and International Funeral Shipping
days we are more of a society ‘on the move’, a global community, and many,
many people move away from their state, or country, of origin, be it for
work, for love, for recreation, or to serve for our country. In the
main, there is little thought given to what happens in the event of death,
and what this means in terms of bringing a loved one back home following
you need to arrange to move a deceased family member across the United
States, or return a loved one back to their country of origin to their
final resting place; the issue of transporting a body is an added dilemma
to making funeral arrangements.
only does the U.S. have a large immigrant population, many of which choose
repatriation to their country of origin upon death; we also have a growing
transient senior population. More and more Americans are choosing
to retire to warmer climates in Florida, California, Hawaii or even as
far as Mexico and the Caribbean. What does this mean for family when
a death occurs? Those left behind are faced with the issue of bringing
Mom or Dad back to their hometown to be laid to rest in their designated
shipping advice for consumers
themselves are no simple affair these days, with legislation governing
many aspects of the process. When it comes to needing to transport
human remains internationally or nationally, we can be overwhelmed with
the ‘red tape’. Grieving family often do not even know where to start,
and can make the mistake of just relying upon their local funeral home,
who may not be versant with the complexities of mortuary shipping.
The result can be an unnecessary and overly expensive additional cost.
The more you can understand about the protocols and terminology of funeral
shipping, the better informed you are and the more you can stay in control
of the process.
shipping (i.e. internally within the U.S.) can often be arranged at a reasonable
cost if only a ‘minimum ship-out service’ is contracted for the dispatching
funeral home. International funeral shipping can work out more costly
as additional paperwork, translations and different air-tray shipping unit
requirements, can all add to the cost.
a Funeral Home experienced in funeral shipping.
are a number of funeral homes across the United States that have specialized
in International Funeral Shipping, and offer a full ‘wrap-around’ service.
They will coordinate everything on your behalf, and with their knowledge,
contacts and expertise, can guarantee you the safe and dignified transportation
of your loved one at a fair price. The standard fee for funeral shipping
services includes the collection and removal of the deceased, embalming,
filing of documents, a combination-shipping unit and delivery to the departure
airport. You also need the services of a funeral home at the destination
airport that can handle the collection of the deceased, the import protocol,
as well as to manage the ongoing funeral arrangements. If you opt
to work with a funeral home that is already well established and has expertise
in International mortuary shipping, he/she will already have strategic
funeral contacts across the globe.
much does it cost to transport human remains?
will vary considerably dependent upon your choice of transportation.
Funeral shipping companies will offer air transportation of human remains
and land transportation, dependent of national or international repatriation.
There is also a huge difference depending on whether you choose to ship
non-cremated human remains, or cremated remains.
is where using an organization specialized in funeral shipping is important.
It can cost up to $10,000 to internationally ship human remains, and this
can be a huge unexpected and unplanned for expense on top of a funeral.
Some of the Funeral Homes who specialize in human remains transportation
can offer you a service that will cost between $3800 -$5500 depending on
the country they are going to, (excluding the actual airline shipping fee
which can range from $1200 to Mexico, up to $4,500 to Greece or India),
so a total cost is likely to be more in the region of $5,000 - $8500.
a dead body is an expensive cost, so the other alternative is to ship cremated
remains. Many of the funeral providers who specialize in funeral
shipping will also be able to assist you with the option of arranging a
direct cremation at the place of death, and then transportation of the
ashes back to the family.
does an International Funeral Shipping Provider Do?
everything for you. Time IS of the essence if a body needs to be
transported nationally or internationally. One call to an International
Funeral Shipping Program Funeral Provider, and they will immediately set
the ball rolling. Arrangements are made to collect the deceased from
the place of death and move them to a funeral facility. They ensure
the correct preparation for transportation, including a sealer casket,
and “approved” receiving country shipping container. They handle
all the bureaucracy and coordinate all local, state, and “receiving country”
consulate paperwork and handle the booking of all international flights.
As “Known Shippers” with major airlines, a Funeral Shipping Funeral Provider
can usually confirm flight availability with ease and often have discounted
programs. An experienced funeral shipper will be versant with shipping
windows and after hours release processes, ensuring they can transport
your loved one home as speedily as possible.
specialized team handling the funeral shipping will also liaise with the
receiving country, or state, funeral provider to ensure a seamless transportation
process. They also handle the delivery and supervision onto the deceased’s
international or domestic flight.
export/import of human remains has to meet the regulations of both the
disembarking and receiving country. A certified English translation of
the death certificate, written authorization from local authorities to
remove the body, and a certificate of the embalming must accompany the
a direct cremation at the place of death and transporting cremated remains
costs for transporting the body of the deceased seem too expensive and
you wish not to incur that level of expense to repatriate your loved one’s
remains, you may wish to consider a cremation at the place of death.
The cremated remains can then be shipped back home at a reduced cost.
A basic direct cremation can usually be arranged for around $1,000 (depending
on the state/country of death) and the shipping of cremated remains costs
much less as it is a much smaller weight freight item.
remains can be carried on as hand luggage on most airlines, although you
do need to carefully ensure that you are compliant with the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) guidelines. Cremated remains MUST be
transported in a temporary container that can pass through TSA x-ray machines.
This should be a container constructed of wood, plastic, cardboard or any
non-lead based ceramic. The TSA personnel are NOT permitted to open
an urn to check the contents, therefore if a container does not pass through
the x-ray, it will not be allowed as carry-on. Most reputable funeral
homes and cremation urn suppliers whoa re familiar with this legislation
will be able to provide a known TSA complaint container for transportation.
remains can be transported by the U.S. Postal Service so long as they are
of Remains Insurance
is always a good thing to have for when the unexpected occurs. Many travel
plans will include repatriation of remains in a comprehensive plan.
You do need to check this carefully though to ensure you are clear about
exactly what is covered and any deductibles.
the deceased between cities, or inter-state, by land.
If a funeral
is to be conducted in a different city to the place of death, or even in
another state, you may need to consider your options to transport the deceased.
In the case of short distances, your funeral provider will usually be able
to offer their services, often charged at an additional mileage rate.
When the distance is beyond their travel range, the funeral service provider
will hire a carrier that specializes in transporting human remains – a
mortuary transport company.
the deceased will be embalmed in the destination city, or will not be embalmed
at all, an appropriate method of refrigeration will be necessary during
transportation. The remains may be packed in ice or placed in a refrigerated
container. If the body has been embalmed prior to transportation,
refrigeration should not be necessary. State legislation governing
funerals homes can vary state-to-state, so the need for embalming may depend
upon where the deceased is being transported from and to.
you need to transport your loved one many miles, you may also wish to consider
the benefits of domestic air transportation of human remains. This,
again, is governed by airline regulations.
Carriers that specialize in Mortuary Shipping Freight Services
Airlines Jim Wilson Service: dedicated help desk for funeral homes, offering
scheduled service to 250 cities in 40 countries, special ramps at larger
AA Cargo facilities & shorter drop off times.
Cargo ‘Delta Cares’ service & Fallen Soldier Program: also offer considerate
rates for bereavement travel and allow the transportation of a casket spray
at no extra charge.
Airlines Cargo: Southwest Support provides mortuary shipping services
across the Southwest network of destinations apart from Interline or Road
Funerals Online is currently partnered with funeral shipping experts in
New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Houston, Rome, Mexico City, Guatemala
City, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Tokyo, Warsaw, Madrid and Kiev.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Memorials – low cost cremation network
of Remains Insurance
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Last Revised: 11/06/2013