Travel

British Airways swears it doesn't "Weekend at Bernie's" dead passengers

20TH CENTURY-FOX/PHOTOFEST

Despite what the media echo chamber says, British Airways claims it never had a policy about propping up dead passengers in a seat with sunglasses and a newspaper to make them appear asleep.

So unfortunately for Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, "Weekend at Bernie's 3: Lomax Takes London" won't be happening any time soon.

A representative for BA told Thrillist the confusion stems from a documentary series airing on BBC2 in the U.K. about the company, called "A Very British Airline". In the show's first episode, a flight attendant trainee asks about what to do if a passenger dies on the plane (jump to the 33:10 mark).

The instructor explains that in the past, flight attendants "used to give them a vodka and tonic, a Daily Mail and eye shades, and tell ­passengers they were fine", but that "we don’t do that any more. Now you would cover them in a blanket up to their neck”.

She goes on to say the company policy is simply to ensure the deceased doesn't block any doors, and that the bathroom is a strict no-no for dead people, since they won't be strapped in. If the body hits the floor inside the lav, a crew will have to disassemble the plane to remove it. No Mile High Club for Bernie Lomax.

Of course, the salacious nugget took off in the British press, which added the detail that dead passengers would be moved to first class, though the clip does not explicitly state this information. 

When reached for comment, a BA spokeswoman told Thrillist via email:

"We expect our cabin crew to treat customers who have passed away with dignity and respect. This usually involves trying to move the person to an available seat in the most private area possible. The individual will be covered with a blanket. Our cabin crew will then focus their efforts on looking after any family, friends and travelling companions to give them privacy and support at an extremely stressful and upsetting time".

The bottom line: Dying is not a good way to get a first-class upgrade. And if your friend ends up being dead tired, he'll just have to sleep it off in his seat like Ahnold's buddy in "Commando".


Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Travel Editor. He finds the Britishisms "lorry", "zebra crossing", and "having a shower" amusing. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.