What Happens When Someone Dies on a Plane?
All airlines have their own procedures for what happens if and when somebody dies on their aircraft, but unsurprisingly they’re generally pretty reluctant to talk about them. Death is a bit of a taboo, after all, and in some cases the procedures can seem a little inelegant, so they’re kept under wraps.
Indeed, there are few government regulations for what airlines must do if someone dies on board: there’s no requirement to immediately divert, and airlines are given fairly wide scope to make sensible decisions. They’ll usually make them in conjunction with remote medical advice companies on the ground, any medical professionals on board, and the airline’s operations center, which will also assess the practicalities of the decision.
On a shorthaul flight, say a couple of hours or so, the aircraft will generally land swiftly, although this won’t always result in an immediate emergency diversion to another airport. Sometimes, it can make more sense for the plane to continue to its intended destination if it is carrying a particularly heavy load, because the maximum landing weights planes are certified for are usually quite a bit less than their maximum takeoff weight, which is usually accounted for by the fuel that’s used in flight.
On longhaul flights, however, things get a bit more complicated. There aren’t a huge number of places to divert to in the middle of the world’s oceans and it can be some time until a suitable diversion airport can be reached.
In addition, if the person is indeed dead, there aren’t a huge number of things that diverting to another country unexpectedly can do to help the deceased and any family traveling with them.
In practical terms, it may make more sense for the aircraft to continue to its intended destination — where the person who has died and their family will presumably hold visas and other necessary paperwork, where the airline will have staff, and where the family may well have friends and relations who can be of assistance — rather than to land in a third country in which the airline may not even operate.
As a rule, airlines will do their very best to be supportive and compassionate to families during this kind of incident, and assist with the repatriation of their loved one’s remains.
Very few people technically die on board
Officially, the crew aren’t (usually) trained medical doctors and so generally can’t declare somebody dead on board the aircraft. If a doctor is present among the passengers on board they can do so, although most often this is usually done on the ground after landing.
To the best of my knowledge, only one modern aircraft had a special locker in the event of a death onboard: that was the Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500, which used to fly the world’s longest flights between Singapore and Newark. Since its retirement (and recent replacement), though, I’m not aware that any other aircraft has them installed.
Indeed, if someone dies, you may not even notice. In the event that a passenger dies peacefully in their sleep, the most dignified option may well be to simply cover them with a blanket and quietly reseat other passengers.
If the usual onboard announcement for doctors or other medical professionals for a passenger having an emergency is made, however, and the outcome isn’t a positive one, the dead person may be moved to the galley area or to a business class seat, especially in the event that these are the flatbed type, covered with a blanket, and secured with a seat belt. If there’s no business class, the crew will often try to move them to an empty row, although as we’ve all seen when we fly there are fewer and fewer empty rows out there these days.
Sometimes their destination will end up being the “crew rest” seats, which are the ones you may see on some aircraft with a little curtain around them to enable relief pilots and off-shift flight attendants to rest during the less busy cruise phase of the flight. The curtain provides some privacy for the deceased passenger, and with the row blocked off anyway it helps to provide a bit of dignity as well.
The authorities may quarantine the plane on arrival
Upon landing, the aircraft and its passengers may well be held in quarantine while the authorities do some initial medical checks to ensure that there are no public health issues that need to be addressed.
This will usually include checking that the passenger had not recently traveled to an area of particular concern (Western Africa during outbreaks of Ebola virus disease, for example). This can often be concerning if ground medical personnel board the aircraft in hazmat suits, but it is largely out of an abundance of caution.
Your onward travel or return home is unlikely to be delayed in these cases: the primary objective in this sort of effort is to ensure that other passengers are not showing symptoms of any illness, and to ensure that the authorities have detailed itineraries and contact information in the event of needing to follow up.
Unfortunately, this sort of procedure is increasingly having to be used when unvaccinated people fall ill from previously eliminated infectious diseases like measles or whooping cough, whether that’s on the flight or shortly afterwards during an infectious period.
Aviation journalist John Walton writes regularly on travel for Lonely Planet and a variety of aviation magazines. He welcomes questions and discussions from readers on Twitter (he’s @thatjohn) or via email to email@example.com.
Hotel vs. Airbnb: Which Is Best For Your Next Vacation?
The battle between hotels and Airbnbs has been waging since the peer-to-peer vacation rental company launched in 2008 – spurring a great debate between these two types of accommodations. Deciding where to stay on your next trip, though, depends on what’s most important to you, since both lodging options have their share of pros and cons. Need help determining whether a hotel or Airbnb is right for your next vacation? Ask yourself these questions. How much space do I need? One factor to consider is how many people you’re traveling with. A family of six could conceivably share a hotel room, but it would be a tight squeeze – and cramped quarters can put a damper on your vacation. (Teenagers want their space!) A large home through Airbnb would give your group more room to spread out. Do I want to meet other travelers? If you’re looking to strike up conversation with fellow travelers, hotels offer a number of shared spaces, such as the hotel bar, restaurant, or gym, where guests can mingle and meet people. Some Airbnb properties provide guests opportunities to socialize with other people through shared rooms or common spaces, but many of them don’t. Do I want to live like a local? Some travelers relish being able to experience a city like a local, which makes them preferential to Airbnbs. Moreover, many Airbnb owners give guests insider tips, such as their favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, watering holes, and hidden gems throughout the city. Some hosts will even meet you when you arrive and give you a tour of their city. What services am I looking for? Airbnbs don’t provide the same hospitality services that traditional hotels do, such as valet parking, bellhop, housekeeping, security, free breakfast, room service, and 24/7 concierge. Therefore, you need to assess how important these services are to you; if you don’t mind making your own bed, for example, an Airbnb may meet your needs. Which is the cheaper option at my destination? Want a budget friendly accommodation? Many travelers presume that hotels are more expensive than Airbnbs, but lodging prices vary depending on the city, a recent analysis of Airbnb and hotel rates by Money.com found. For example, in Charleston, NC, the average hotel rate per night was $180, while the average Airbnb nightly rate was only $112. But in Augusta, GA, the average Airbnb rate of $350.25 was more than triple the average hotel rate of $107. Those findings echo a busbud.com study of hotel and Airbnb rates in popular cities. The takeaway? It pays to research hotel and Airbnb prices at your destination before making a reservation. Another thing to consider: Airbnb hosts may be willing to negotiate their rate, depending on factors like demand and how many nights you’re staying. (A longer rental could help you nab a deal.) Do I need a washer/dryer? More than half (53%) of travelers surveyed by Clever Real Estate said they prefer Airbnbs because of household amenities. So, if you’re taking a long vacation where you’ll need to clean your clothes, staying at an Airbnb that has a washer and dryer offers convenience – and it can save you a ton of money, considering hotels charge top dollar for laundry services. Do I want to cook my own meals? Similarly, if you’re planning to cook while you’re on vacation, you’ll need a home with a kitchen where you can prepare meals. And though some hotels offer suites with kitchens, these hotel rooms are often pricey. Do I have privacy concerns? In the Clever Real Estate survey, 58% of travelers said they were concerned about hidden cameras when staying at an Airbnb – and 7% said they've stayed in an Airbnb where they discovered a hidden camera. (Eek!) Hotels, meanwhile, are held to security standards that prevent them from putting cameras in hotel rooms, giving guests peace of mind that they’re not being watched. Am I comfortable staying in someone else’s home? Many Airbnb hosts leave behind personal items, like family photos or religious keepsakes, that make some guests feel like they’re intruding. Meanwhile, hotel rooms are depersonalized and de-cluttered. Do I want a guaranteed reservation? In many cases, Airbnb hosts can cancel reservations with little or short notice to guests. If that happens, you could be left scrambling to find a place to stay. This is an area where hotels have a competitive advantage, since hotel reservations cannot be canceled unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a natural disaster that renders the hotel uninhabitable. Do I like to stay at the same hotel chain? If you’re a frequent traveler, you may be able to earn nice perks, such as complimentary room upgrades or even free nights, through a hotel’s loyalty program. (Despite rumors of an alleged “Superguest” program, Airbnb has not rolled out a loyalty program for travelers.) The verdict Deciding between a hotel and an Airbnb is a big decision – one that hinges on a variety of factors. Some travelers prefer to be pampered by a luxury hotel, while other travelers could not care less about having 800-thread-count bed sheets or turndown service. By answering these questions honestly, you’ll be able to determine the best lodging option for your needs.
These Are The Safest Countries in The World for Travelers in 2020
The organization released its 11th annual Travel Risk Map, an interactive map which predicts the safest and most dangerous places to travel in 2020, as well as the biggest issues travelers will face. Countries were ranked in different risk categories: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme. The Nordic nations were grouped in 'insignificant', along with Switzerland, Greenland and Slovenia. The US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of Europe were rated as having a "low" level of travel risk, in addition to Argentina, Japan, China and Namibia.According to International SOS, criteria was based on "the current threat posed to travelers by political violence, social unrest, as well as violent and petty crime." Other factors include transportation infrastructure, industrial relations, the effectiveness of security and emergency services and susceptibility to natural disasters. Those ranked as having a "medium" risk level include Russia, India, South Africa, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mozambique, Brazil and Indonesia. The report considers Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan to be "extreme" risk countries due to ongoing conflicts, while Mexico has a mixed rating. The states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are considered "high" risk, while the rest of the country is deemed "moderate". India, Egypt and Madagascar also have mixed ratings. If you have any health or security concerns about a country you're planning to visit, it's always best to check your government's travel advisory reports.
Cheap Places to Fly in 2020
An unexpectedly cheap flight can facilitate the latter, and to help travelers plan for adventure in the new year, Scott’s Cheap Flights has crunched the numbers, examining new and existing airline routes, historic pricing trends, and fare data from 2019 to forecast 20 cheap destinations to look for in 2020. “Travel is always a top New Year’s resolution, but the cost of flights deters many of us from making those dreams a reality,” founder Scott Keyes said in a press release. “Fortunately, we are living – right now – in the Golden Age of cheap flights. Far from affordable flights being impossible to find, it’s never been as cheap to fly internationally as it is today.” To be clear, these aren’t necessarily bargain-basement fares – they’re good-value destinations that should become less expensive than in years past. Places like Japan, for example, saw new routes to additional gateway cities in 2019, which brought down prices and increased competition – a trend that looks set to continue next year, especially factoring in interest generated by the summer Olympic games and the launch of even more routes between the US and Tokyo’s Haneda airport.The email subscription service also expects to see a bump in deals to East Africa – and to Nairobi specifically – in 2020. That’s thanks in large part to Kenya Airways’ enrollment in the Air France/KLM partnership and daily flights from Paris and Amsterdam that resulted from the partnership, which made it easier to connect via Europe than ever before. Deals to the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde as it’s also known, are expected as well, thanks to TAP Air Portugal’s continued expansion between the US and the island nation.In the Southeast Asia market, Malaysia tends to represent a better bargain than its regional neighbors. All Nippon Airways is known for running deals (in partnership with United) from US cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, Seattle, and Washington, DC via Tokyo, and as the hub for budget carrier AirAsia, you can often find flights from Kuala Lumpur to nearby locales like Bali, Myanmar, and Phuket for less than $100 roundtrip.Much of Europe feels like well-trod territory at this point, but the tiny principality of Liechtenstein is a somewhat unexpected option, with fairytale-fodder castles and a national trail network that makes it easy to trek from one end of the 160 sq km country to the other. At approximately nine times the size of Washington, DC, it’s so small that it doesn’t have its own airport, but Zürich is a short train ride away, and good fares are often available from the US – a likelihood that should roll over into 2020 as Swiss International Air Lines adds direct flights from DC.Stateside, 2019’s fare war between Delta and Alaska Airlines brought a plethora of deals to routes between Seattle and Alaska, and that shows no signs of abating in 2020. Look for low prices from Delta hubs like Minneapolis and Detroit to Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as bargain fares from Alaska’s west coast hubs. For the full list of the 20 places to go on cheap flights in 2020, visit scottscheapflights.com.
5 Steps to Booking a Hotel Deal Anytime
We love asking "Where will you go next?" and then showing you how to seal the deal, pack your bags, and go. Our Book a Hotel tool (see the button on the top right of this page) literally puts the world at your fingertips, helping you to research and book hotels, motels, B&Bs, and other lodging anywhere in the world through our partners at Booking.com. Here are five easy steps to nabbing a good deal anywhere, anytime. 1. Choose a destination and your travel dates On the upper left of our book-a-hotel page, you'll find a box where you can enter the name of the destination you’re thinking of visiting and your check-in and check-out dates. You may enjoy trying to stump the database, but you'll soon find that it can find you lodging just about anywhere, from Mali to Maui, from Bali for Birmingham. 2. Review lodging options Hit "Search" and a list of available lodgings will appear (in rare cases, a destination such as a small town or remote park will offer only one or two nearby lodgings, but typically you'll get quite a list to choose from). You can choose to view lodgings by price, or view the database's top picks, which represent properties that are frequently booked and have been well-reviewed by customers. (Top picks may be especially desirable if you're visiting an area that's new to you or where you'll be unfamiliar with the language or customs.) 3. Get a little picky We encourage you to push the database to suit your needs, employing the menu on the lower left of the hotel listings. You can filter for common factors such as price range, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, kitchen, swimming pool, and more. 4. Read reviews and the fine print The listing of lodgings gives preference to frequently booked and well-reviewed properties, so you may not need to go deep into user reviews. But reviews are ample if you choose to take a peek. You'll also want to review a property's "fine print" and policies regarding children, smoking, pets, and other important details. 5. Reserve your room You may especially love how quickly you can select and reserve your room, and you will not be asked for banking or credit card information, simply your name and email address. Yup, our booking tool is that easy, and we hope it makes it a little easier to answer that question we started with: "Where will you go next?"