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Airline Policy When A Passenger Dies?  
User currently offlineFlyinHigh From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 71 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9814 times:

What is an airline's policy when a passenger dies on a flight?
Do they land at the next nearest airport?
Do they move the dead passenger to a vacant restroom and lock the door? Surely they can't leave a dead passenger beside you in a seat for hours (especially if you are on a non domestic flight)?
Is there an official FAA policy or is it up to the individual airline?


Flown on A300,320,321,330, B717,727,737,747,757,767,777, BAC 1-11, BAE 146, D228, HS-121, L1011, MD 80, S360
33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8266 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9784 times:

They would blame it on the catering company . . .

User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9770 times:

Quoting FlyinHigh (Thread starter):
What is an airline's policy when a passenger dies on a flight?

Policies differ from airline to airline. I have firsthand knowledge of a specific airline's policy which specifically states the body should be placed out of direct view of passengers. It makes no references to placing the body in a lavatory, however.

Quoting FlyinHigh (Thread starter):
Do they land at the next nearest airport?

A diversion is dependent upon the route of flight and distance to the nearest suitable airport. If you're flying, Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, you're probably not going to be able to divert anywhere for a few hours. When I was a Purser I can recall many Captains telling me on our India to Europe route segment, that if anyone died when we were overflying Iran or Iraq, we would not divert. There are other cases where diversions for deaths are not an option for many hours enroute.

Quoting FlyinHigh (Thread starter):
Do they move the dead passenger to a vacant restroom and lock the door?

It is an option.

Quoting FlyinHigh (Thread starter):
Surely they can't leave a dead passenger beside you in a seat for hours (especially if you are on a non domestic flight)?

When you buy a ticket, you're at the mercy of whatever airline you're flying on. They can do what they want to you, no matter how unfair it may seem.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9761 times:

If I am right, technically by Law it isn't dead until it is on the ground. The death certificate will say he/she died on the ground, they cannot and will not be pronounced dead on board the plane. So it is considered indisposed at the moment.

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlinePgtravel From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 446 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9715 times:

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 1):
They would blame it on the catering company . . .

Definitely don't have the fish!

But seriously, I seem to recall that someone (SQ?) was installing a closet where a dead person could be stored on the 345 aircraft on the ultra long hauls. Am I completely making this up?


User currently offlineVasu From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 3914 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9697 times:

Quoting Pgtravel (Reply 4):
Am I completely making this up?

No, there was even a photo of it on here! It got deleted though... anyone know why?


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9689 times:

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 3):
If I am right, technically by Law it isn't dead until it is on the ground

If there is a MD onboard, they can pronounce the passenger dead. However, as long as an MD is present, a person can be pronounced dead anywhere, anytime.



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineCPHGuard From Denmark, joined Jun 2006, 278 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9657 times:

Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 6):
If there is a MD onboard, they can pronounce the passenger dead. However, as long as an MD is present, a person can be pronounced dead anywhere, anytime.

Correct.

It has occured a couple of times during my time at CPH, that someone dies on the flight.
If the person is dead, i dont think they would divert the plane, mainly because of the costs involved.
You should also remember, that if the person is travelling with a friend or relative, it is probably more practical to get to the destination, instead of ending up somewhere else.

I never heard of a dead person being moved to the restroom. Depending on the size of the person, it can be rather difficult to move a dead person around inside an airplane.
I also think, that it is rather unethical to stash a dead person into a restroom.

In the cases i have been involved with, the person has been moved to the back row, and covered with a carpet.
This is of course only possible, if the flight is not filled up to the last seat.

Regards
Thomas


User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9591 times:

The more important question is...

Who gets the extra meal??



An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineBobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 9559 times:

Who gets the miles? Does the person earn miles for the whole trip?

User currently offlineAeroplan73 From Canada, joined May 2006, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 9539 times:

Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 6):
If there is a MD onboard, they can pronounce the passenger dead. However, as long as an MD is present, a person can be pronounced dead anywhere, anytime.

What if you aren't a real MD, but you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night? Would that count.  duck 



I remember, the choices were chicken or fish. I had the lasagna.
User currently offlineGeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 980 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 9487 times:

Lord have mercy!

I am not a Monty Python fan, but they have a sketch in which a guy tries to return a dead parrot to the pet store, and the owner insists the bird is only sleeping and not dead. As a physician, I can assure you, dead is dead. It don't matter if its declared or not. Rest (in peace) assured that the guy ain't coming back.

Yes, SQ flies with a morgue on the 345. My then 17 year old son tried it out for size (17 hours non stop is a long time, especially after a 4 hour flight to LA followed by a 3 hour layover.) This was one event that the Singapore Girls are not trained for (live people rather than dead ones trying out the facility; dead ones they can handle, and they don't answer back.) Two poor girls were speechless. I tried to stop him, he wouldn't listen, and it was a long flight. The event did break the monotony. He got some Chinese buns after promising to come out. Somehow, I can't see a Delta FA being so magnanimous.

I have a cousin who flew on Pakistan Air (?) whatever and one of the passengers in economy decided to meet up with Allah. I am told, but cannot verify, that they just put a white shroud over Uncle Osama, fastened his seat belt, and continued the flight. He was not offered a choice of chicken, meat, or fish, however, his seat mates were. This was a packed 747. Cousin Howie is one to exaggerate at times, but his description of flying with what looked like a ghost still resonates. He never flew with Pakistan again. (The shroud makes sense to me, especially on a packed flight; I'm not certain how Air India would handle a similar situation, but I don't think I would want to be around) As for stashing the deceased in the toilet, well, if you're going to go, well, go. Just please, post a "do not enter" sign on the door.

Being a doctor actually can be fun sometimes!



"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 789 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9448 times:

Post mortum bodily movements anyone sitting close to the deceased?

User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 9356 times:

Quoting Aeroplan73 (Reply 10):
What if you aren't a real MD, but yournstayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night? Would that count.

Irndon't get the humor associated with this. Personally, I don't get thernhumor associated with any of the off-color remarks with regard to thisrnthread.

I did have a passenger 'pass' on a flight one time, and I can assure you, it's not pretty. Nor is it an experience I'd like to have again.

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 11):
Being a doctor actually can be fun sometimes!

Being a Flight Attendant can be fun sometimes, too!



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 9330 times:

Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 13):
Personally, I don't get thernhumor associated with any of the off-color remarks with regard to thisrnthread



Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 13):
Being a Flight Attendant can be fun sometimes, too!

Then lighten up Randolph!!

Oh wait.... you work for nwa..... carry on.



An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineAeroplan73 From Canada, joined May 2006, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 9292 times:

Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 13):
Irndon't get the humor associated with this. Personally, I don't get thernhumor associated with any of the off-color remarks with regard to thisrnthread.

I am sure it's a difficult situation when someone passes on a passenger jet.

The person who initiated this thread posed the hypothetical question, so a little humor is hardly out of line.



I remember, the choices were chicken or fish. I had the lasagna.
User currently offlineBobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 9292 times:

The reason for the humor is possibly because there have been serious discussions on this topic in the past. Try using the search function. And, frankly, it's hard to be serious while trying to visualize an image of a dead person being sat down on the toilet.

User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6095 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 9200 times:
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After landing and pulling up to the gate would they wheel the deceased off through the terminal or would they take the deceased off out of another door? as not to disturb the people at the gate. I would think that after the body gets stiff it might be hard to get it out of the seat. Back in 1984 there was a dead person in a sleeping car on a train I was on. They took him off at the next station after they found him (which was Denver) I wonder if that is where he was getting off in the first place.


My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 9037 times:

I would imagine that an ambulance would meet the flight airside and remove the deceased rather discreetly. As for the railroad, the reason that the deceased was removed at the next station is that all US railroads that I know of (including Amtrak) require that the deceased be turned over to competant staff at the next open station or other location which the railroad may designate for that purpose. If the passenger is traveling in a sleeping car, the conductor will secure the compartment and no one will be permitted to enter until the body is removed. If the passenger was in coach, they would remove the other passengers to other cars as the body should not be moved until removed from the train and turned over to station staff or the coroner. Railroads also had rules applied to bodies found along the right of way. Generally the body was not supposed to be moved but left in the care of a diligent employee while the train proceeded to the next place where they could contact the coroner or police to remove the body. If railroad employees did end up transporting the body to a station, they were to avoid transporting the deceased across a county line for jurisdictional reasons.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineVhqpa From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 1463 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 8941 times:

I believe SQ's body cupboard is refrigerated and some crews use it as a wine chiller



Jason



"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
User currently offlineFlyinHigh From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 71 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8813 times:

Thank you for all of the replies. It appears as though there are varying policies with regards to this.

The comment about moving the dead person to the restroom wasn't meant to be humorous or Monty Python/Faulty Towers like, it was more practicality. I hadn't imagined that the deceased would be specifically placed on the toilet seat.

Can you imagine travelling with your children, who sit beside a guy who dies and then ask them to not look at this person for the duration of the flight? Then, according to some replies, they put a white sheet over the body!!! I think they would be very frightened and have nightmares for many nights/weeks. When my kids were younger, they could not sit still in their seats once at cruising altitude.

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 11):
SQ flies with a morgue on the 345.

This seems to make the most sense.

Quoting CPHGuard (Reply 7):
You should also remember, that if the person is travelling with a friend or relative, it is probably more practical to get to the destination, instead of ending up somewhere else.

Maybe not, if you were outbound going on vacation, you may want to retrun home as quickly as possible.



Flown on A300,320,321,330, B717,727,737,747,757,767,777, BAC 1-11, BAE 146, D228, HS-121, L1011, MD 80, S360
User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8770 times:

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 3):
If I am right, technically by Law it isn't dead until it is on the ground. The death certificate will say he/she died on the ground, they cannot and will not be pronounced dead on board the plane. So it is considered indisposed at the moment.

Hmm. What I remember reading from a previous post was that airlines prefer the body to be pronounced dead outside the plane. If the body is pronounced dead onboard, there are extensive quarantine measures that have to be taken. They take up a lot of time and are very costly. For that reason, some airlines have a policy of performing CPR on the body until it is taken off the plane.

Some airlines have body bags that they will use to put the body in. There are a number of reasons for doing this (appearance as well as the body begins to smell and releases liquids shortly after death).

Quoting Vhqpa (Reply 19):
I believe SQ's body cupboard is refrigerated and some crews use it as a wine chiller

I've heard that as well.  Wink

-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offlineGlom From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2818 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8747 times:

Quoting FlyinHigh (Thread starter):
What is an airline's policy when a passenger dies on a flight?

Serve dinner!


User currently offlineDc10s4ever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8747 times:

What if they die just before departure on an oversold flight, does their family get the travel voucher for the dead persons seat? BTW American refers to the "departed" as a Jim Wilson.

User currently offlinePeachAir From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 367 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 8433 times:

Quoting SafetyDude (Reply 21):
What I remember reading from a previous post was that airlines prefer the body to be pronounced dead outside the plane. If the body is pronounced dead onboard, there are extensive quarantine measures that have to be taken.

After working in the industry for 23 years with three airlines, this seems to be the policy. Back in 1990, We had a flight come in with a deceased passenger - they were not declared dead until the body was in the jetway.

When I was 16 I flew on a DC-10 from LAX-IAD (on a legacy carrier who shall remain nameless) I was sitting two rows behind the mid galley sitting in an aisle seat. We were about half way through our flight. A passenger had expired in the row directly behind the first class cabin. It was an elderly person, and they placed her body on the floor in the mid galley and a physician (sitting in FC) came back an was shaking his head - they put blankets over her.. I can still remember seeing her shoe pointing up - popping out of the end of the blanket. No announcement was made in flight, but everybody knew what was goin on. Once we were on the ground, we were told to remain seated unitl the "medical personnel" were clear of the aisles. A mobile lounge pulled up to the back of the aircraft and the coroner came on board to remove the body. The word " Fairfax County Coroner" printed on the back of their jackets. It was eerily quiet, one of the flight attendants was crying and I remember it taking forever to get off the plane.


25 RichM : I can't see how they would effectively move a dead body to a "Body cupboard". Surely lifting the deceased over some seats and carrying their body down
26 TuRbUleNc3 : When i did cabin crew training at college, generally the procedure was to lower an oxygen mask, cover them up with a blanket and place the oxygen mask
27 Travelin man : Last year my father was in Biz Class on KLM LAX-AMS. Somewhere over Montana they guy in the row behind him met his maker. The flight attendants put a
28 Planespotting : Hmm, that is a good question. I would imagine that persons account earns miles up until the end his terminating flight (no pun intended).
29 Post contains images Charlipr : LMAO!!!!
30 FLYACYYZ : At AC it's classified as "Apparent Death", as no crew member has the legal authority to pronounce a passenger deceased. Only a physician may declare a
31 FlyinHigh : Isn't law strange?? Even to all of us non medical people, we can tell when someone is dead by the fact that they have stopped breathing, no pulse and
32 TWAL1011727 : If a person dies on a flt....the A/C is considered a crime scene. The FBI (usually) will get the names and addresses of all pax onboard. The whole pro
33 Post contains images FlyKev : Many years ago, my dad flew on a United flight to LAS and a passenger died onboard. He seems to recall it was just covered up. On a lighter note, woul
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