Woman Wants Compensation After Passenger Died On Her Flight And She Couldn’t Get A Second Meal

A woman took to social media to rant about British Airways stonewalling her over compensation after another passenger had the audacity to die on her flight, causing her much distress. And since CPR was being performed in the aisle of the aircraft, cabin crew were unable to provide a second meal service – preferring to try to save a life instead. She wants to know what she can do to get British Airways to cover the pain and suffering that she had to endure?

On the 21st of December, we returned to London from Jamaica. during a flight, a passenger directly to rows behind us, passed away in the most horrific way, giving us the most traumatic experience during a flight.

The flight itself was just short of three hours delayed which was very frustrating in itself as we were travelling with a total of five children…along with my sister who is six months pregnant.

Whilst we was given vouchers for food, it was a limited amount which just about got a meal. It was also very late into the evening which meant that the children and my sister were very tired, frustrated and hungry and ruined their routines.

…Around 3 and 1/2 hours prior to us landing in the UK we was awakened by commotion, going on by the airline staff, and a passenger two rows behind us regarding a passenger losing consciousness. Whilst the airline staff responded quite quickly, it was extremely traumatic to witness. My nephew was moved from his seat during his sleep into the row ahead of us onto my lap in order to prevent him from witnessing what was about to occur (still only three rows ahead of the ordeal).

The passenger that was losing consciousness was then placed in the aisle beside us in order to perform, resuscitation CPR and attempt to save her life; the entire experience went on for over an hour. I’ve never in my life witnessed someone being shocked or having CPR performed and never would’ve expected that to happened on flight returning home.

…Naturally, during the course of this experience, it meant or flight services were halted and aside from the initial meal, drinks and flight mills were discontinued, so we did not receive a thorough flight experience that we had paid for.

…I would like to hear from British Airways, what you plan to do in order to compensate your passengers that had to deal with this ordeal and what will be done to improve your services going forward in no way is this acceptable and they should not be normalised or swept under the rug for the family that had to go through the audio of all the passengers that had to endure it.

I’d note that British Airways would no doubt prefer passengers not die on their flights, but BA doesn’t seek compensation from passenger estates when they do – even when a flight diverts and they incur extra costs as a result. And their flight attendants were no doubt caused much distress as well.

Nonetheless, I’d think it good practice for the airline to reach out to its other customers to ‘check in on them’ and suggest counseling resources, if only as a corporate public relations exercise to avoid being criticized for not having done so.

Ultimately watching a person die is troubling, and something that sticks with you. I’ve seen it too many times in my life, from standing at the scene of a car accident with people I cared about to standing beside them in hospice care. I’d hope we all do the best we can for each other during such times.

However I wouldn’t demand compensation from anyone that didn’t actually cause the death in the first place. On the contrary I’d hope that the airline’s first concern was for the body of the deceased and for their family, followed by their employees, and then for the rest of the customers involved.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Just when you think people can’t sink any lower…

    I personally knew a young flight attendant who had a passenger pass away onboard on her very first revenue flight alone. She handled the situation very well, especially for a brand new employee. He had passed away in the lav. (A travel companion for her attention when he had been away for so long.) She had to remove the door when he didn’t respond when she tried to get his attention.
    After the deceased was removed from the aircraft and formalities were completed, she was given a few paid days off with counseling. She later completed a long, successful career with the carrier.
    I’ve never been so proud of a fellow employee in my life. All the best Lisa, wherever you are.

  2. How entitled can people actually be?! Never ceases to amaze me. I follow the sub Reddit for travel and also award travel. You would be amazed at the things people whine about (similar to this). Can’t tell you how many complain the bought a non-refundable ticket, travel plans changed and now the airline (which they name and threaten to never fly again – BTW almost every airline has been accused of this horrible act) won’t give them a refund. So many people want something for nothing or don’t understand what they buy (but bragged about the “cheap” fare they got). We are witnessing the rapid decline of society.

  3. “ And their flight attendants were no doubt caused much distress as well.”

    KMA, sycophant. If they’re supposed to be their ‘for safety first’, then this is literally their job. Cry me a damn river that they had to do it for a change.

    Or accept that they are in fact just ugly sky waitresses.

  4. And the complainant isn’t entirely wrong. You’re paying for a service. If service isn’t delivered, recompense is due. BA can insure against that. We can’t.

  5. I read an account by a flight attendant who had a person die on board. As she was dealing with the body one of the other passengers interrupted her to ask for a drink. That has to be a new low.

  6. I would expect free flights for life including hotels and all meals
    And 5 million frequent flyer miles to gift family and friends
    As well as psychotherapy & counseling for at least 10 years
    And a letter of apology from both airline and family letting them know this should never happen again
    Fair is fair no?

  7. As a person who works adjacent to Heathcare, I’ve seen people lash out this way as a way to grieve. Just a thought.

  8. It seems to me the airline needs to amend the contract of carriage to prohibit passengers from dieing while in flight. This should prevent any future such issues.

  9. @Fred..you do realize that all of us know you are a young teenage boy playing big man on campus. It gets tiring son. Too bad your parents didn’t raise a kinder soul. Very sad.

  10. Why are airlines so afraid to ban people? They carry 100’s of thousands of people everyday, what’s one less? Ban her scumbag self!
    And don’t look back…..

  11. The flight attendants should try their utmost to serve a quick second meal if possible. Just heat up some meals and walk down the aisle handing them to people, asking “will you accept this dish, chicken?” and asking people to please accept the meal unless there’s a grave reason that they can’t. Similarly, just pour some water, juice, Coca Cola, etc. and pass them out.

  12. @derek…WOW! You’d make an Absolutely Fantastic flight attendant derek! No really! If I should have a family member pass away at altitude, I’d be so happy to know that you gave them a couple chest compressions and hurried off to get your meals cooked. Eye roll…

  13. This is just a preview of coming attractions. As the world becomes more and more secular, this kind of self centeredness and selfishness will only increase. Why would I care if someone else had a misfortune befall them? Its only about me and what I can get out of this life. One of the positives to a religious culture or a culture with objective values is that there is meaning in caring about the well being of your fellow human beings. You live not just for yourself. There is something greater in life than just seeking pleasure out of everything.

  14. @Flyer1 – That is uncalled for.

    The passenger was sick with 3.5 hours left of the flight. Chest compressions went on for an hour then a body bag was used. With 2.5 hours left, that’s enough time for a compressed meal service if they hand out food and not go slowly with the drink cart.

    What does Flyer1 want. One FA gets a hangnail and they cancel all service and then decide to divert and leave the plane while the passengers are seated there for hours?

  15. I have zero sympathy for this complaint. I was once on a flight where an elderly passenger died from a heart attack. The crew did everything they could and should have done. When I tell anyone about that, I don’t even mention the inconvenience it caused me (although I am, this one time to put this complaint in context.)

    That was three hours extra flight time, to devert back to Shannon in the hope of getting the woman to a hospital, a couple hours on the ground in Ireland (you can’t just land, hand a dead body over and expect to get refueled and serviced for an immediate takeoff) and then a few more hours on the ground in Newark because the prior delays had us landing in a snowstorm bad enough that they had trouble plowing a path from the runway to the gate. That’s a lot of extra time sitting in an airplane and what I’d call a much greater inconvenience than missing a meal. But so what? Someone died. That’s a hell of a lot more significant than seven or eight hours of my time. So I don’t normally even mention the inconvenience, let alone complain about it.

    There was one good thing I learned from that flight. In Shannon, I was close enough to the hatch to overhear the cabin and ground crews talking about how to handle the situation. They were totally clueless about the appropriate procedure. Which, I think, means people dying on an aircraft is so rare that they had absolutely no experience in how to deal with it. I have to say that such events being that rare is a good thing.

  16. @fred @derek Glad you aren’t flight attendants. With the attitudes you presented, would you be the kind who hides in the galley and plays on their phone the entire flight or the diligent kind who would hurry up meal service after dealing with a death?

    However, you do point to something. BA made $1.29 billion in 2022. How many people die while in flight per year? I can’t imagine it’s many. The compensation to passengers (as well as the crew!) would be negligible. It’s too bad that investors selfishly try to get every $ possible, passengers be darned.

  17. So, if the flight had left on time, not only would meal service have been complete and picked up, the airplane would have only been a half an hour from landing, raising the possibility of a better outcome for the person who died. What was the reason for the delay? Were first and business classes denied meals or was that only for coach fliers?

  18. My brain is fighting with my hand to keep from wanting to smack this KAREN ! I SWEAR YOU CANT CURE STUPID !

  19. Maybe they should have asked her if she’d like some liver with some Fava beans. And a nice Chianti

  20. BA should send her a Happy Meal to reflect the fact she is still able to whine, complain, and breathe. Bon appetit

  21. My answer to this email is simple. How would this woman have felt if her pregnant sister had the medical emergency instead of the other passenger? Would she have rather had a second meal or had the flight attendants attend to the medical emergency? And, of course, since her sister knew she had a higher medical risk than the average person, she would have needed to take responsibility and compensate all the other passengers for the inconvenience.

  22. According to my mother, my first time on an airplane, back in 1972, when my mother was pregnant with my sister, we entered severe turbulence, just before the meal service. The captain, in this case Pan Am, ordered all flight attendants to suspend meal services, in the name of safety. Concern about my mother, my maternal grandmother, who was seated near the rear galley, in this case a Boeing 707, begged the flight attendants to serve my mother. So, my mother was served – angering the rest of the passengers. I hate to say this; but the life of a sick passenger must take priority. But I still feel that the rest of the passengers maybe should have been provided some compensation – please note that I said maybe, not definitely. Yet, my condolences should go to the family of the deceased. And I hope that if I was a passenger that I wouldn’t complain about not being served a meal – in the matter of life and death. By the way, many of my relatives don’t like airline food. MAY THE DECEASED PASSENGER RIP.

  23. It’s was hard to even read this letter. Self centered and self absorbed! It made me sick.
    If I were British I would give her NOTHING!!

  24. Send the see you next Tuesday a happy meal. Entitled AF. A person had died and it’s not something that you can just move on from and serve drinks or meals. Yeah I’m on the flight attendants side on this one.

  25. What a selfishness person. How low can a human being go for a food and drink, and it seems to have a cabin service is more important than to save someone’s life.

  26. To the selfish individual who penned the above complaint:

    Why not get a life?

    If all you can think about in life is food and what you can get from others then I really pity you.

    YOU decided to travel with 5 kids, no-one forced you, so it goes without saying that it is YOUR responsibility to look after them. If you’re stupid enough to attempt to fly from Jamaica WITHOUT a few sandwiches or snacks that’s YOUR problem.

    Delays happen. It’s called life. Get over yourself. The obligation of an airline is to get you from point A to point B safely. The fact they serve a meal and beverages is NOT part of the contract, it is an added extra.

    Crap happens that is out of our control. You give no reason for the delay so I can only assume, as ex cabin crew of 30 years standing, that it was due to technical issues, bad weather or missing passengers.

    Trust me when I say that both crew and airlines DO NOT LIKE DELAYS.

    As for your attitude towards the inconvenient incident aboard, it beggars belief.

    If the aircraft is full, where would you like the cabin crew to have placed your nephew? In the toilet?

    CPR is EXTREMELY distressing to witness but not half as distressing as being physically involved. I speak from experience.

    How dare you criticise the crew for having had the audacity of attempting a life saving procedure, all because your stomach was rumbling?

    At least they were attempting something useful. Your group just served to suck precious oxygen away from those that needed it.

    I wonder what your reaction would have been if instead of that poor passenger two rows back ‘slipping into unconsciousness and then death’ it had been YOUR CHILD OR NEPHEW?

    How would YOU feel if another passenger then complained, much as you have?

    How would you be reacting if it was your sister who suddenly went into premature labour and gave birth to a baby that desperately needed saving?

    Would you expect the crew to ignore because a ‘meal service’ is due or leap into action and put their vast knowledge, experience and training into good use to save that life?

    Think before you speak.

    Oh, and next time you wish to fly anywhere, May I suggest you hire a private jet? That way you can stuff yourself to your hearts content from boarding to disembarkation.

  27. “Fred” is obviously a bitter narcissist “ugly Stewardesses”?? Were you rejected from an airline Fred? Have you no empathy? Did the other passengers ask for compensation? Is a meal more important than saving a life? God help you if you get Iill on a flight..

  28. This person is selfish and insensitive. What if it was her family member? Would they want the crew to continue with a meal service? It’s unfortunate when someone dies on a flight but its life. I suggest that this selfish passenger use private jets which will limit the possibility of someone dying on the flight …especially since she and her family are immune yo dying.

  29. Dear ‘Fred’

    Has anyone ever accused you of being a twat? Has anyone ever pointed out that you have an over-developed sense of entitlement? No? I’m stunned. In which case, allow me … YOU ARE A SELF ABSORBED TWAT!

    Cabin crew are there for YOUR SAFETY. This includes being chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter nursemaid and psychotherapist – and that’s just for the adults on board!

    Amongst their duties is to welcome selfish arses like you on board our flights; show you to your seats; help with stowing items in overhead luggage compartments, yes even those YOU deem hand luggage which are, in fact, 50kg suitcases; take you through safety demos (which you all conveniently ignore and talk or read over all because they are a waste of time, until something goes wrong and then you demand individual attention and assurances); serve drinks (which some have in excess before puking over seats/themselves/others and expecting US to clean up); serve food (to which suddenly we are informed you don’t eat, can’t eat or are highly allergic to).

    And when we have done ALL of those things, we stand at our stations, exhausted and jet-lagged, saying goodbye to people who cannot even be bothered to say thank you for our hard work let alone acknowledge our existence (yes, even those who we’ve nursed throughout).

    You say it is part of what you have paid for. NEWSFLASH: you pay to be transported from point A to point B, drinks and meals ARE NOT part of the contract. They are an addition.

    To my knowledge the aforementioned flight DID NOT CRASH AND WAS NOT DIVERTED therefore the contract was executed, albeit with a delay and the inconvenience of some poor bugger’s death!

    You have the audacity of accusing crew of being “ugly skywaitresses”. I notice you haven’t attached a photo of yourself. Why is that?

    And you say BA can insure against having to recompense against lack of service but you can’t?

    Why not travel with a few snacks, a sandwich or fruit and crisps?


  30. My mother in llaw just died on a Delta flight with my wife next to her on their way back to Thailand. My wife isnt the same and still in shock after what she went thru on the plane. Im sure the other passengers were upset as well.

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