What to Do When Your Loved One Dies Far from Home

Posted on May 29, 2019 by Bevis Funeral Home under Making Arrangements
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It can be difficult enough when a loved one passes away, but when they die far from home there is an added layer of complexity to deal with.

Traveling with cremated remains has limitations, but transporting a loved one’s body can provide a unique set of challenges. The method by which the deceased will be transported depends on how far they were from home when they passed away and what common carriers travel to and from the destination.

From airplanes to rail systems, there are a variety of ways to transport the remains of the deceased. If you find that you have to plan the arrangements of someone who has passed away far from home, here’s what you need to do.

Contact Your Local Funeral Home (Receiving Funeral Home)

A licensed funeral director is equipped to assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe, so working with an experienced funeral director is imperative.

The first step you should take when making arrangements is to contact your hometown funeral home or a funeral home of your choice at the location where the funeral will take place.

This funeral home, commonly referred to as the receiving funeral home, will do the majority of the coordination on behalf of the family. The receiving funeral home will assume the responsibility of coordinating all flights and contacting the shipping funeral home, the funeral home holding the deceased.

If the family is familiar with the location where the death occurred, they can request a particular shipping funeral home or they can ask the receiving funeral home to identify and coordinate with one at the shipping location, including making arrangements for such things as ground transportation from the hospital, morgue or assisted living facility to the shipping funeral home for preparation for air travel.

Familiarize Yourself with Transportation Requirements

Human remains are considered to be specialty cargo, so typically bodies are shipped on cargo planes and collected by a funeral director or representative from the receiving funeral home. If someone prefers to escort the body, however, the remains can be carried on larger passenger planes.

Though the requirements vary slightly from airline to airline, there are some general guidelines that most airlines follow.

Ordinarily, airlines require the remains to be secured in a casket or alternative container, or in other words, an approved metal container or combination unit. The casket or container must then be enclosed in an outer shipping container made of wood, metal, canvas or plastic with enough strength to protect the container from damage.

It is also important to note that some places require that a body be embalmed if it will leave the country or state. Others require that the body be embalmed if it will enter the country or state. According to Florida statutes, if the final disposition of a body does not occur within 24 hours, the body must be either refrigerated or embalmed. Though it is not mandated in most cases by Florida law, certain factors such as time, health and possible legal requirements in other countries and states might make embalming appropriate or necessary.

Consider the Costs Associated with Transportation

Transporting human remains can be costly, especially by air. Depending on the distance, your local funeral home may send its own vehicle to pick up the body or arrange for transportation with an approved carrier.

The cost of shipping a body will be based on the weight of the shipment and the distance between the place of origin and the final destination. Additional costs also may include the cost of the shipping container and any fees related to the funeral home’s coordination of the shipping.

If you are in need of a receiving funeral home to coordinate the transportation of your loved one, the experts at Bevis Funeral Home are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please call (850) 385-2193 to speak with one of our knowledgeable funeral directors today.

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