TSA denied mishandling the cremated remains of New York Giant’s A.J. Francis on Tuesday, after he slammed the agency on Twitter.
Mr. Francis accused the Transportation Security Administration of spilling his mother’s remains, after discovering them scattered in his checked bag once his flight was over.
“Next time you a—holes feel the need to go thru my mother’s ashes for no reason, make sure you close it back so her remains aren’t spilled on all my clothes … the least you pieces of garbage can do is your f—ing job
He said he understood needing to be cautious, but still criticized the agency for being “asinine and irresponsible.”
“S—t is that I don’t even care that they checked it … they were just being cautious, & I can understand that,” he tweeted, “But to not ensure that it won’t spill back into my bag after you put it back in is the most asinine & irresponsible s—t I have ever seen.”
“We understand how painful losing a loved one is, and we express our sincere condolences. It’s terrible that he had to discover this, and we can’t fathom the emotions this would induce,” TSA’s Social Media Lead Bob Burns responded in a statement.
Mr. Burns said that the urn was unmarked and wrapped in aluminum foil. He asserted that the container was “carefully repacked” and the checked bag was cleared to continue on to the flight.
Mr. Francis rejected TSA’s side of the story.
” ‘Carefully repackaged’ but there were no remains in the suitcase when I opened it on camera at my Bag check… then I open it at home, open my suitcase and take this picture,” he wrote, “I’m over this.”
TSA’s policy for flying with cremated remains suggests that travelers pack those items in a carry-on bag instead of checked luggage.
“Checked bags are subjected to rapid and sometimes rough movement along a series of conveyor belts as they make the trek to and from the aircraft,” Mr. Burns said.
As the carry-on goes through security, the remains will pass through the X-ray, and if that doesn’t pass inspections, then agents may employ “other, non-intrusive means of resolving the alarm.”
If none of those methods work, the remains will not be cleared for travel.
“We understand the emotional stress passengers may be under when transporting the remains of a loved one,” Mr. Burns said, “However, crematory remains are one of the many sensitive items that could be exploited by someone wanting to conceal a dangerous item. TSA officers are trained to treat all travelers’ belongings with care and respect and will not open containers with cremated remains, even if the passenger requests this be done.”