Woman Forced to Sit Next to Dead Man in 10-Hour Flight From Hell

Say What!? 40

flightThere certain things all air travelers just have to deal with these days -- bad airport food, screaming kids and delays. Dead people, however, shouldn't be one of them.

A Swedish woman was forced to sit across the aisle from a corpse on a 10-hour flight to Tanzania recently.

The sick passenger was sweating and suffering from convulsions while the plane was at the gate in Amsterdam, but the flight still took off.  He apparently died shortly thereafter. "I asked to move, but they said there were no other places,"  Lena Pettersson told a Swedish radio program.  

She complained to the airline and got back half of her $1400 ticket, a sum she thought was "reasonable." But that just doesn't seem like adequate compensation to me. A partial refund!! Please! In the past I have received two free flights just for being bumped from my seat. 

I expect a heck of a a lot more if I have to fly with a corpse. It's hard enough breathing comfortably after someone starts coughing in that confined space. Can you imagine relaxing with a dead guy next to you ... for 10 hours?!  My heart goes out to his family, of course. But what Pettersson went through was beyond inappropriate. The airline needs to pony up a bigger payout.

Do you think that passenger deserves a full refund or more for being forced to fly next to a corpse?

Images via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

airplanes, death, travel


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calim... calimom73

shouldn't the plane have been diverted when a passenger DIED on board?

LizB86 LizB86

Oh those tolerant Swedes...an American would have claimed they suffered PTSD and emotional distress from the incident and sued the airline!

UKFan136 UKFan136

She didn't have to sit next to him, he was across the aisle. It isn't the airline's fault that he passed away on the flight, I think her partial refund is more than enough.

dirti... dirtiekittie

let's flip this, shall we: if there was no other place for HER to sit, what exactly where they supposed to do with his dead body? if they can't put a live one somewhere, where would they put the dead one? in the cargo bin? terrible... someone else mentioned diverting the plane - but if it's a 10 hour flight, i'm imagining possibly transcontinental, so you can't quite stop when you're over the ocean.

i think partial reimbursement was just fine. it's a terrible situation, but it's not like the airline knew he would die in his seat (to be fair, he wasn't elderly, he was a guy in his 30's... while he probably shouldn't have boarded if he were THAT sick, they certainly couldn't have known he'd die from his ailments.)

alisa... alisabethjaimes

I think she is handling it very well and I commend her for that. But I can't begin to understand why they didn't land the plane ASAP. The body was obviously a health hazard, as so far it appears he died from his illness... Patient zero, anyone?

nonmember avatar Lisa

If he died shortly after take off they should have turned around rather than leave a corpse on the plane that may or may not have died due to a communicable disease. Recycled air anyone?

cmjaz cmjaz

Well its now June. Yep, it should on take 6 months for the deadly disease that guy had to go global by 12-21_12. Doesn't that airline watch the movies?

nonmember avatar Jen

If they were still at the gate, shouldn't he have been removed from the plane? Medical emergencies are much easier to deal with on the ground...

nonmember avatar ComeFlyWithMe

If not too far into the flight they should have turned around or diverted the landing (Sweden to Tanzania isn't entirely over the ocean/water - mostly land actually - plenty of places to divert).

That being said, the person complaining was sitting across the aisle, not directly next to. I'm imagining a 10hr international flight wasn't a small jet. The guy was sharing an armrest with someone I assume. And on a full flight there was someone directly in front and back of him - why aren't we hearing them complain as much as the person with an aisle in between her and the corpse?

Nj Eirojnkcin

I think this woman should get a medal for being so cooperative. I personally would've wanted my entire cost refunded but wouldn't go crying PTSD but I'd be a little unnerved mostly due to wondering if what he had was contagious. I commend these people on the flight I think as Americans we've become sue happy cry babies. I do however wonder about the other people on the plane's reactions and wonder why they didn't divert the flight (considering American flights stop for someone who is simply ill) I think it's awesome that she was cool with her half refund!

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