As a pilot, it’s my job to consider everything that might go wrong on a flight and have a plan of action for dealing with it. But I can honestly say I’ve never thought about this scenario:
British Airways has issued an apology to a first class passenger on a flight from Delhi to London last week who woke up to find himself next to a dead body.
The cabin crew had used an unoccupied seat in his row for the body of an elderly woman who had died in the crowded economy section about three hours after takeoff.
Paul Trinder, 54, told the Mirror and Sun tabloids that he woke at 30,000 feet to discover the flight crew strapping the body into the seat near him.
“I woke to see the cabin crew manoeuvring what looked like a sack of potatoes into the seat. Slowly, through the darkness, I realized it was a body,” the businessman told the paper.
“The corpse was strapped into the seat, but because of turbulence it kept slipping down onto the floor … It was horrific. The body had to be wedged in place with lots of pillows.”
It seems the flight crew could have done a better job handling this situation. British Airways alienated a guy who flies their airline 200,000 first class miles per year. On the other hand, I can’t think of any way of dealing with this tragedy without upsetting someone, especially when the aircraft is fairly full. An aircraft — even an airliner — is only so large.
I was shocked to read that BA experiences this ten times per year. Chalk it up as another reason to fly general aviation.