Cremated Remains

We realize how difficult it is to lose a loved one, but knowing and planning to meet the conditions set out below ahead of time can help you avoid disappointment at the airport.

You may bring cremated remains in a cremation container or urn on the plane with you, but first it must pass through the X-ray. 

  • It must be made of a material that allows the X-ray to clearly scan its contents.
  • It must pass security screening. Documentation from a funeral home does not provide an exemption to this requirement.
  • Screening officers are not permitted to open a cremation container, and they will not inspect the contents if you open it yourself.
  • It cannot be placed in checked baggage if it has been X-rayed at pre-board screening and its contents could not be determined.

Some airlines do not allow cremated remains in checked baggage, so please check with your airline first to learn about possible restrictions.

If the death took place outside of Canada, consult the Global Affairs Canada Death abroad page for more information.

Before Heading to the Airport

  • Ask your funeral director about temporary containers for transportation purposes. These containers are more likely to pass through security.
  • You can also bring your empty permanent container with you and arrange for a funeral home at your destination to transfer the container contents.
  • Due to differences in thickness, shape and material, some cremation containers are more likely to pass through security screening.
Most likely to be permitted Least likely to be permitted
  • Plastic
  • Cardboard
  • Cloth
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Ceramic

Options at the Airport

If your container does not pass pre-board screening for carry-on baggage, you may:

  • Leave the container with a friend or family member who is not travelling and still at the airport;
  • Ask your airline representative to re-book you on a later flight, allowing you time to make other arrangements; or
  • Ship the container via mail, cargo or courier. Please keep in mind that shipping options vary at airports.
Cremation container and documentation requirements when travelling can vary, depending on your destination. If you are travelling internationally, we suggest you contact the embassy for the country of your destination before you fly to determine their specific requirements concerning the transport of cremated remains.