Death is good business for air cargo

Wall Street Journal (May 17, 2005) explains that airlines are finding the transportation of dead bodies in cargo is an increasingly profitable business. Dale Anderson, director of mail and cargo for

JetBlue (, told the WSJ that his airline has to move nearly a half-ton of general cargo to equal the revenue of one human remain.

Shipping bodies represents 18% of Jet-Blue's cargo revenue, up from less than 10% a year ago, writes the WSJ's Anne Marie Chaker. Airlines find shipping bodies particularly profitable since there's only one piece to track, as opposed to mail or flowers, so it's less labor-intensive.

Funeral directors, the WSJ goes on to note, are incented to ship bodies by air by "frequent dier programs" ā€” the funeral directors earn a free ticket after a certain number of body shipments. Better still for the funeral directors ā€” the flights themselves are paid for by the families of the deceased.

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