Flight Attendant Explains What Happens If A Passenger Dies Onboard

What happens if a passenger dies on a commercial plane flight? One TikTok-using airline attendant explains all.
Credit: @danidboyy1/TikTok

Death is an inevitable part of life, and sometimes it happens unexpectedly, even during flights.

While it might not be a common topic of conversation, the reality of what occurs when a passenger dies on a flight is important to understand.

Imagine being on a flight and someone suddenly falls seriously ill.

The airline’s crew will do everything in their power to provide immediate assistance, even if it means diverting the flight or administering first aid while airborne.

Their priority is the passenger’s well-being. However, if a passenger passes away unnoticed, the situation takes a different turn.

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A flight attendant, known as @danidboyy1 on TikTok, has shed light on the process of what happens when someone dies during a flight, based on the experiences of her colleagues.

In her own words: “Cabin crew cannot legally declare someone dead, so if the captain decides to not divert the plane, the body will remain on the aircraft until they have reached their final destination.

“If there is space the body may be moved to an empty row of seats or to a different galley or cabin, but if the flight is full, the passenger will stay in their original seat until they have reached their destination.”

While it’s an uncomfortable topic, this isn’t the first time flight attendants have revealed the protocols in place for such situations.

Flight attendant dead
The flight attendant explained what happens if someone dies on a commercial flight. Credit: @danidboyy1/TikTok

Another flight attendant stated: “I would probably put a blanket over the person so it would become less of something to look at.

“You want to maintain dignity and respect for someone who passed away. You don’t want anyone staring at them… that would be really sad.”

Passengers who have witnessed these events also have their own accounts to share.

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One traveller recounted an incident during an 11-hour flight: “A woman sitting two rows behind me on an 11-hour flight from Frankfurt to Singapore had stopped breathing on the last leg of the trip.

“The woman’s immediate neighbours were allocated new seats as they lay her across the row of seats.

“Once it was determined that there was nothing else they could do, they covered her body with a sheet (but not her face) and the flight carried on as per normal.”

@danidboyy1 ⛔️Trigger warning⚠️ This video may contain distressing content #cabincrew #aviation #airline #didyouknow #flightattendants ♬ original sound – Daniboy

The fact is, death during a flight is a sensitive situation that flight crews handle with utmost care.

Although it’s not something most people would want to dwell on, it showcases the professionalism and compassion exhibited by flight crews in ensuring the well-being of everyone on board.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.