Airline to passenger: "Sorry, we've lost the corpse." A repatriated body was accidentally mis-routed. Budget Travel Tuesday, Sep 9, 2008, 2:48 PM Budget Travel LLC, 2016

Budget Travel's Blog

The latest travel news, vacation tips & advice, travel apps, and more

sep 09 2008

Airline to passenger: "Sorry, we've lost the corpse."

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

After his wife passed away from cancer on March 28, Miguel Olaya made arrangements with a Brooklyn, N.Y., funeral home to repatriate her body to their native Ecuador. The funeral home flew the body on American Airlines. Unfortunately, the airline lost the body, says the New York Daily News. An official accidentally entered the wrong code, and the casketed body was sent to the capital of Guatemala instead.

Here's how Gothamist describes the result:

By the time Olaya got his wife's remains, she was too badly decomposed for the planned three day wake.

Either the casket hadn't been property refrigerated, or it hadn't been properly embalmed, or both. It's unclear.

Of course, the airline wanted to charge a fee of $321 for having to ship the body to the correct location, according to the Daily News:

The funeral home said it shouldn't have to pay the charge and handed over copies of the billing information which had the correct destination on it. Apparently, a worker at the airline had typed in the wrong airport code: GUA for Guatemala instead of GYE for Guayaquil. American apologized and did not charge the fee.

Get Inspired with more from

Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


Loading Comments...

Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Check Prices