I was researching articles at work yesterday afternoon when I came across this interesting piece for financial advisors on including a “final flight” along with final expense insurance. It said that many immigrants want to be buried in their home countries after they pass.
It’s obviously very expensive because you’re paying for the weight of the body, casket, and air tray. An air tray is an outer contained made of super stable plywood and cardboard. It has to have 6 handles and be able to hold up to 1,000 lbs! Where you send yourself after you pass also affects the price. According to the article, 2.4 million people died in America last year and Delta reported that it moves about 25,000 bodies each year. Yeeps!
The article also listed the airline lingo and other details associated with shipping bodies.
Before a person even dies, he or she can cover the costs of shipping the body back to the country with insurance. Each country has it’s own notification and shipping requirements for bodies. Paperwork has to be completed 100% correctly in the native language or your dead body won’t get through customs.
Once you die, you’re sent to the nearest approved funeral home. They prepare you for shipment according to your customs (embalming or sealing in the casket, etc.), pack you up safely, and send you to the airport.
For example, in the state of Alaska, the busiest time for the funeral homes is during the summer, when a huge number of cruise ships arrives carrying thousands of passengers, many of them elderly. The funeral homes there stay busy with ship-outs to the Lower 48. (source)
The other interesting part? Only specific funeral homes can prepare a body to be transported to the airport. After September 11, the government thought of everything. They don’t want anyone shoving explosives into caskets! Approved funeral homes have restricted preparation room access and increased security in transporting bodies to airports. Even still, all cargo (even bodies) are screened for explosives.
Just imagine the next time you fly, a dead person could be in the cargo!