Here’s What Happens When Someone Dies On A Plane

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If there’s one thing in life that’s inevitable it’s that eventually you’ll die but if you were thinking of trying to outrun the Grim Reaper by hopping on a plane we’ve got bad news for you people die on planes all the time. 

But what do the poor cabin crew do with the unlucky sods who drop off this mortal coil mid-flight?

Well it turns out there’s a procedure for dealing with the dead, after all roughly 3 billion people fly every year many of whom are elderly so it’s inevitable that some people pop their clogs in the air.


Speaking to Business Insider, commercial airline pilot Patrick Smith explained exactly what aeroplane crews have been taught to do if someone dies.

He claims that basic protocol varies from airline to airline and that decisions are made on a case to case basis but basically the flight crew and ground control work together on a plan to handle the situation.

For example in the event of a medical emergency such as heart attack or stroke then the decision may be made to divert the plane to the nearest airport.

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If the passenger dies though the cabin crew have to work out what to do with the body. In an ideal situation the body will be stored in a respectful manner, away from other passengers on an empty row.

Other airlines will place the corpse, covered in a sheet, in the back galley of the plane.

Unfortunately it’s not always possible to move the body and on crowded flights the body is simply covered up and strapped into a seat.

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If your lucky though some planes, like the A340-500, come equipped with an affectionately named ‘corpse’ cupboard which is a compartment just large enough to hold an average size body.

Not going to lie that sounds horrifying…