STS Quarterly Issue 5: March 2019

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

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 call the receiving nation's consulate

You get a call to ship a family's loved one from your country back to their home country. No problem, you've shipped there before. You'll just do what you did last time.

You get to the airport, and the remains are refused because you do not have a certified original copy of the death certificate. The decedent is going nowhere and now you get to tell the family why.

You didn't need a certified original last year when you shipped to the same country, but that nation changed their policy a month ago, as you'd have learned if only you called the consulate prior to booking. You're back to square one, securing new paperwork and trying to re-book the flight.

What if the new arrival is one week later, and the family has to reschedule services? Who will pay the additional expenses? What will they tell the survivors flying in from around the continent for a funeral that's now a week later?

Don't find out the hard way, call the consulate. Every time.

Not communicating all pertinent information when booking the flight

There is information that needs to be shared at the time of flight booking that may not be obvious. While we appreciate the desire to treat every family's loved one equally, airlines need to know if the deceased was, say, a beloved public figure who will still draw a crowd.

Other situations require special arrangements as well, such as disinterred remains, over-sized container dimensions, overweight shipment, high-profile case (celebrity, politician, etc.), military remains (active duty or retired), or perhaps an airline employee or relative of airline employee.

Any of the above or a special request by the family can make a difference in the reservation and/or cost of the flight. This is one time no one will like a surprise. Share all information at the time of booking.

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.