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Monday, March 19, 2007

And You Thought Sharing the Armrest Was the Worst Part of Flying

I know that a lot of people don't like to fly. If you are one of these people and the idea of waking up next to a corpse would make you more uncomfortable, you might want to stop reading now.

On a British Airways flight from Delhi to London this past week, First Class passenger Paul Trinder awoke to discover that the flight crew had moved the body of woman who had died after take-off, from the economy section, to the seat next to his. In an interview after landing, Trinder told the press "The corpse was strapped into the seat but because of turbulence it kept slipping down on to the floor. It was horrific. The body had to be wedged in place with lots of pillows." British Airways has apologized to Trinder, but says that its flight crew dealt with the difficult situation as best they could given the circumstances.

Now, I'm no flight attendant, but maybe they could have moved Trinder to the deceased woman's seat, refunded the price of his ticket, and allowed the corpse a row to itself for the nine-hour flight to London. Just an idea.

Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased woman and we hope that British Airways will send Paul Trinder a book of drink coupons or something. I imagine he'll need a lot of alcohol before he gets on another plane.



Anonymous Jono said...

"Our cabin crew would like to remind you to use caution when retrieving baggage stowed in overhead containers, as corpses may have shifted in flight."

1:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding insensitive, the saddest part about this story is that she didn't even get to enjoy the incredibly pricey upgrade to first class.

1:23 PM

Blogger (A Little) Gris Gris said...

Seriously? This has never happened before? Surely airlines must have some sort of standard procedure for this that doesn't involve plopping the body down next to some unsuspecting (sleeping) first class passenger, strapping it in, and padding with pillows. That poor SOB was taking a really expensive nap! I hope he got a phatty voucher!

Anon: I'm afraid that anything we say about this situation is bound to come off as insensitive - for reasons beyond our insensitivity.

S&L - After reading this story during my lunch hour, I just knew that you'd be blogging about it soon. Thanks for always being there!

1:41 PM

Anonymous reebs said...

Having flown this past weekend, I'm trying to decide who would make the best seatmate on a long flight: Mr. Chatty McChatty-Pants on our 8 am flight, the three-year old budding soccer player who kicked the back of my seat for three hours straight, or a corpse.... At least the corpse was probably quiet, if not quite still.

2:02 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

I would take the corpse over the woman I sat next to on my way to Ireland. Here's how it went:

Lady: "Is that the Atlantic Ocean?!"
Me: "No, that is Lake Michigan."
(2 minutes later)
Lady: "Is THAT the Atlantic Ocean?"
Me: "No, that is still Lake Michigan."
Lady: "Do you mind if I let my teddy bears watch out the window?" (there were no less than 7 of them)

Sigh. -Lulu

2:09 PM

Anonymous Dr. Bombay said...

Just for giggles, I looked up what a first class Ticket from Delhi to London is on British Airways. Assuming you purchase two months in advance, it will run you about $6,500 USD, which I think explains why they had open seats in first.

I'll also note that if I had paid $6,500 for a plane ticket, I would probably be a little put out that someone had put a corpse next to me while I slept.

2:37 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

I'm sneaky, so I would have waited until nobody was looking and stole the dead woman's crab cakes/peanuts/fresh baked cookies/etc.

That might have crossed the line, but you really have to eat A LOT of First Class food to make up for the price difference.

I was once offered an upgrade for $50 flying home from Indianapolis. I asked the guy at the desk if it was worth it and he whispered "They don't give you $50 worth of snacks." Then he winked. -lulu

2:40 PM

Anonymous miremaiden said...

not to mention why they would be relunctant to refund that poor guy's money...

Lu—by "lady" do you seriously mean female-human-*over*-the-age-of-18?? with seven teddy bears looking out a window??

2:45 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

I do mean lady. She was mid-30's. It was an interesting flight to say the least. She bought a bunch of jewelry from the Duty Free Cart that they bring around when everyone is sleeping. Then she woke me up at about 3:30 am to ask if I could go get her a glass of water. Then she asked me what my Ipod was. -Lulu

2:51 PM

Anonymous Jono said...

Perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way? Maybe this could just be considered another feature or perk of British Airways' First Class Service. So that 6,500 bucks buys you:
1) an extra comfy and roomy seat
2) a personal entertainment system
3) better food and snacks
4) all the booze you can drink
5) a horrifying and grim reminder of your own mortality

Thanks, BA!

3:14 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said... "Take Stock of Your Life on our Scareplane!" -lu

3:17 PM

Anonymous Dr. Bombay said...

I wonder in the new Airbus 380 is big enough that it has an in house morgue to deal with such eventualities?

I did see one set of promotional concept drawings that showed it outfitted with sleeping cabins, like in a Pullman car. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to "Maiden Voyage". Hello!

3:17 PM

Anonymous Jono said...

Backing up a second...I'm still trying to figure out how Lulu was flying over Lake Michigan on the way to Ireland. DC to Shannon via Chicago? THAT makes sense.

3:50 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

Correct. We went from D.C. to Chicago to Shannon to Dublin. My seatmate wanted nothing more than to see the sun over the Atlantic.

We left Chicago at 8 PM in August. Use your knowledge of time, the pattern of the earth's rotation around the sun, and the location of Chicago to answer the following: A.) Is it possible to see the sun over the Atlantic if you leave Chicago for Ireland at 8 PM in August? and B.) Is it possible that 6 minutes into a flight from Chicago to Ireland your plane would be located over the Atlantic? C.) Do teddy bears really care what is outside of a plane window?

4:27 PM


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