Rebuilding Carrier Offers Discounts to Ship Bodies
MIAMI (AP) _ Eastern Airlines is offering discounts and frequent-flier mileage to funeral homes who use the carrier to ship bodies.
The special cargo rate for shipping the deceased is just one of many incentives the airline is offering in an attempt regain customers lost in a months-long strike, said airline spokeswoman Karen Ceremsak.
″It’s just a whole scheme of rebuilding an airline from scratch,″ she said. ″We have been out of many markets for some time, and as we return to those markets we are using price as an incentive to get some of them back.″
Eastern cargo officials have made personal visits to funeral homes, offering a 50 percent discount on transportation of corpses and frequent-flier mileage to funeral home operators for their shipments.
For example, Eastern will ship a body for $138.08 from Orlando to Newark, half the standard fare. The fare for the same route on other airlines ranges from $220.50 and $252.
″It’s an extremely good price,″ said Mike Brownlie, funeral director at Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home in Melbourne. ″Eastern realizes it has to offer incentives.″
Eastern plans to increase from 225 daily flights now to 350 on Tuesday and 390 flights on Aug. 15. By then, Eastern would have resumed flights in 70 cities compared with 118 before the Machinists union strike that began March 4.
The Miami-based carrier filed for bankruptcy protection four days later.