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Old Jun 25, 06, 1:50 pm   #1
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Friend died out of town- cost to fly his body home will be?

A friend died in his room during the night while vacationing out in Las Vegas. His relatives are working to get his body back to Pittsburgh so he can have a decent funeral and viewing with his many family and friends. They are quite poor and have no life insurance to pay for expenses.

I was told that the airlines will work with funeral homes all the time to fly the deceased back home. It seems like a nice gesture but also a very expensive option. Maybe it would be better to send the body back via a land route to save money. How is the air transport done and how much should it cost?
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Old Jun 25, 06, 2:56 pm   #2
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First, let me express that I am sorry for your loss.

Secondly, I have no clue about the answer to your questions, but if you do not get a reply soon, it may be time to call some airlines (they dohave rules and prices for shipping remains as air freight,) and ground courier services like motor transport services and FedEx Ground.

A funeral home should also have some of this information, particularly in a place like Las Vegas, which receives millions of visitors every year.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 3:42 pm   #3
 
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My condolences for your loss.

Off the top of my head, I wonder if transporting his body via land might not be more expensive. While I don't have a lot of experience with this, methinks that it would be typical and customary to send his body in a hearse (rather than some larger freight hauler), which can get pricy. Funeral homes should be able to quickly answer the question and provide estimates.

Is cremation in Las Vegas an option, or does he come from a religion/culture where viewing of the body is expected? Obviously, it would be much less expensive to ship the cremains to his home state from Las Vegas via air.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 3:46 pm   #4
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Sorry for your loss. I think you have to call the airline directly and ask. I would suggest contacting America West.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 3:47 pm   #5
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4 years ago we did this for a family member (not Vegas to Pit, but similiar distance). Cost was around $2500 as I recall.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 4:51 pm   #6
 
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Here is a website that lists cremation providers, in Las Vegas. I visited one of the websites, and their cheaper cremation was $710 and the more expensive, about $1200.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 5:35 pm   #7
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My personal experience has been that airlines transport bodies for burial free of charge.
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Old Jun 25, 06, 6:02 pm   #8
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The funeral home handling it for them on their end will make all the arrangements for them and know what airlines that serve their area offer.

It can be anywhere from free to not at all cheap.

There will still be prep costs on the other end of course, things like that.
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Old Jun 26, 06, 8:44 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnyhere
Here is a website that lists cremation providers, in Las Vegas. I visited one of the websites, and their cheaper cremation was $710 and the more expensive, about $1200.
Late 90's I had my mother cremated in Las Vegas for only about $300. Of course that meant the ashes came in a cardboard box but that was fine as she wanted them scattered anyway. (They would have provided a fancier thing if I wanted to pay for it but they knew that many people have ashes scattered and thus their base offering was simply a sturdy cardboard box.)
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Old Jun 27, 06, 10:46 am   #10
 
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I would like to say I'm really sorry to hear about your friend's loss. I am a funeral director in Phoenix and have had to do the same things in the past.

It is a rather expensive option eithe way. The preparations need to be done in Las Vegas in order to ship him back to PA. We sent a body from Phoenix to Pittsburgh two weeks ago and the plane ticket was $500. I'm sure it would be about the same, depending on which airline the funeral home uses. We usually call a few in order to get the best price for a family. That price is extremely reasonable, being that he'll go onto a commercial flight and sent back to Pittsburgh. The land-option would be significantly more. We've never done it, but if we were to do it, we would charge $1.95 per mile, and that trip is over 2,000 miles.

With all that said, the preparations, charges of the funeral home in las vegas, and the flight should be somewhere between 2,000-3,000 based on which funeral home is selected, if they choose to get the casket in PA. My company doesn't own any in Las Vegas or I'd give you all the exact prices.

The funeral home in Pittsburgh will probably charge anywhere from $4,000 and up for the services. If your friend is going to be buried, the family would also be responsible for the cemetery costs if they don't already have those arrangments made.

IF his family is NOT opposed to cremation, they can still have the same services you spoke about: a visitation and a funeral, but instead of going to the cemetery, he can be cremated instead. Most funeral homes have a "rental casket" that holds an interior box that goes to the crematory, so that you can still have services with him and a casket present, but not have to purchase a full casket. That will save you the added money of a more expensive casket and the cost of the burial plot and services at the cemetery.

If you need help with any other questions, please just let me know.

Caleb
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Old Jun 27, 06, 12:19 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhlyingRPh
My personal experience has been that airlines transport bodies for burial free of charge.
Only for military familles - and the cost is billed back to the US government.

Airlines make quite a bit of profit by shipping bodies, if fact they often court funeral home directors by offering Frequent Flyer Miles. That fact only would make me wary if a funeral home insisted I use one carrier over another.

Dozens of airlines fly LAS-PIT. I'd shop around, try smaller airlines like Midwest or Airtran
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Old Jun 27, 06, 3:22 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by MKEbound
Only for military familles - and the cost is billed back to the US government.

Airlines make quite a bit of profit by shipping bodies, if fact they often court funeral home directors by offering Frequent Flyer Miles. That fact only would make me wary if a funeral home insisted I use one carrier over another.

Dozens of airlines fly LAS-PIT. I'd shop around, try smaller airlines like Midwest or Airtran

Dude, I wish I could get CO to give me frequent flyer miles for doing my job. I'm going to have to check in with them.
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Old Aug 15, 06, 2:06 pm   #13
 
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suggestions

Greenery,
My condolences, I hope things went smoothly for you.

I just had a friend of mines father die in Prague today. He asked me to help with getting the body/remains back to US. The questions greenery asked and the answers you gave were helpful.
In this case I spoke to a funeral home here in US and they suggested making a funeral home contact in Prague. They say the funeral home in Prague will take care of preparing the body and be a contact for the funeral home here in US.
Does this sound like all that is involved (besides $$$) and how do I find a reputable Funeral home in Prague?
Thanks for any help you may have
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Old Aug 15, 06, 2:39 pm   #14
 
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F.Y.I. for all of those that stumble onto this post in the future, most airlines publish their cargo rates and human remains are included in those rates. See AS' here: http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/Car...tes-040806.pdf For example, the cargo rate to move my body from Alaska to Seattle for burial will be $370 USD, if I die in Mexico it goes down to $350 to get me back to Seattle. This tells me perhaps I should spend more time in Mexico!!!

Not to lower such a traumatic topic to mere cost, but the OP did have concern for the deceased's family's ability to afford the cost of transport, but it has been my experience that going through funeral homes for ANYTHING is overpriced, they totally take advantage of the fact that grieving families are not going to shop around. Sorry to all the funeral home owners out there but this has been my experience.

Call the cargo dept of the airline and get a rate and then work out transportation of the body from the morgue to cargo. $2,500 for transportation of a body domestically is insane, I wonder how much of that was the funeral home's handling fees? If you know the airline's actual rate for transporting the body the funeral home will be less likely to pad the bill (that is if a funeral home is even required to be involved at that end).

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Old Aug 15, 06, 4:15 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clincher
Greenery,
My condolences, I hope things went smoothly for you.

I just had a friend of mines father die in Prague today. He asked me to help with getting the body/remains back to US. The questions greenery asked and the answers you gave were helpful.
In this case I spoke to a funeral home here in US and they suggested making a funeral home contact in Prague. They say the funeral home in Prague will take care of preparing the body and be a contact for the funeral home here in US.
Does this sound like all that is involved (besides $$$) and how do I find a reputable Funeral home in Prague?
Thanks for any help you may have
I would contact the US Embassy...they should have information on English speaking and reputable funeral directors who have experience arranging to have US citizens sent back to their homes.

http://prague.usembassy.gov/

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