Flight attendants have a code word for when a passenger dies

Kristine Tarbert

It might not be something you’ve ever thought about but with billions of passengers flying each year a death on a flight is bound to happen.

In May of this year alone almost 5 million people flew domestically in Australia.

Although it’s not the best situation, airlines have procedures in place should a passenger suddenly pass away 30,000ft in the air.

Be spoke to an Aussie pilot that said only a doctor or a nurse can officially pronounce a person dead on a flight, otherwise it’s up to authorities on arrival.

With billions of people in the sky it's inevitable that a death may occur. Photo: Getty

“If a person does pass in flight, you place the body in a seat and fasten the seatbelt, move other passengers away if possible, cover the body with a blanket and the captain will record the time and location approximately,” the pilot tells Be.

The crew will notify authorities so they are there when the plane lands, but in the meantime crew are required to communicate in “an inconspicuous way as to not alert the surrounding passengers to the situation and to be respectful.”

Crew will put a blanket on the person and try and move passengers away. Photo: Getty

Staff members are very conscious of not wanting to upset others on board and so some airlines have apparently come up with a code word when refereeing to a deceased passenger.

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Obviously such codes and phrases would need to remain a secret, but according to The Mirror, American Airlines use the name ‘Jim Wilson’.

American Airlines reportedly use the name Jim Wilson. Photo: Getty

Sara Marsden, is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and said the company has a dedicated help desk for funeral homes called the "American Airlines Jim Wilson Service".

The name comes from the crates used to transport dead bodies - Jim Wilson Trays.

Not all airlines have a code word. Photo: Getty

Not all airlines have a code word. A Qantas employee confirmed to Be the Aussie airline does not, but they follow the same procedures as listed above.

As they say in every safety video ‘your crew is here to look after you’.

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