STS Quarterly Issue 4: December 2018

Common Mistakes in Air Transfer and How to Avoid Them (Part Four)

By Dave McComb and the Eagle's Wings Air Team

After managing over 120,000 flights, we've seen a thing or two. Eagle's Wings Air has managed air transportation of human remains for the last 10 years, working with funeral home professionals across the country for domestic and international ship outs. Here are more of the most common, easily-avoidable mistakes firms make:

Failing to check the flight status

Got several hours to waste? If your airport is hours away and you drive there to meet a flight that isn't arriving, you just did! Perfect weather in your town doesn't mean terrible storms aren't happening at the origin airport or in connecting cities. Check the flight status.

If you fly or follow the news, you know that everything from weather to labor disputes to unruly passengers can throw a flight schedule into chaos. Human remains are subject to those same delays. Your time is valuable, and you don't want unpleasant surprises for the family. A simple check of the flight status can save you a lot of time and embarrassment.

Sharing an unconfirmed flight itinerary with the family

Did you know that no more than two human remains are allowed on a flight?

Many people think you can pick up the phone, book a flight to anywhere in the world, and that's it. When shipping human remains, it's not that simple, especially for international shipments. Unlike passenger travel where there is an inventory of seats available, cargo is booked according to the weight and volume capacities of the cargo hold.

The airline must confirm that there is enough space and that no more than two decedents are on board. This takes time, and if you are requesting a flight for an international destination where the domestic airline must transfer to an international carrier (called an interline shipment), the confirmation will take up to three business days or longer, not including weekends and holidays.

If you've promised the family a quick and easy booking process and showed them an unconfirmed itinerary that has their loved one across the world in days, they'll be steaming mad at the delays. Don't put yourself in a position to play the blame game with the airlines, set the family's expectations about how long the process takes and never share a schedule that isn't a confirmed reservation.

Read past issues of the most common air transfer mistakes.

Selected has partnered with Eagle's Wings Air to help members provide each other and their families the very best in transfer services. When a family's loved one needs transport on a flight originating in the United States, click here to book air transport with the experts at Eagle's Wings Air.

Need a funeral home you can trust to help you with embalming, cremation or ground transport? Click here to find one of the more than 270 Selected member firms who are STS Agents.

You are receiving this message because you are a designated Selected Transfer Services agent. To locate fellow STS firms for transfer assistance and for more helpful information, visit the Selected Transfer Services section.

Have a best practice or a helpful transfer story to share for a future issue of STS Quarterly? Email Dan Beavers or call 800-323-4219.