New York Giants Player Lost His Mother. The TSA Spilled Her Ashes.

New York Giants defensive tackle A.J. Francis lost his mother unexpectedly two weeks ago.

He’s been traveling to visit with family in Arkansas and then to spend time with friends in California. He had to carry home his mother’s ashes. He checked his bag, and that’s when things went wrong because the TSA decided to inspect it. And open the urn inside. And. Spill. It.

TSA responds with what their employees are supposed to do which doesn’t appear to be what they did in this case, so absolutely no comfort at all to our defensive tackle.

I wouldn’t place cremated remains in checked luggage. I wouldn’t put anything important or valuable in checked luggage. It’s a sad state, but I’ve seen too many instances of baggage handlers stealing from luggage, tossing luggage, ignoring luggage, and sending bags to the wrong airport on purpose.

Still it’s hard to criticize the decisions some makes just trying to keep it all together after losing their mother. Besides he had a pretty good reason for not carrying the urn on board himself.

As they say, a few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

(HT: Tocqueville)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. TSA policy online is that they will not open urns even if the passenger asks. They said to not use a metal urn.

  2. Gross incompetence, PR-speak afterwards. Nobody holds them accountable. Actually I think it is true that the majority do their jobs properly – but they’re in a system that tolerates, and often even encourages, rudeness and incompetence by many, and waste throughout.

  3. People who work for the TSA are pieces dung, not public servants. And certainly not “agents”, as they like to call themselves. This illegal government organization that violates the Constitution should be disbanded permanently and these unemployable dregs can go back to working for McDonalds or on unemployment.

    Description of each of the terror plots thwarted by the TSA:

  4. They say it’s a handful of bad apples, but I really think the TSA as a whole needs a retraining…
    I can accept having my things searched in the name of security if it looks suspicious, but please return things the way you found it when you first opened my bag, especially if I’m not there with it.

    This is no where near the treatment our NFL player encountered, but I’ve had tide pods to use at laundromats at my destination in my checked luggage inside a ziplock bag which was then placed inside a plastic container to prevent any possible damage to my clothing if they happen to pop in flight. Those precautions were apparently lost to the TSA who not only left the plastic container open, but also the ziplock bag…

  5. I have personally transported cremated human remains internationally. I had them in their own small carry on bag. The funeral home gives you a letter with the container if they know you are traveling with the remains.

    I simply removed the container (it is not really an urn) and told the TSA agent that these were cremated remains and gave them the letter. I was treated with deference and courtesy.

    I think it is not a good choice to put the remains in a checked bag, I don’t buy his reasoning if they were in a carry on bag no one would even know that you were carrying them. Notice he does not post a picture of the container and saying TSA opened it. However if you have not marked the container how is TSA supposed to know? And I know, once opened, the container is not again travel ready, at least the one we got with our friends remains. I think it is telling that he did not include a picture of the container.

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