Onboard death: The chances are small, but it happens… How do cabin crew deal with it?

A Ryanair spokesperson told The Sun that the dead body would “usually be moved to an empty row or business class”.

To find out what exactly goes on behind the scenes and how procedures vary from airline to airline, The Mirror asked a flight attendant for insider knowledge: “All the crew have a medical action plan where roles are assigned from training, they work together to complete the medical in an efficient way so that no one is stressed and everyone remains calm and collected.

“We can’t actually pronounce someone dead, but we can divert to an airport where we are met by a medical team.

“When the flight lands, the crew are met by a care team in case they need support after what they have experienced.”

On a long-haul Air New Zealand flight in business class from Los Angeles to Auckland, passenger Sue Jackman saw her husband die. After laying down, he never woke up. Four hours later, Sue was still sitting next to him.

She shared her experience on Quora: “He wouldn’t wake up. I got a flight steward who then went and fetched a passenger who was a doctor. He performed the usual signs-of-life tests and declared him deceased approximately four hours prior to landing.


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