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Transporting Cadavers On Airliners  
User currently offlineLatinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2806 posts, RR: 11
Posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 9800 times:


Well, I always wondered how this happens, and now a death in the family brings up the question of the logistics involved in the transportation of a decadent on an airplane.

First of all, how does it work? I assume that a mortuary company transports the coffin to the airport. Then they unload the coffin at the cargo facility and then the airline baggage handlers load the coffin into the aircraft? Upon arriving at its destination, the coffin in unloaded from the aircraft and transferred to a cargo facility where the Hearst is waiting for loading.

Also, I assume that the airlines have special procedures to handle such situations and these are handled by the cargo department of the airlines operations. Do airlines charge a fee based on weight and special handling, or is a standard one-way fee.

A family member passed away, and his immediate family wishes to transport the body from his residence in Atlanta to his native land in Mexico. Although it sounds like a costly option, it is probably less costly than having it done in the States (dying in the U.S. is very expensive event).


P.S. Interestingly enough, I remember that during the early 90s, in order to raise desperately needed funds, bankrupt Eastern Airlines was running a special promotions for such services.

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently onlineGARUDAROD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1566 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 9783 times:


You are correct in the above sequence. That pretty much is what
happens. If the remains are being transported to Mexico, the Local
consulate will have to get involved as well to stamp all of the paperwork.
The funeral home should take care of this. Most of the Major airlines
have a special services area that deal specifically with human remains.
The price is usually just one fee plus taxes based on the zone or
mileage but International routings are much more expensive.
I would instruct your family to get in touch with a funeral home right
away and if you have any questions, contact Delta or Aero Mexico
My condolences to your family....

Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
User currently offlineLatinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2806 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9711 times:

Thanks for everything GARUDAROD

That is very interesting. I forgot the legal paperwork that goes along with the a death of a person, especially if they are citizens of a different country. It's good to know.

I'm not directly involved with the situation, but my little brother in Atlanta is helping out with the arrangements, so I'll ask him what he learned from the experience. I think they're going to transport the body on Delta, since its the airline that flies non-stop between ATL and GDL.

 Smile LatinPlane

User currently onlineGARUDAROD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1566 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9658 times:

You are welcome LatinPlane.

Glad I could help. Let me know if you need any further help.
I've been in Air Cargo for 20yrs and worked with more than
my share of bereaved families.

Take care

Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2627 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9637 times:

First my condolences to you and your family.

The only other thing I know about transporting HR (human remains) is the tradition of orienting the casket feet first in the cargo hold. And also to use a separate baggage cart for the coffin with nothing else on it, out of respect for the deceased.

Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineCaptaink From Grenada, joined May 2001, 5119 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9595 times:

The actual shipping is quite like shipping as cargo. You have your airway bills, but of course you need additional paperwork, death certificates, medical reports as the case may be.

The body usually comes in a proper casket ready for burial, which is also loaded into a cardboard box that is then seal and wrapped with a strong plastic band.

Sometimes however bodies are sent in smaller wooden boxed to be put in a proper casket at the final destination. BUt still in the cardboard box sealed and wrapped.

There is something special about planes....
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