Emirates Airline, the official airline of the UAE, announced it changed its carry-on policy relating to urns of human ashes. The decision was influenced by a DigitalJournal.com article outlining a Sikh family's grievance with the airline.
On Feb. 5, 2009, Digital Journalist Bodhisattva Banerji reported on a distraught Sikh family carrying the cremated ashes of a deceased relative. The article reported "the family is in complete shock after Emirates Airlines insisted that Mrs. Nashater Hayer should carry the ashes of her husband as luggage while traveling." Emirates did not allow human ashes to be on board as carry-on luggage, instead referring such items to the cargo hold.
In the Sikh tradition, the ashes of a dead person must be transported with due respect before being distributed in flowing water.
Emirates Airline, the official airline of the United Arab Emirates, announced today it is responding directly to the DigitalJournal.com article and changing its policy regarding carry-on luggage.
In an interview with DigitalJournal.com, Nigel Page, Emirate's senior vice president of the Americas, said, "If we see a public report with some merit in it, we feel the need to look at what we're doing and change the policy if it's a sensible solution."
The details of the change were outlined in a press released issued by Emirates Airline, saying:
Following a recent review of the policy, cremated human remains (ashes) may now be accepted for carriage in the passenger cabin, provided all such requests comply with international security regulations including and not limited to possession of necessary documentation.
The release also credited Digital Journal's report, saying, "Publicizing the wishes of Mrs. Hayer's family contributed to awareness and communicated customer demand to the airline."
Digital Journal Inc. Chief Executive, Chris Hogg, is proud to see citizen media influence a major airline that services more than 100 destinations. "This announcement shows the world how the reach of user-generated content can impact big players in various markets," he said. "We're happy to see Mr. Banerji's coverage on DigitalJournal.com make a difference."