Airline ground handlers at Dublin Airport accidentally forgot to remove a coffin from the cargo hold of a plane that had just arrived from Greece, resulting in the plane flying back to Athens with the human remains of a recently deceased Irish citizen still onboard.
The Aegean Airlines flight took off from Athens at around 8 am on May 22 and arrived in Dublin nearly four hours later. The family of the deceased man who had recently died in Greece were waiting to repatriate him with a hearse arranged to collect the coffin.
On arrival in Ireland, however, third-party airline ground handlers employed by Swissport accidentally left the coffin onboard the Airbus A320 aircraft, and it ended up flying back to Athens.
The aircraft had a scheduled 50-minute turnaround in Dublin, although the aircraft ended up departing almost an hour late.
Swissport said the man’s remains were accidentally flown back to Greece due to a ‘misload’ and that it managed to repatriate the coffin back to Ireland the following day.
As Aegean doesn’t operate daily services from Athens to Dublin, Swissport had to find another airline to return the coffin.
In a statement to the Irish Independent, the company said: “We are deeply sorry for the family’s experience at such a difficult time and did everything we could to ensure things were resolved as quickly as possible.”
“We are now conducting an urgent investigation to make sure lessons are learned.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.