Former flight attendant reveals what really happens if someone dies on flight

They explained that the procedure had to be altered due to a grim reason.

Delving into the somber reality of air travel, a former flight attendant, Mandy Smith, who served with Virgin Atlantic for 12 years, has provided poignant insights into the protocol followed when a passenger tragically passes away during a flight.

Smith’s account not only highlights the procedural challenges but also underscores the delicate balance between professionalism and compassion that cabin crew must navigate in such distressing circumstances.

Recalling the former practice, Smith elucidated how deceased passengers were traditionally placed in the privacy of the bathrooms, a measure aimed at both respecting the individual’s dignity and separating them from other passengers. However, she candidly revealed the poignant dilemma this approach presented: the potential for rigor mortis to set in, leaving the deceased in an uncomfortable and undignified position. In her own words, Smith lamented, “Because they would be seated on the toilet, as they sat there – if rigor mortis set in – then they would be then stuck in that position, and they wouldn’t be able to fit in their coffin.”

This grim reality necessitated a reevaluation of the protocol. The new procedure mandates laying the deceased across the front seats, a measure intended to afford them a more dignified repose and mitigate the distressing implications of rigor mortis. Smith elaborated on this revised approach, stressing the importance of treating the departed with reverence: “Unfortunately, now, we have to lay them across the front of the seats and try and calm their loved ones down.”

Furthermore, Smith underscored the legal obligations of cabin crew in such situations, emphasizing the duty to continue resuscitation efforts until the passenger is officially declared deceased, unless the cause of death is evident. Reflecting on this aspect, Smith elucidated, “If they passed away on board, it’s the law that we, as cabin crew, have to keep going. So, we have to keep doing any kind of resuscitation until they’re deemed to be deceased.”

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Smith’s poignant account not only unveils the intricacies of the procedural adjustments made in response to the sobering realities of in-flight fatalities but also underscores the unwavering commitment of cabin crew to navigate these distressing situations with professionalism, compassion, and respect for the departed.

Written by Telha

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