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Is Your Seatmate Sleeping … or Is He Dead?!


That guy quietly napping in the aisle seat is asleep, right? Maybe not.

A new BBC documentary, A Very British Airline, which airs tonight, Monday, June 2, offers a behind-the-scenes look at air travel on the U.K.’s flag carrier. The three-part series shows how British Airlines flight attendants are trained to handle in-flight emergencies, including the most morbid scenario: death on a plane. What should crew do with an onboard body when a passenger has passed?

According to a report in the Independent, a British Airways flight-attendant instructor is filmed telling recruits that, some time ago, corpses were disguised in the manner of a propped-up Bernie Lomax. “It’s what we used to do many years ago—give them a vodka and tonic, a Daily Mail and eye-shades and they were like, they’re fine. We don’t do that [anymore],” said the instructor.

Hiding the body in the airplane bathroom is off limits as well, for various reasons. Airplane-bathroom doors only bolt from the inside, and an unfortunate passenger might wander into the unlocked, occupied loo. A body undergoing rigor mortis should not be tucked into a confined space like an airplane bathroom, as it could prove impossible to eventually remove. Plus it’s disrespectful, clearly.

When faced with a flying stiff, flight attendants are told to “tuck a blanket right up to their neck” and put the body in a seat. Move the cadaver to first or business class if necessary.

That’s one way to get an upgrade.

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