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TSA Agent Spills Ashes – How This Could Have Been Prevented

by Staff

in Cremation

The news has circled the country, along with the rest of planet, about the TSA Agent in Orlando, FL who spilled passenger John Gross’ grandfather’s ashes while checking the rest of Gross’ belongings before he could board a plane. After opening the urn and spilling the ashes, the agent apparently laughed and made no effort to help Gross sweep them up. While the rest of the story involves Gross wanting only an apology and TSA not complying, people are turning to the cremation industry wondering how exactly this could have been prevented.

There are two ways to prevent this situation from occurring ever again:

1) According the TSA, under no circumstances at all are containers properly labeled “human remains” and x-ray-able (as Gross’ were) to be opened at any time. Proper training of TSA agents could prevent this situation from happening, although if you have an urn or other type of container that isn’t properly labeled, and cannot be put through an x-ray machine, you will not be allowed to board with it. An urn can also be packed into your checked luggage, but, once again, it must be screenable. The basic rule here is make sure that the container holding your cremated remains is not only labeled, but also made of a material that is not opaque when x-rayed.

2) While FedEx and UPS will not accept ashes for shipment, you can still ship cremated remains with the U.S Postal Service.  Although it is inconvenient, Gross could have mailed the ashes to himself. All that he had to do was to pack them securely in a spill-proof container, wrap them with bubble wrap or paper to keep the container secure, and then box them up. Once at the post office or mailing facility, a form has to be filled out that clearly labels the contents of the package as cremated remains. Choosing a service that allows you to track the package is recommended, that way it doesn’t get lost. This prevents any potential situations involving getting the cremains past an airport screening and onto a plane. The only downfall is having to wait a few days for them to arrive.

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