Can You Take Human Ashes on a British Airways Flight? Our 1st Hand Experience

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

Transporting a loved one’s ashes can be both emotionally taxing and logistically challenging. As a company that offers ash-transportation services, we have frequently flown with British Airways for this very purpose.

While British Airways does provide some guidelines on their website, we found that speaking directly with them and having the practical experience of multiple flights offered a more complete understanding of their requirements. Here’s information to assist you on British Airways and Human ashes.


What Does British Airways Say About Carrying Ashes?

British Airways does allow you to travel with human ashes in either your hand luggage or hold luggage. Although, we recommend carrying your loved ones ashes in your hand luggage.

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Required Documents for Carrying Ashes on British Airways

The airline mandates that you carry a copy of the death certificate and cremation certificate. This serves as the essential paperwork to accompany the ashes.


Urn Details on British Airways Flights

If you’re planning to use an urn, British Airways has particular specifications:

  • Material: The urn should be made from security-friendly materials like glass, ceramic, plastic, wood, or marble.
  • Sealing: It should be sealed tightly either by its screw-top lid or using a strong adhesive.
  • Size and Weight: The urn must fit within British Airways’ baggage size and weight restrictions which is listed further down.


What Happens If Your Ash Container Isn’t Approved by British Airways?

If your chosen urn/container cannot be scanned by X-ray, security will refuse to let it through. Under no circumstances will security open the container to inspect its contents, even if you request it.


Size and Weight of Luggage

Consider the following measurements when travelling with ashes on British Airways


  • Hand Bag: Max size 40 x 30 x 15cm, weight up to 23kg. Guaranteed in the cabin, to be placed under the seat.
  • Cabin Bag: Max size 56 x 45 x 25cm, weight up to 23kg. Place in the overhead locker if possible, may go in hold if there is no space.
  • Standard Checked Baggage: Max size 90 x 75 x 43cm, weight up to 23kg in Economy and Premium Economy, and up to 32kg in First and Business classes. Must be checked in and labelled.

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Protecting the Urn While Travelling

While British Airways allows for your hand luggage to be placed in the overhead hold, it’s best to have a sturdy urn that will not break easily. It would also be advisable to cushion the urn well within your luggage for added security.


International Guidelines for Ashes Transport on British Airways

Though British Airways permits the transport of ashes to any of their destinations, regulations can differ by country. You should research your destination country’s rules to avoid complications. In most cases, British Airways’ paperwork requirements are less stringent than what the destination country might require.


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 British Airways, 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 British Airways.
How heavy is My URN?
When you're flying with British Airways and carrying ashes, it's important to factor in the total weight of both the ashes and the urn. Ashes usually weigh between 1.8kg and 4kg, and the urn can add another 1kg to 3kg. This puts the combined weight in a range from 2.8kg to 7kg, averaging around 4.9kg. If you're looking for a lighter alternative, you might want to think about using a scatter tube, which weighs only about 0.35kg.
What size is my URN?
As for the urn's dimensions, they usually measure between 10 and 12 inches in height (25 to 30 cm) and have a diameter of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). However, for the most accurate information, you should measure the urn yourself or check its specifications where you purchased it. You can also get this information from the crematorium if that's where you obtained the urn or container.
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