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Swede nets refund after flying with dead man

The Local/pvs · 23 Jun 2012, 16:35

Published: 23 Jun 2012 16:35 GMT+02:00

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"Of course it was unpleasant, but I am not a person who makes a fuss," Lena Pettersson told the newspaper.

Pettersson works as a reporter for Sveriges Radio (SR), the state broadcaster which first broke the story of her macabre holiday flight to east Africa.

When Pettersson boarded her Dar es Salaam-bound flight at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport she noticed that her co-passenger wasn't looking on top form.

"He was sweating and was having convulsions," she told SR, adding that although the flight attendants were present, the plane took off all the same.

When the aircraft was airborne staff put out a call for medical help and while the ailing man was subsequently given cardiac massage, he died a few hours later.

With Kenya Airways staff seemingly baffled by the incident and unsure of their next course of action, Pettersson was obliged to sit only a narrow aisle away from the dead man for the remainder of her overnight flight.

After her holiday, Pettersson decided to seek compensation from the airline, concluding that she had not been entirely satisfied with her flight.

Story continues below…

After a couple of months of email communication with Kenya Airways, Pettersson was refunded some 5000 kronor ($713), around half the cost of her ticket.

"This feels much better. It is reasonable," she said to SR.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:02 June 23, 2012 by NorseHorse
TL editor: this piece needs to be pulled and re-written - enough errors and poor language to severely affect comprehension.
19:59 June 23, 2012 by entry
The numerous irritations of air travel plagues our modern society! If airlines provided larger overhead storage I am sure the demised man could have been placed out of sight to lessen the discomfort of the surviving passengers for the duration of the flight.
22:17 June 23, 2012 by Morenikeji
I commend the graciousness of Ms Petterson. She comes across as someone really nice.
23:17 June 23, 2012 by Skipdallas
To entry:

That is not a good idea. Newly dead bodies sometimes leak some rather disgusting fluids and semi-fluid materials. Having these things in an overhead rack would enable them to rain down on the passengers. Plus it would be the devil to clean up afterwards. They should have belted him securely into his seat after covering him with a blanket. And served free drinks to everyone to toast him on his way to whatever afterlife he believed in.
08:51 June 24, 2012 by byke
Why is a Swedish radio report flying to Africa?

Is that how broadcast license fees are spent?
10:17 June 24, 2012 by klubbnika
"Of course it was unpleasant, but I am not a person who makes a fuss," .

Eh, sorry, but isn't asking for a refund making a fuss??
10:30 June 24, 2012 by salalah
Do you also get a refund if you put some poison in your fellow passenger's food and then complain that he is not responding?
18:17 June 24, 2012 by Rebel
If this flight was from Miami then maybe a passenger could have just gone all zombie on the corpse.
21:28 June 24, 2012 by johan rebel
I wouldn't mind a corpse across the aisle on every flight if I got 50% off each time.

The best course of action would have been to put the body in one of the lavatories, and lock it. The living passengers would surely have managed with one toilet less.

Kenya Airways, by the way, does not fly from Amsterdam to Dar es Salaam. KLM does, with a stop at Arusha.
22:10 June 24, 2012 by spo10
It took a couple of months worth of email correspondents before she got 50% refund. Now that's a huge fuss don't you think? And I feel that it's the airplane's entire fault. They should have made an emergency landing and spare the the rest of the passengers and crew this madness.
02:40 June 25, 2012 by entry
@23:17 June 23, 2012 by Skipdallas

Of course my remark was facetious although the storage bins seem to be molded plastic with quite a large lip at the bottom. My thoughts were that if there was no need to preserve a crime scene that the body could have be relocated to a lavatory(Johan Rebel seemed to have been thinking as I was). My concern was not just one for the emotional discomfort of the other passengers but one of quarantine of possible pathogens. Lavatory vents could have been sealed to reduce the recirculating air flow and the body could have been somewhat preserved with the limited bags of ice.
10:30 June 25, 2012 by DAVID T
Sounds like sitting next to your average Swede
12:53 June 25, 2012 by Åskar

Yes, broadcast licensing fees are used to pay the staff so they can go on vacation abroad. Does this concept come as a surprise for you?
14:16 June 25, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
Sounds like she needs to have a concrete milkshake and toughen the fck up.

Deaths happen and don't really see how a bit of money is going to make her feel better. Ridiculous compensation culture.

She should see the positive side that she wasn't kept awake by her fellow passenger snoring or climbing over her to get to the toilet.
14:20 June 25, 2012 by hunnysnowbee
Seems the airline couldn't have done right what ever they would have done. Left the poor guy where he was, other passengers complaine. If he had been put in the toilet space, as suggested by other posters, then I guess the guys relatives would have complained about how disrespectable they had treated him after his death. If they had made an emergency landing, (which I would have thought would have been the most logic thing to do in this sort of situation), then passengers would have complained about the delay and possible missing of connecting flights, and relatives may have complained about having to retrieve said mans body from where ever they had made the emergecny landing. I'm guessing they just did what they thought was best at the time in what must have been awful circumstances for all concerned.
14:38 June 25, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
Would have cost the airline a fortune in fuel, landing slots, potential fines and insurance for the plane to have made an emergency landing, which would have to be paid in cash at the air strip where they would have landed.

Once the fella was dead, there wasn't much point anyway, just more hassle and cost for his family to get the body from a previously unconnected country.

Still unsure how exactly that 7000kr would settle Petterson's dissatisfaction...no doubt she'll be giving it to the family of the man who died...
14:39 June 25, 2012 by klubbnika
... Also she was sitting not next to him but across the aisle.
21:48 June 25, 2012 by ridgeback
The airline, in failing to disembark such a seriously ill passenger, has probably contravened a whole raft of regulations governing health and safety and put at risk not only their own passengers but others who may have come into contact with the unfortunate man at the point of departure and arrival. It is not known what he suffered and died from or whether it was infectious, but the consequences could have been far reaching and affected many other innocent people. It is not a question of being compassionate, that goes without saying, but he should not have been allowed to travel in his condition not only for his own good but for the wellbeing of his fellow travellers.
01:48 June 26, 2012 by kristisking
Am I wrong in assuming the man was having CONVULSIONS and no one was alerted, no medics were called for? The passenger simply "did not wish to make a fuss" thereby ensuring the victim had NO assistance from a doctor nor were medical help called pre-flight? "sweating.. convulsing" I myself would hope I would summon help, not just SIT there and say to myself "I don't want to make a fuss.." Thank God I was not the victim sitting beside this person, I would be having a heart attack yet my seatmate sits there and twiddles their thumbs "not to make a fuss.."
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