Dead body transportation by flight in India

If you’re looking to transport a dead body from one place to another place by air call VMEDO Ambulance at +91 9343180000 for all your queries and support.

When a loved one dies, the whole world around you stops. The mental and emotional agony that death brings to the deceased’s family members is inexplicable. The going gets tougher if the person has died in another country or state and you’re unaware of the procedure to bring them back to their final resting place. The task does not only involve transporting a dead body or Human remains to their city to perform last rites but a series of tasks involving documentation with due diligence.

The entire procedure is tedious and requires a lot of expertise and patience. VMEDO can help you with an end to end transportation including support for documentation.

VMEDO is a Medical transportation provider in India, with an ambulance network across India, a 24*7 support team and an expert team on board, we have helped thousands of people during domestic and International Corpse transportation.

We assign a local partner, who understands the entire process and has all the required connections to get the documentation in time from the concerned authorities. To avail of our services and for bookings, please contact us on our VMEDO Helpline +91-9343180000. You can book any type of ambulance service across India through the VMEDO app or

Since people know very little about dead body transportation and the procedure to follow to transport a dead body from one city to another, here is our sincere effort to explain the complete steps to transport dead bodies by air in India.

One can choose to transport a dead body from one city to another by air/plane or by road in a Mortuary ambulance. This mode is much easier and doesn’t need any documentation apart from a Death certificate issued by a Doctor or Hospital. However, transportation for a very long distance or to other countries is not feasible and that is when you need to think about air cargo.

While the procedure for transporting a dead body or Human remains inside India and from India to other cities are quite similar, there are a few changes in the documentation requirements. Let’s see the procedure in detail one after the other.

How to transport human remains or a dead body by plane within Indian cities?

This is also known as Domestic dead body transportation or Domestic dead body repatriation. Here are the steps one needs to follow.

Step 1: To get Hospital clearance and to get a death certificate issued

You need to get a Death certificate issued from the hospital or the concerned doctor stating the cause of death. Here is the death certificate format for your reference

Please ensure that the issued death certificate has the following details in it:

  • Name, age, gender, date of death, Reason for death, Address of the deceased, Identification mark, if any, Doctor’s name, Doctor’s signature with a seal, Doctor’s Registration ID or medical License number.
  • Cross-check the details and ensure that they match the ID card of the deceased.
  • Request the doctor to provide the death certificate in English instead of a local language, just to avoid a possible resistance from the air cargo authorities at source or destination, which leads to further delays in airport clearance.
  • Take a few photocopies of the death certificate, at least 10 numbers.
  • In the case of unnatural death, a post mortem is needed. You need to collect the post mortem certificate and an FIR copy from the police department.

Step 2: To arrange for a mortuary

Once the death certificate is issued, check the availability of air cargo from your nearest airport to the destination airport. In case of long waiting periods, it’s better to book a mortuary for the body to avoid decomposition. You can check for the mortuary at the hospital that issued the death certificate.

If that hospital doesn’t have a mortuary facility you can book the nearest private or government mortuary.

You can then book a Mortuary ambulance with a freezer box facility to transport the dead body from the hospital to the mortuary centre.

Step 3: To get a Police NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the local police station

You need to get the police clearance or NOC from the nearest police jurisdiction.

Police will issue a NOC understanding of the circumstances.

Step 4: To avail Embalming service and to issue an Embalming certificate

One of the most important documents for transporting human remains by air is the Embalming certificate. The body needs to undergo Embalming to avoid decomposition for a long time.

Various private, government hospitals and private Embalming service providers offer Embalming service and issue Embalming Certificate. Find the nearest embalming centre and get an embalming certificate signed and sealed by the concerned authorities or an Embalming doctor.

Step 5: To book a coffin Box and to get the Coffin box certificate

Once the Embalming centre hands over the body along with the Embalming certificate, you need to book a Coffin box from the nearest funeral undertakers.

Make sure you are getting a coffin box issued from a professional undertaker and the coffin box is not used earlier. Also, request your undertaker for a coffin box certificate for air cargo clearance.

Step 6: To arrange documents for the cargo clearance

Keep 10 copies of the following documents handy for cargo clearance

  1. Death certificate
  2. Post-mortem certificate copy
  3. Police NOC
  4. Embalming certificate
  5. Coffin certificate
  6. Photo and ID card (Aadhaar card/ driving license or any equivalent document)
  7. Contact details of the receiver in case of non-accompanied transport.

Step 7: To book a Mortuary ambulance to the airport

Once you have all these documents, you need to take the human remains to the airport by a mortuary ambulance. You can choose to book the nearest ambulance through VMEDO.

You might not need a freezer fitted mortuary vehicle as the body is now inside a coffin box and has undergone embalming.

Step 8: To book a cargo ticket

Not every air operator accepts Human remains on their cargo. Check the same by calling the air cargo department and enquire for the availability of the service and the next available flight.

Check if the operator provides an option to book the cargo online. The majority of the air operators do not accept online booking for a dead body. You may have to visit the cargo department physically and book the same.

You need to report to the AWB section of Air cargo and produce all the documents at least 3 hours before departure time.

Book the Air cargo with or without accompaniment.

In case of shipping without accompaniment, you need to give the contact details of the receiver.

In case of shipping with accompaniment, you need to book an air ticket for the person accompanying the dead body on the same flight.

Note: Carriage of Human Remains (mortal remains) by Indian carriers is governed by the Aircraft (Public Health) Rules, 1954 and it states:

No person shall bring into India any dead body or human remains of persons who may have died of yellow fever, plague, anthrax, ganders or such other diseases as may be notified by the Central Government for this purpose. If a body is properly cremated, then ashes should be placed in an urn or casket having an outer packing of suitable material. This can be then brought to India.

Things to consider:

  • Air Cargo carries human remains for both the domestic and international sector
  • For domestic purposes, mortal remains of persons with 10 years or less are charged on 50 kg, whereas above 10 years are charged on 100 kg (including the coffin)
  • The maximum acceptable weight of Human Remains (including the Coffin) in the international cargo is 200 kg. Actual weight is taken if the human remains exceed 100 kg.
  • Dead bodies are only accepted for carriage in coffins that are not used before for burial purposes.

How much does it cost to transport the dead body by air in India?

The approximate cost for domestic dead body transportation will be in the range of INR 25,000 to 30,000. The cost depends on various factors like,

Air cargo charges: This depends on the weight of the coffin and the destination airport as mentioned previously. Typically, the air cargo costs between INR 5,000 to 10,000.

The cost of the Coffin box and certificate in India depends upon the type of coffin that you are booking; you can choose to book a normal wooden coffin box or a premium one. Usually, the cost for a coffin box will be between INR 3,000 to 12,000.

Mortuary ambulance cost: This depends upon the distance of travel from the hospital to the mortuary and from the mortuary to the airport cargo section. Usually, it costs you around INR 5,000 for distances up to 100 km. Anything more than that, the prices may vary, depending upon the vehicle type and total distance.

Embalming service charges in India: Majority of the govt. hospitals provide embalming service for free. However, private Embalming centers might charge up to INR 5,000 for Embalming services.

Mortuary charges: The majority of govt. hospitals do not charge for Mortuary storage. However private hospitals and Private mortuary centers might charge up to INR 5,000 for storage of the dead body in the freezer.

Air ticket charges: If someone is accompanying the cargo, then an air ticket for the passengers needs to be booked, which is dependent on the air operator and travelling distance. As you will be booking at the last moment, expect a higher price than usual.

If you want professional assistance for transporting a dead body across India, Call VMEDO Helpline: 9343180000 and find out the best cost in the market. We have partnered with ambulance partners across India, and professional agents to assist you throughout the process and our 24*7 call centre team will help you with all the required documentation verification and discussion with local authorities whenever required.

How much time does it take to transport the dead body by flight in India?

Usually Human remains transportation by air will take an average of 1 to 2 days to reach the destination airport. The duration of transportation depends on various factors like,

How quickly you can get a death certificate from the doctor. Generally, you get a death certificate issued quickly if the death has occurred inside the hospital. However, if death is outside the hospital it might take a little more time.

In case of unnatural death, the body needs to undergo Post mortem, it usually takes around 5 hours to get post mortem done and get a certificate.

Availability of embalming centers is also an important factor.

If there are no embalming centers nearby, you need to take the human remains to the nearest city to get it done.

Availability of the air cargo for the dead body. Few destinations have limited flight availability; hence there may be a delay due to the unavailability of flight or cargo services.

How to transport a dead body by air cargo from India to other countries?

This is also called International dead body transportation or International dead body repatriation.

The international dead body transportation from India to other countries will have more or less the same procedure as domestic dead body transportation by air. However, there are a few additional procedures and documentation for the same, and also the cost and time for the same might vary a lot.

Read more about Dead body transportation from India to other countries

What are the documents required to transport the dead body by plane in India?

1. Death Certificate from the hospital.

2. NOC from the Local Police.

3. Embalming Certificate

4. Coffin Box certificate

5. Photo and ID card (Original Passport / Driving License/ Aadhaar Card) issued by the respective Authority.

6. Contact details & address of the person who will receive the coffin at the destination.

7. No Objection certificate from the respective country’s consulate.

Note: All these documents should be in English with at least 6 photocopies of the same.

Each Document in detail:

Death Certificate:

If the person has died in a hospital, getting a death certificate is easy. But if the person has died at home or somewhere else other than a hospital, then you need to contact a nearby clinic or a nursing home. If the deceased has had a visiting doctor, even he can issue a death certificate.

If the death is sudden & natural, then you will need to provide the medical reports to the doctor mainly to show that it’s a natural death. Sometimes these things may become complicated.

No objection certificate (police clearance certificate):

After getting the death certificate you need to visit the nearby police station that comes under your jurisdiction and inform them about the need for police NOC (mainly to transport the dead body in a cargo flight).

They may ask several documents and questions related to death, mainly to confirm that death is natural and no crime is involved. They may visit the place of death if they find out that death is not natural.

Embalming certificate:

After getting the police clearance certificate, the body is to be embalmed and packed in a coffin. Body Embalming is done mainly to avoid decomposition of the body by removing the body fluids and replacing them with chemicals. This is done in all the government hospitals and medical colleges.

Post-embalming, you can get the body to be washed and groomed according to your religious traditions. After all this, the body is packed and sealed in a coffin box. The coffin can be customized to your requirements. After the final inspection, the Coffin certificate is provided. Only then, it is possible to transport the dead body on a cargo plane.

Note: Always book the coffin as “Cargo”.

At least one person must travel along with the cargo. So, it’s important to plan your flight bookings accordingly. Make sure that you have at least 8 hours in hand to finish all these formalities before boarding the flight. (Also, the airlines expect you to arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure. So, plan wisely)

Your ordeal doesn’t end here, as you’ll have to wait at the airport, because the cargo takes forever to reach you. This excruciating process comes to an end when you produce the receipt to collect the coffin.

For any further information, feel free to contact VMEDO through our helpline  +91-9343180000 or visit our website

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