When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Germany

Air Corpse One: When Airline Passengers Die On Board

It's a rare but hardly new question: what should airline staff do when a passenger dies mid-flight? Legend has it that British Airways used to use the 'vodka tonic' approach.

What to do with the flying dead?
What to do with the flying dead?
Michael Hegenauer

BERLIN — When a passenger dies on a flight, what do flight attendants do with the body?

A British flight personnel trainer recently acknowledged to the Telegraph that the subject was still a "grey zone."

But she did have some concrete advice for fledgling crew members: The best course of action is to place a blanket over the body, leaving the face uncovered, until the plane arrives at its destination. She said there have been cases when a crew member was delegated to sit next to the body until the flight ended.

If there's room in first class, the corpse should be brought discreetly by wheelchair to the available seat and installed there. Passengers in the immediate vicinity should be informed. In 2006, on British Airways flight BA 213 to Boston, a deceased economy class passenger rode first class for the last three hours of the flight.

This hasn't always been the recommended procedure. British Airways used to leave deceased passengers in their seats, making them look as if they were still alive and enjoying the flight. A sleep mask was placed over their eyes, a newspaper was opened in front of them, and they were served a vodka tonic.

Die Welt asked Lufthansa how their employees dealt with this delicate issue. "There is no established procedure, as we know from experience that the situations vary greatly," a spokesperson for the airline said. "The best thing is if the person is traveling with his or her family, and can be left with them."

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Deadly Strikes On Kyiv, Nine Killed In Israel West Bank Raid, Trump’s Meta Comeback

Meta has announced that it will allow former U.S. President Donald Trump back on Facebook and Instagram. Trump had been banned from the social media platforms for two years after the 2021 Capitol riots.

Emma Albright & Ginevra Falciani

👋 ආයුබෝවන්*

Welcome to Thursday, where Kyiv is facing a new barrage of Russian missiles, Israel troops kill nine Palestinians in Jenin, and Donald Trump is allowed back on Facebook and Instagram. Meanwhile, Niccolò Zancan and Giuseppe Legato in Italian daily La Stampa take us to Campobello di Mazara, the quiet Sicilian village where Italy's most-wanted fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro was hiding in plain sight.

[*Ayubōvan - Sinhala, Sri Lanka]

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest