Colossal Airline Blunders: Tell us your Battle Stories

Tracy Stewart, March 18, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:

    Did you hear the one about the airline delivering a corpse to the pet store? Wait, not kidding.

    That really happened yesterday in Philly, and - as a former baggage handler responsible for shuffling around the occasional dead body - I cannot imagine how. Seeing the words HUMAN REMAINS glaring out at me from the cargo manifest was always pretty sobering, no matter how goofy and 'TGIF' my day may have been going previously. Then there's the part whereby the body was mistaken for, uhm, a box of fish. Living ones. Yes, even though the casket is encased in cardboard, it's still labeled with the deceased's info and (clue!) the head is marked THIS END UP towards the nose of the plane as to avoid embalming fluid from exiting the mouth. Which - had I ever actually witnessed - would have caused lunch to exit from my mouth. Ew.

    Our point is, it's hard to mistake a dead human for living fish. Just like it's hard to justify trapping passengers for 9 hours on the runway with little water and a shoddy toilet, it's hard to justify not refunding a fare when a passenger has to undergo emergency surgery or -worse- has died, or - like we saw in Honolulu last month, tell a little girl in an oxygen mask that she doesn't meet early boarding criteria because she doesn't have a doctor's note.

    These kinds of colossal blunders and heartless judgement calls happen every day, and no doubt you've suffered through one during your own travels. Got a tale of woe to share with the class? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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