Dead Men Board No Planes


Although I often complain about the unfairness of denied boardings for wheelchair-users, I finally came across an incident that (IMHO) was justified. Of course the subject of the incident in question was not just your every day run-of-the-mill wheelchair-user. There was something different about him. He was dead. Yep, that’s right, dead — gone, expired, passed-on, history, dust.

According to the BBC, 91-year old Curt Willi Jarant was wearing sun glasses when he tried to board his Berlin-bound flight in Liverpool. He was accompanied by his wife and step-daughter, and apparently the trio made the trek to the airport via a private car service. Airline personnel became “suspicious” of Mr. Jarant during check-in, and after removing his sun glasses they discovered he was no longer among the living.

His wife and daughter were detained, but they have since been released on bail. Some sources speculate that the women were trying to sneak him aboard the flight, as it was the cheapest way to get him back to his native Germany. The alternative (and might I add legal way) would have been for them to ship the body home by air freight in a hermetically sealed container.

The women claim that they didn’t know he was dead, but just thought he was sleeping. Mr. Jarant, a German national, was recently released from a Liverpool hospital; and although both women claim he was alive when they left for the airport, they did admit he was a bit pale.

My first reaction to this was “who would be stupid enough to try and smuggle a dead body on an airplane”, but then I remembered Dead Woman Rolling. Who knows. In any case, I’m glad I wasn’t on that flight!!

Maybe I’ll have to add a new tip to the next edition of Barrier-Free Travel book: Make sure all members of your party are alive before you board the aircraft; otherwise you will be denied boarding. And you’ll also become fodder for my blog!