Yes, the TSA will allow your grandpa’s ashes past security — but don’t expect the agents to handle them with care.
That’s the lesson Indiana resident John Gross learned at an Orlando airport, after a security agent spilled his grandfather’s remains on the terminal floor.
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing,” Gross told Indianapolis’s RTV6. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
About a quarter to a third of the remains spilled, Gross estimated.
Mario Mark Marcaletti’s ashes and bones were sealed in an air-tight container marked “human remains,” RTV6 reported. Marcaletti was a Sicilian immigrant and worked for the Penn Central Railroad in central Indiana.
Gross didn’t think leaving Florida with the remains would be a problem, until a TSA agent began examining his bag’s contents.
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,” Gross said. “She picked up the jar. She opened it up.”
“I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine,” Gross said. “So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.”
TSA rules state crematory containers in carry-on luggage must pass through the X-ray machines, but also that human remains are to be opened under “no circumstances.”
“I want an apology,” Gross said. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”