alternatively, a scatter tube is a lighter option, weighing just around 0.35kg.
What size is my URN?
As for the dimensions of the urn, they usually vary from 10 to 12 inches in height (25 to 30 cm) and 6 to 8 inches in diameter (15 to 20 cm). To ensure you have the most accurate dimensions, you should measure the urn yourself or consult the specs provided by the retailer or the crematorium, if that's where you obtained the urn.
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