Sometimes it is necessary to transport the body of a loved one from one state to another or even farther. Most often the shipping is done by air. Whether the deceased is placed in a casket or not, the body is required to be placed in a special shipping container.
This special container for transport is called an air tray. It is specifically designed to hold and protect bodies during transport.
In this article, we explain the details about air trays for caskets. We also included a list of recommended units in case you are looking for quality air trays at affordable prices.
What Is an Air Tray?
An air tray is a shipping container used for transporting casketed remains. It can be made of wood, cardboard, a combination of the two, or other lightweight materials.
The air tray protects and conceals the casket. It is required by airline companies and is made to meet the handling requirements.
Here are the requirements for an air tray container:
- Six (6) handles for ease in moving
- An identification envelope, window or insert to secure shipping documents
- Orientation label (“HEAD”) to assist in loading and unloading
An air tray is air-tight and leak-proof for health and safety concerns. Air trays also go into the cargo hold of the airplane and are secured by strong nylon straps attached to the tray.
Air Tray vs. Combo Tray
There are generally two types of transfer containers that are used in shipping human remains: air trays and combo trays. Airlines require these two for the legal transportation of human remains.
How are they different?
- Meant to encase caskets transported by air.
- This transfer container has a wooden tray with a cardboard cover.
- It also has strap handles made of nylon for better handling.
Combination (Combo) Tray
- Specifically designed for the air transport of human remains that are not placed in caskets.
- This transfer container has a box made of particle board and a tray and cover made of cardboard. Construction is meant to satisfy air shipping regulations.
- Made to be strong enough to ensure the protection of the human remains.
The construction of both air trays and combination trays follow the stringent guidelines established by the Air Transport Association (ATA).
While air trays and combo trays are usually made of wood and cardboard, there is another shipping container type for human remains that is made of metal. This is the Ziegler case casket. Ziegler caskets are mainly used for shipping human remains overseas.
Air Tray vs. Cremation Tray
When browsing for air trays, you may find cremation trays in a similar catalog. Although both are virtually made of the same materials, air trays and cremation trays are slightly different.
Cremation trays are used for the cremation of human remains. When cremating a body, it needs to be placed in a rigid and combustible container. It can either be a cardboard casket or a simple cremation container.
How Much Does an Air Tray Cost?
Air trays have a wholesale cost range between $60 and $175. This is the cost a funeral home will pay for the tray.
If you are a consumer looking for an air tray, airline companies themselves usually offer it as part of the transport cost.
It is most common that the cost of an air tray is included in the package when you pay for transporting remains. This will include the shipping fee, paperwork, service fees, etc.
(You also have the option to source an air tray from a retailer or a funeral home directly but it is less common.)
Air Tray Sizes
Air trays are available in many different sizes. The standard sizes available are adult, oversize, youth, child, and infant.
Just like casket sizes, the dimensions of an air tray are meant to fit different sized bodies across different ages. The adult air tray fits the average-sized casket and body. The same applies to other air tray sizes.
How Heavy Is an Air Tay?
An air tray weighs around 50 to 58 pounds, depending on size. If the air tray is smaller, expect that it will be much lighter than an adult and oversize air trays. Compared to caskets and Zeigler case caskets, an air tray is not too heavy because they are made of lightweight materials.
The maximum weight capacity of an air tray is up to 1000 pounds. The large maximum capacity is meant to accommodate both the weight of the casket and the weight of the body. For scale, the average casket weight is 200 pounds and the average weight of an adult man is about 198 pounds.
Recommended Air Trays
If you are searching for an air tray, here are some of our recommended options. These recommended air trays are available in average sizes. But all recommended companies offer different sizes for their air trays unless otherwise stated.
For the Consumer
If you are a consumer looking to buy an air tray, chances are you wouldn’t be able to buy directly from a manufacturer or retailer. This is because the cost of air trays is usually already included in a package offered for shipping human remains.
For instance, if you want to use the services of a funeral service provider or a shipping provider when transporting the deceased, they usually offer packages that include charges for shipping, basic services of the funeral director and staff, paperwork, embalming, transportation to the airport, and the air tray unit.
This is why when you try to browse online for air trays for sale, almost all of the manufacturers and distributors only cater to funeral professionals.
For the Retailer
If you are a retailer or a funeral professional looking for affordable and high-quality air trays, here are a few recommended manufacturers and distributors:
Lynch Supply: Deluxe Wood Base Air Tray Unit
Outside Dimensions: 88″ L x 32″ W x 25″ H
Inside Dimensions: 85″ L x 30″ W x 25″ H
The air tray has a plywood base measuring 1” x 4” and ⅜”. It has a white double wall and corrugated hood. This air tray has 4 corner protectors and it is water-resistant.
Each air tray comes with a full-size casket cover. It has 6 nylon webbing handles for carrying, 2 of which are strapped outside with high-impact buckles to secure the tray in place.
Lynch Supply offers air trays and combo trays in different sizes including youth and oversize. It is also IPPC approved for international shipping.
Starmark: Air Shipping Tray
Outside Dimensions: 87” L x 32” W x 23” H
Inside Dimensions: 83.75” x 22.75” H
Weight: 58 lbs.
Starmark’s air tray has a lid and liner that is made of corrugated fiberboard. It has strong reinforced corners and is 3rd party tested to carry up to 1000 lbs.
This air tray has strong nylon straps for easy carrying. It includes a casket cover bag and packing slip envelope to secure shipping documents.
According to Starmark, their air tray has a Heat Treated & Bug stamp so it is certified for international shipping.
Affordable Funeral Supply: Wood-Based Air Tray
This air tray has a sturdy 1”x4” base made of oriented strand board (OSB board) or plywood. The air tray also has a double-wall corrugated outer box with the labels “Head”, “Date”, and “Destination” to assist in loading and unloading. To save space, this air tray folds to 4” deep when shipped and stored.
For easy lifting and carrying, this air tray has 8 strap handles measuring 2” wide. Each air tray includes a plastic bag used to shroud the casket.
Affordable Funeral Supply offers many sizes for air trays and combo trays including an infant, child youth, adult, and oversize. They also offer Ziegler cases.
$64 (On their website, this price is listed for a minimum of 10 orders. You can call them directly if you want to order smaller quantities.)
No. Air trays are only meant for casketed remains. You can use a combo tray if the remains are not in a casket . Combo trays are specifically designed to encase and protect non-casketed remains.
Air trays and a cremation trays differ in purpose. They are both made of the same type of lightweight materials such as wood and cardboard, but air trays are designed to be used as shipping containers for caskets while cremation trays are made to be containers for bodies during incineration.
Yes. Just like caskets, air trays are available in different sizes such as adult, oversize, youth, child, and infant. These sizes are meant to accommodate different sizes of bodies across different ages.
Yes and no. Online sellers cater to funeral professionals. If you are a retailer or you work for a funeral home, you can order wholesale air trays online. For consumers, the air tray is usually included in the transport package provided by the airline or funeral professional. Most online retailers offer high-quality and affordable air trays that can be shipped across the US.
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