FlyinHigh From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 71 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10175 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?
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.
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.
Atrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5717 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10122 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.
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
CPHGuard From Denmark, joined Jun 2006, 279 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10018 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.
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.
GeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1024 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9848 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
Bobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 9653 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.
Falstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6256 posts, RR: 30
Reply 17, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9561 times:
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.
57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2586 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9398 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."
FlyinHigh From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 71 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9174 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 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.
SafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 9131 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
PeachAir From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 367 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8794 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.
: 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
: 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
: Hmm, that is a good question. I would imagine that persons account earns miles up until the end his terminating flight (no pun intended).