back to article BA upgrades corpse

A first class British Airways passenger got short shrift from cabin crew after expressing his displeasure at waking up to find them manoeuvering a corpse into the seat next to him, the Daily Mirror reports. The elderly woman had apparently died shortly after take-off, and was quickly upgraded from economy to first class …

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Anonymous Coward

So that's how you do it

I always thought was a secret to getting an upgrade on the legendarily tight-with-them BA: you just have to die, or kill one of your travelling companions.

I would have dumped the body in a crew rest cabin (they have beds in them for shift changes on long flights) but you'd still have to do something with the relatives. I'm just amazed that they moved the family so they could keep seeing the stiff the whole way home.

They could have handled this one a bit better I think.

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So how often does this happen?

I was curious about the quote that the chap will use any other airline than BA now, does he think it might happen again on a BA flight?

What if someone with a first class ticket had died, would he still have complained?

He should show some sympathy and compassion, bereavement is not something that most of us choose when and where it will happen.

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Ugh...

Alright, it's gruesome and surely some better arrangement could have been made for the safe storage of the woman's body. That said, complaining because the woman's relatives were "allowed" to sit with the body and were griefstricken is frankly disgusting. I'd have been tempted to tell him that if their grief bothered him that much I'd be happy to refund his ticket and he could get out and walk.

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Anonymous Coward

What a horrid little man.

The airline could have had better procedures/storage areas but quite frankly this mans complaining is disgusting. I'm sure it was a very stressful experience for the crew as well as other passengers, not to mention the grieving relatives.

If I were BA I'd ban him from flying with them again.

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Nev
Bronze badge

Why move them?

Can someone explain why they needed to

move the woman and family at all?

Surely it would have been easier to leave them

all where they were. Instead of unceremoniously

hefting the woman's body around the plane.

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Self centered git

Unbelivable. OK, so it wouldn't be my idea of fun either, but to consider yourself hard done by under such circumstances beggars belief.

Does he really think that his transient discomfiture in any way compares to the grief of those who have suddenly and unexpectedly lost their mother ? Or that the the comfort of a wealthy white buisiness man takes priority over that of (relatively) poor Indians ?

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Anonymous Coward

What else are BA supposed to do?

In economy, the seats are packed in - if the deceased was seated on the aisle, the people down the row would have to climb over the corpse, etc.

In first, the seats are each a separate bed, with screens around. This shows some respect for the dead, and means minimal impact on other passengers. Aircraft do not have any 'body-sized' storage spaces just lying empty!

Recently, my wife travelled in First. In the cabin was a well-known millionaire with his kids, including a tiny baby who screamed almost the entire trip. Even passengers who pay thousands have to put up with other people sometimes - that's life. I think most reasonable people would understand and sympathise - and just use the eyeshades and earplugs provided if they need to get some kip.

I think this story reflects more on the kind of sad man who thinks that he can cut himself off from 'the great unwashed' by travelling First. He can't - and I'm glad.

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Could have done better

Ok, this guy is obviously a bit of a prick. But they really shouldn't have moved the body into another public area on the plane. The best place would have been the crews rest cabin, but they probably didn't want to hang around a dead body themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Body bag

Why don't BA invest in one of those fabulous devices called a body bag and stow the dearly departed in a spare first class toilet, or as suggested a crew bed on a long haul flight?

It's is not as if the departed are going to feel any discomfort and a body bag doesn't take up much space when it isn't in use.

I have never flown BA and given this sort of consideration I doubt I ever will.

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Anonymous Coward

Shame on you, Mr Paul Trinder

The real story here is the rich sadcase from First Class who complained. The previous comments are is absolutely right, this "building firm boss Paul Trinder" is a completely self-centred git and a horrid little man.

What exactly did this idiot Trinder want BA to do? Stick the body in the cargo hold? Chuck it out of the window? Tell the grieving relatives to keep quiet because the First Class passengers wanted to enjoy their champagne in silence?

BA have done a lot of dubious things over the years, but in this particular case they were quite right to tell Mr Trinder to get over it.

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Dead proles

If I'd paid first class I'd expect a no corpse policy. And I'd damned well complain about wailing babies. I think children under three should be banned. I don't care about your dead granny or baby, kindly stuff them in a cupboard until we land.

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Hipocrits! How many of you would like to PAY £3k to sit by a corpse?

I cannot believe you are blaming the passenger who complained!

How many of you would like to PAY £3k to sit by a corpse?

They should apologize and refund his fare.

Perhaps there was nothing better BA could do, but they shouldn't be rude to the poor sod who paid for the seat!

Really !!!

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Anonymous Coward

Don't blame him...

If I had paid £30,000 for a first class seat - I do NOT expect a corpse to be moved to sit beside me.

If the person dies in first class, I would consider it wrong to move that corpse to cattle-class.

If a person dies in cattle-class they should either be moved to the back of the plane, or a cabin.

Either way, if I was sitting beside that person I do NOT want to experience the results of a dead body, gas expellation, muscle spasms, etc, etc.

There should be some provision for this. An 8 hour flight with a corpse beside you turns an already awful way to travel into a nightmare.

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focusing on the wrong thing, here

The price doesn't really matter... I wouldn't want to have a dead body slumping onto me no matter what price I'd paid. Hell, I fly economy only (welcome to call centre wages) and I'd still be upset if I had to share my limited space with a dead person.

Why couldn't they have put the body somewhere more discreet? There would have been an extra toilet, I presume, even if there wasn't a sleeping area for staff... one toilet for the first class passengers and one for cattle class. Why not put the body in one of the spare toilets? As inhuman as it sounds, it's surely more dignified for all concerned.Perhaps she could have been laid on the floor in a spare row?

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Anonymous Coward

Lay off the guy.

People react differently to death and when you're locked in to a tight area with no where to go, it can become very unpleasant and stressfull.

The real question is that the crew could have acted differently.

As someone pointed out, there's the crew's quarters and other areas that they could have positioned the body. (And no, not the w/c)

So lay off the guy.

How many of you were forced to sit in a room with a corpse for 20 hours and it wasn't a family member?

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Silver badge

Surely there are health concerns...

Surely there are health concerns from having a corpse in a packed environment like an aeroplane???

The body shouldnt have been moved to first class, it shouldnt have been even left in cattle. Theres the crews cabin, various lavatories, and other secure places.

I can understand some logic in leaving it in cattle, but forget the complaining guy for a second... Why was it moved to first? I see no reason to move it there at all?

As for the rude way the crew treated they guy... well you try being forced next to a corpse... I wouldnt fly BA after that either.

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Anonymous Coward

No one says it was pleasant

No one who has critisised the guy has suggested that the experience was pleasant, But what you want, expect and get in life are three quite different things, and sometimes shit happens. To make a big girly fuss about it when it's when much worse shit for someone else is what so deserving of critiscism.

Why didn't he just ask for a seat in econmoy class, there were obviously some spare seats there.

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Anonymous Coward

Assumptions

M. Poolman, at what point does the article say that Trinder is white and that the lady who died is Indian?

As for the comment about people in first who want to separate themselves from the 'unwashed', people generally fly in first for the additional space. Jealous perhaps?

BA staff could have put the body in the crew rest area or cleared a row at the back of economy and shifted those passengers up to first. Yes Trindle should have been a bit more sympathetic, but BA should have done better.

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Dan

Flights of angels

I woke up to cabin crew manoeuvring the recently departed body of an old lady next to me, I might cock an eyebrow too. A free G&T would have been in order for the chap in question at the very least.

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Doesn't sound so bad to me

I would happily trade a nice peaceful dead one, for some of the fidgety, noisy, coughing, sneezing, snoring, farting, sweaty, smelly, live ones I've had sitting next to me on long haul flights.

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Bronze badge

If they must...

Assuming that BA HAD to move the departed and her relatives up to first, perhaps they might have let one of the rellies sit with her, rather than making someone unrelated be her "seat buddy"...?

I mean, since they apparently had sufficienrt extra seats in first class to accommodate the grieving relatives, surely placing the corpse WITH the family and AWAY from others might have been more sensitive to all involved.

I'm sure that, under the circumstances, being offered the option of moving to a different seat away from the vitality-challenged (perhaps with the offer of a free night-cap throwm in to help him get back to sleep) would have been agreeable.

...just a thought...

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re Assumptions:

re Assumptions:

"M. Poolman, at what point does the article say that Trinder is white and that the lady who died is Indian?"

OK it's an assumption but what money would you place on it being wrong ? Especially if you read the Sunday Times article.

"As for the comment about people in first who want to separate themselves from the 'unwashed', people generally fly in first for the additional space."

At what point did I say that in my post ?

"Jealous perhaps?"

You assume that jealousy is the only motivation to criticise a persons actions ?

"Trindle should have been a bit more sympathetic, but BA should have done better."

Definitely and maybe. Don't know what other constraints BA were under.

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Anonymous Coward

He's overreacting

She wasn't *next* to him, she was in the same row on the other side of the aircraft with her daughter next to her.

So basically he's complaining that the daughter dared to be upset at her mother dying suddenly, and that - to give the grieving relatives as much privacy as they could - they moved the body and the relatives to first class.

And they should obviously have shoved the corpse in a toilet while the relatives were onboard. I think not. If it's one person travelling alone, fair enough. If my mother died on a flight, I would not want her body just shoved somewhere.

My advice to him? Show some compassion. Get over it.

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Fair comment

Seriously, if I'd paid £3k for a ticket, I'd be less than happy at having a cadaver for company, especially on an eight hour flight. Then being told to "get over it", that's unbelievable..

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Re: Chris Collins

Chris, one day you may be infirm. One day you may be bereaved. God knows, and I hope it never happens, but you may even have children (*shudder*).

One day you CERTAILNY will die, I hope to God some one treats you with compassion you display you sorely lack.

You are a complete 4$$h0le Chris, I hope you know that. I would hope you will change your views, but I suspect not. People like you seldom do, but you are welcome to prove me wrong.

I can only say the airline crew did the best they could given the difficulties involved. It may not have been the best solution but at least it showed they were trying to do something.

I don't fly BA but I have to say I am more likely to chose them in future. 1 point for BA. (And nope, no points for you, Chris. W4nk3r.

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Anonymous Coward

re Assumptions:

re Assumptions:

"M. Poolman, at what point does the article say that Trinder is white and that the lady who died is Indian?"

OK it's an assumption but what money would you place on it being wrong ? Especially if you read the Sunday Times article.

I think you're prob right but I fail to see why you decided to comment on it

"As for the comment about people in first who want to separate themselves from the 'unwashed', people generally fly in first for the additional space."

At what point did I say that in my post ?

You didnt, read the next one

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Culture clash

"Or that the the comfort of a wealthy white buisiness man takes priority over that of (relatively) poor Indians ?"

+

"So basically he's complaining that the daughter dared to be upset at her mother dying suddenly, and that - to give the grieving relatives as much privacy as they could - they moved the body and the relatives to first class."

=

Ah ha! I get it - the basic complaint is the way that, in some cultures, it's correct to wail and carry on and generally make a huge racket over things like this. Meanwhile, nice white people who in the same situation would simply sniffle a a bit, pat each others hands and say "there, there", and who have bloody paid for first class tickets are forced to endure it.

He orta fly united. First hint of that sort of carry-on on a US arcraft, and the sky marshalls would start shooting people for being terrorists.

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come ON

jeepers guys! most of you I think seem to be missing the important point of the article.

When somebody dies, relatives cannot grieve in a bloody toilet or small crew sleeping room. any of you lot like to tell me that you would be ok crying over your dead mum/dad/nanna? in a cramped, smelly, airplane toilet? thought not.

This is really about giving people an appropriate place to grieve while minimising the impact of a dead body on the rest of the passengers. And where is it most comfortable to grieve and has the least passengers (even though they pay lots)?... thats right, Business or first class.

Now I know I'm ranting a bit but death is an important issue to a lot of people , and how we deal with loved ones and how we the grieving are dealt with is important too. So yes Mr Trindle was a right insensitive pillock... however he did pay a lot of money so maybe he should get it back but, he should also be able to "get over it" thanks.

I think I better stop my 2c now...

cheers

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Anonymous Coward

Food

Well at least some lucky passanger will be getting an extra meal and peanuts.

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Dan

Typical BA attitude

Regardless of the situation and 1st class passenger.....I see this as yet another example of why British Airways have failed in their basic customer service. I flatly refuse to fly BA anymore after repeated bad service from them.

They ignored my mother-in-law for 15 hours on a flight from Buenos Aires to Heathrow, when she was trying to get a drink of water so she could take her medication. They forced her to carry her own luggage when she is physically incapable of doing so and travels as a disabled passenger with good reason. They were also rude to her at check-in.

On her return flight they cancelled the flight because it was running 30 minutes late and supposedly the crew would be over the alloted hours. They gave no alternative flight, and shipped everyone to Hotels for the night. But they didn't bother to tell the majority Spanish speaking passengers this as none of the BA crew spoke Spanish. Again they made her carry her heavy baggage across Heathrow without assisting her.

Mind you many other companies have just as many ignorant and arrogant staff. I won't fly Ryan Air either as the majority of their staff are condescending and insulting.

The 1st class passengers situation is unfortunate but BA staff should have been a hell of a lot more polite, and explained things better to him and Im sure he'd have been more understanding. Although somewhere other than next to another passenger would have been a good idea tbh.

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Aren't there other considerations?

I thought that after death the muscles in the bowel relax and there's a pretty nasty smell? I don't think *anyone* would want to be beside a dead body that's stinking away. Crew beds it is then..... (they wouldn't all be used in a short 8 hour journey anyway).

Personally I would rather grieve in a toilet away from people watching me too - however I guess people have different ways of coping.

Personally I can't stand BA anyway - I know 2 people who have had gold BA airmiles cards (lots of work journeys) and they're never upgraded - however I've been upgraded to first for free on Virgin about 5 times. I even met Richard Branson there who was very patient and good-humoured about a stream of questions from a 10 year old in first class too.

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Anonymous Coward

Crew rest area

For the information of those who have suggested the use of the crew rest area for the corpse, there is one really big issue with this. Do you know where the crew rest area is? It's not a palatial cabin you know! It's in the narrow space between the ceiling of the passenger cabin and the skin of the aircraft.

Access to the crew rest area is via a very steep staircase and the 'cabin' itself is very low-ceilinged and cramped. I cannot imagine trying to manouevre a dead body into this space - certainly not with any dignity.

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Anonymous Coward

Airline economics

It seems that Mr Trinder went to the papers because he felt that BA didn't value his custom. I think he's right, but I feel sorry for him only because there are people who won't see it from his side and think he's a heartless B'stard

Airline economics says that if you want real service, you pay for it. He forked out 3 grand for a ticket which says on it (in invisible ink)

"I've paid a lot of money so that airline staff don't treat me like the the cheapskates in the back of the plane. For this wedge of cash, I don't expect my flying experience to be negatively impacted by other passengers whilst staff do nothing about it."

When staff failed to live up to his reasonable 3-grand expectations, what the story didn't mention was that he then, also quite reasonably, called the airline to extract a refund for the effective breach of contract on this flight.

Because this guy flies a lot, and spends a lot of money on those flights, BA should have realised how much dosh they make from this customer, and thus been really sensitive to HIS needs. By this I mean:

"So sorry Mr Trinder, our bad. We value your custom. Big bouquet of flowers on its way to you. What is your favourite tipple? A case on its way to you. Full refund of the ticket is on its way to you"

[Customer service guru advises - make sure the freebies actually turn up, many companies fall down on this point and BA specifically have in the past]

"Mr Trinder, your next flight with us will be FOC. We're sorry we didn't live up to our usual high standards, but we're glad that you'll allow us to demonstrate our service excellence with your your continued custom."

This country needs more customers like Mr Trinder - they drive up service standards. Those of you who have criticised him, do you ever complain if a product or service fails to live up to its promises? Or do you allow shoddy practices to slide?

Of course choices are limited when someone pops their clogs at 35,000 feet. Snap decisions have to be made if procedures are not in place to deal with such an eventuality. You don't want a dead body lugged back and forth, up and down the aisles of a plane.

But I wouldn't want to even know about a dead body on a plane, never mind see it in there just across the aisle. And for 3 grand a seat? At that price the ticket should have printed on it:

"No dead bodies. Guaranteed"

Don't even get me started on children on planes. That's for another day.

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Anonymous Coward

Six of one, a half dozen of the other...

BA should first and foremost have sought to move the body away from other passengers. This may have meant clearing a row or two at the back of a cabin, using a crew rest area, or possibly even a lavatory if no other space was available. In such a situation, they should sympathetically explain to relatives that there is little other choice.

Of course, if a particular cabin (be it First, Club or whatever) is relatively empty, it is reasonable to use that space; and indeed, reasonable to invite a relative to travel with the body if they so desire (although personally, I imagine I'd prefer not). HOWEVER, out of mere courtesy, one would expect the crew to first explain the situation to any nearby passengers and offer them the opportunity to move seats (by downgrading if necessary, in which case a refund of the fare difference should of course also be available).

BA crew ought to always bear in mind that their First product is promoted as one of the most relaxing and comfortable forms of travel in the world and indeed, is sold at a premium to match. Any action likely to adversely affect such passengers' experience should be a last resort, even when faced with such an extreme and distressing event as a death. As such, their (reported) reaction to Mr Trinder's complaint was unacceptable.

On the flip side, his behaviour was grossly insensitive. I'm sure that, had he asked for a quiet word with the CSD and volunteered to move (if nothing else, to provide the grieving relatives with some privacy), he would have been given a very comfortable seat in Club and a free flight for the future.

Overall, arrogant passengers are to be expected; inconsiderate cabin crew, especially in the First cabin, are not. BA should do better.

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Re: storng.bare.durid

"Chris, one day you may be infirm. One day you may be bereaved. God knows, and I hope it never happens, but you may even have children (*shudder*).

One day you CERTAILNY will die, I hope to God some one treats you with compassion you display you sorely lack.

You are a complete 4$$h0le Chris,

[blah blah more up-in-arms ranting]

I don't fly BA but I have to say I am more likely to chose them in future. 1 point for BA. (And nope, no points for you, Chris. W4nk3r."

Looks like someone missed the sarcasm *entirely*.

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Other airlines do better

On the one hand it does mark the guy as quite British, hoping the situation will go away on its own without him taking action by volunteering to move.

And on the other hand this happens all the time now. BA have about 20 people a year die on planes. Mostly long haul flights to India/Singapore/Australia to which elderly people are taking (the last) trip of a lifetime. They tried putting them in the toilet - which works ok until rigor sets in. Then you can't get them out.

Singapore Airlines and several others have corpse lockers and body bags on long haul for precisely this reason. And yes, it's a health concern.

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Anonymous Coward

customer service!

A lot of people commenting about whether the guy should have "put up with it" or not. That's not the issue.

Basically, BA failed at customer service.

He's right to complain. The enjoyment of his flight was significantly affected. It wasn't his fault. It wasn't BA's fault. It wasn't the dead lady's fault. "It just happened". Whether he paid £3 or £3000, he found that the service delivery didn't meet his expectations.

As a business, BA should realise that every now and again "it just happens", and as a result, everyone suffers discomfort. BA should be able to figure out the economics, and therefore factor it into their operating costs. Passengers who complain, like this guy, should be given a refund or something. The staff who have to move and manage the dead body, sure, they should get some paid stress leave if they're affected by it.

Nobody is happy with this kind of situation, so just deal with it as a business to make everyone as "less unhappy" as possible.

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Badly handled by BA

Even supposing we accept that BA had no choice but to move the body to First class, they dealt with this extremely badly. This man paid over £3000 for a ticket that should have allowed him to fly in comfort and was expected to fly with a corpse. He should have been offered a refund on his current journey and an additional free flight, at the very least.

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Anonymous Coward

What this man needs is guidance in developing a better system of values, not a £3,000 refund.

If this man in first class was so upset about sitting next to the dead woman and her two grieving relatives, he should have just walked back to coach and occupied one of their original seats. I guess keeping his first class seat for the duration of the flight was more important.

What this man needs is guidance in developing a better system of values, not £3,000 a refund.

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Maybe it;s just me

I'd not be bothered by it at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Weekend at Bernies

No, no, no! BA handled it all wrong. Haven't they seen "Weekend at Bernies"? It's about a dead guy - his friends try and make out that he is still alive. They should have just pretended she was drunk and kept plying her with pretend G&Ts. Really people !

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