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Old 01-06-2003, 04:54 PM
dp dp is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Livingston, AL,USA
Posts: 111
transporting dead bodies for funeral

when someone dies and they are a long way from home, how do they get the body home? i assume airplanes are used for great distances. do they use passenger planes? do they just put the body in the cargo hold? do they put it in a box of some kind?

on shorter distances, say like 300 miles or so, does the funeral home go get it? if so, do they charge by the mile? can a family member go and get a body?
Old 01-06-2003, 05:01 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
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Location: Bigfork, Montana
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Bodies can be flown great distances in the cargo holds of planes (where else on a plane would you put them?), transported by truck or train, or they could be picked up directly by the funeral home.

Each method has a different cost and time frame associated with it and yes, the body is placed in usually placed in a sealed plastic bag inside of a simple wooded box of some kind.

If you think about it, transporting a body isn't as delicate an operation as say transporting a dozen crates of fresh eggs.
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Old 01-06-2003, 05:02 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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By plane.

In a coffin of some type.

In the cargo hold - where it's cold.

I don't know if funeral homes charge by the mile, but it would be the families $$ that funded it.

I believe, in certain jurisdictions, a family member can transport a body with a proper licence, but I'm not positive. Also, I don't know how they get the licence.
Old 01-06-2003, 05:58 PM
soulburnz soulburnz is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: CR, Iowa
Posts: 158
What the body is shipped in, usually depends on the distance and who is actually picking it up.

If it's a short distance - the body might not be embalmed yet. And if it is being picked up by funeral home staff it might just be in a body bag. Or a large styrofoam crate with ice or ice packs in it. This would also depend upon the weather.

If it's a long distance - the body has usually been embalmed and is in a coffin - inside of a cardboard box.

My Uncle owned 3 funeral homes and we would ride with him occasionally to the airport to pick them up.
Old 01-06-2003, 06:23 PM
Dandylion Dandylion is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Englewood, Colorado
Posts: 13
This is not really an answer, but an interesting story:

After a person dies, the morgue or hospital places the body in a body bag with a tag stating who the person is. The funeral home picks up the body bag. Once when I was 15, I went to a funeral for a distant relative. The woman in the coffin was not the person we knew. Turned out the someone at the hospital put the wrong tag on the body bag. It took serveral hours to trace our kinsman, how was flown to another state.
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Old 01-06-2003, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,455
Hi, this is Charles(Funeral Home Employee), not JetGirl. The method of transport is based primarily on cost effectiveness and state/national law.

Each body must be accompanied by a Burial Transit Permit, identifying the person, and containing statistical data, like date of death and attending/primary physician.

Over long distances it's almost universal to use planes. A body must be embalmed in order to be shipped by plane, and must be inside a sealed casket(A type of casket made of steel or wood, with rubber along the edges to make it airtight.) or an air-tray, a wood/cardboard box with a plastic bag for the body. DeltaCares is a good example of an air freight system for body shipping. They are indeed placed in the cargo hold.

The funeral home can retrieve the body over shorter distances, usually charging a flat rate for X miles and then mileage for anything above that. If you have made arrangements with a funeral home in your native town, and die abroad, your funeral home will make arrangements for a local(To the place you died) funral home to embalm/ship you home.

For international deaths, most people cremate and mail the ashes home. Cremation is considered a final disposition, so whatever happens to the ashes after that, they are no longer considered a body by law. They can be sent through standard mail, UPS or FedEx. For body shipping to foreign countries, each country has it's own standard.

To ship to Italy, the body must be embalmed, placed in a Zeigler case(A lock down metal mini-coffin that looks like Count D would like it.) then inside of a sealed casket, which is placed inside of a screwed shut pine case no less than 1/4 in thickness.

Also, the funeral home places the body in the body bag, which is then tagged by local PD/Sherriff's Dept with a plastic tie that has to be cut loose to be removed to prevent tampering. In the vast majority of states an attended death(By a physician or a hospice nurse) does not require an autopsy if you're not in the hospital when you go, so the funeral home just goes to the house with a cot and takes you away.

If you were to, say, shoot yourself in the face with a shotgun, or hang yourself by a dog chain in the woods an autopsy would definately be required. The PD calls a funeral home(By rotation) and has them come to the scene after the crime scene guys are done, we put the body in the bag, they seal it, and then follow us to the hospital.

Another interesting note, in order for a body to cross a state line it must have a BT permit signed by a funeral director and a sub-registrar. So if I go from Tallahasee to south GA which is forty five minutes away, I have to have a contact on the other side to issue the permit, even if it's three AM, because BT Permits are state and not federal, it must be signed by a GA LFD.
Old 01-06-2003, 07:20 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Location: Montreal, QC
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Prop the body up in the passenger seat so you can use the carpool lanes.
Old 01-06-2003, 07:43 PM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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Originally posted by alice_in_wonderland
In the cargo hold - where it's cold.
It is the same temperature in the cargo hold as the cabin on all airplanes. All are within the pressurized envelope and the A/C system on airplanes pumps the same air into the cargo compartment as the passenger cabin. The forward cargo areas are usually the warmest place in an airplane due to the proximity of all the electronic equipment in the E-bay.
Old 01-06-2003, 09:55 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Hi, this is Charles(Funeral Home Employee), not JetGirl.
Welcome to the SDMB, Charles. We appreciate your detailed response to the question.

You should be aware that we have a strict one-person-one-username policy. You and JetGirl should not be posting under the same username. We invite you to register under your own name. If you two share a computer, it may be necessary to log out first.

moderator GQ

Last edited by bibliophage; 01-06-2003 at 10:00 PM.
Old 01-06-2003, 11:44 PM
dp dp is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Livingston, AL,USA
Posts: 111
thanks everyone.


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