Funeral Industry News

Air Cargo Screening – Important Update

February 19, 2010

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Air Cargo Screening – Important Update

imageYou may recall it was about this time last year that the “Known Shipper” mandate (which was ultimately enacted on August 1, 2009) began to receive a lot of attention and caused quite the stir within our industry. For most of 2009, Eagle’s Wings Air was inundated with requests from funeral homes and shipping services from across the country seeking clarification and direction in order to ensure their business was compliant. As the only air transportation management company uniquely focused on serving the entire death care community, we were happy to offer our insight and transportation expertise to over 1,000 funeral homes in order to protect service for client families. After some industry concern, funeral service professionals from across the country rose to the occasion, and enrolled their firms with the appropriate airlines. Who says funeral directors are “slow to change”………?

Well, it’s time for another Transportation Security Administration (TSA) initiative which will impact the air cargo world and airline handling procedures. From a funeral service perspective, the upcoming change is different than last year’s known shipper challenge. Our phone has started to ring here with questions (Deja Vu), and I’d like to offer the following points for your consideration:

1. Effective August 3, 2010 Congress has mandated that 100% of air cargo going onto a passenger aircraft must be “screened” prior to loading. This requirement will include all cargo segments

including human remains.

2. To my knowledge, the pending change will not have any effect on the Known Shipper program requirements. More information regarding the Known Shipper mandate from August 2009 is

available on our website within the News & Events section.

3. The 100% cargo security screening requirement is one which the airline industry must meet. The

air carrier is currently required to screen 50% of cargo. This requirement will increase to 75% by

May 1, 2010 in advance of the August 1st deadline. Technically, your funeral home does not

need to take further action.

4. From our perspective, we have two primary concerns regarding the pending change:

– Potential bottlenecks at the local airline warehouse during tender. Each airline will have their own strategy of how to ensure timely service to the human remains shipper.

– Invasive screening procedures of human remains at the local airline warehouse. Shipments triggering an “alarm” indicating a potential security issue must be opened and physically inspected. Each airline operates under an approved security program (which is confidential) and will seek to address this issue internally.

5. There is good news……the national funeral service trade associations; the Transportation

Security Administration (TSA); and the airline industry have been in discussions since last year regarding how to handle the screening of human remains with dignity and respect. I’m confident

more information will be distributed soon.

6. Additionally, the TSA has offered a potential solution for Human Remains Shippers through the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP). For more information on the CCSP, contact mail [email protected]

I will be attending the Air Cargo 2010 conference in March where I will connect with our airline partners and my transportation industry colleagues. As an Indirect Air Carrier (IAC), Eagle’s Wings Air will also be attending a special TSA session where I expect to hear the latest updates from an air cargo industry perspective. While the presentation will be confidential in nature, rest assured EWA is actively engaged within the air cargo world.

EWA is deeply committed to serving as an air transportation resource for our nationwide client base of funeral homes and shipping services. Please e-mail any questions or concerns you have regarding the change to me at [email protected].

Both myself and our staff look forward to serving you in the future. For additional information, please contact us at (866) 550-1392 or visit