STS Quarterly Issue 1: March 2018

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

By Dave McComb and the Eagle’s Wings Air Team

After managing over 119,000 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 some of the most common, easily-avoidable mistakes firms make:

Scheduling Services Before the “Guest of Honor” Arrives

We at Eagle's Wings Air always ask if services are scheduled at the destination. If the flight is international, we suggest not scheduling services until you have a confirmed flight itinerary. Flights change. Delays happen. Documents go missing. We always encourage you to suggest to the family that they wait until their loved one has arrived to schedule services.

Put yourself in the following situation. Imagine the estimated arrival day for a family's loved one is Friday in Lusaka, Zambia, and services are scheduled on Saturday. Now imagine a mix-up in paperwork happens at the origin, or the domestic airline fails to transfer to the international carrier in time to make the flight. The flight has to be rebooked, resulting in a 48 hour delay.

Now what will the family do? How will those 48 hours affect the preparation of the body? It pays to educate your families on the complexities of international flights. You might save yourself the stress of having to tell them their father will miss his own funeral.

Shipping Personal Items with the Decedent

Airline requirements and security measures prohibit shipping anything other than the decedent and burial clothing. Never include personal items, like jewelry, pictures, keepsakes, memorabilia, etc. in the shipment.

When personal items are discovered, your shipment is likely to be refused, causing stress and delays for you and the family. Save yourself time and hassle by shipping personal items via a courier or sending them with a family member if the item has significant monetary or sentimental value.

To be continued...

STS 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.

When you 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 260 Selected member firms who are STS Agents.