‘Highest priority’ Life-saving cargo item pilot says he ‘particularly likes’ transporting

Flight attendant discusses protocol for people dying on planes

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Pilots aren’t only tasked with the responsibility of getting commercial passengers to and from their holiday destination safely, sometimes they are also responsible for some “very special passengers” onboard. Sharing to Reddit, a group of pilots have shared an insight into what it is like to fly live organs onboard a flight.

One airline pilot posting under the name pilote94 described said they are often asked to carry “very special ‘passengers’-human organs for organ transplantation”.

Although you might not think about human organs being transported somewhere on the flight, this can sometimes occur.

Research from Simple Flying found “one in six transplanted kidneys in America” will have arrived on a commercial flight.

A pilot posting under the name Purcerh said: “We will not only transport dead bodies, but also live transplants, like hearts and lungs.

“I particularly like the live transplants because we get to cut to the front of the line for takeoff and we get all the shortcuts to our destination.”

Pilote94 added that organs for transplant are often given the “highest priority”.

The pilot explained: “We get highest priority from Air Traffic Control on take-off and landing, and for cruise, too.

“There is no higher priority, unless the President, maybe.

“We have the most direct route possible when there are no fighter jets in training somewhere.

“We can do things no other aircraft is permitted to.

“It’s very nice and I will miss this part of the job a lot.” [SIC]

Though pilots may be told they are transporting an organ, often key details about the cargo will be left out for safety reasons.

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The laws and regulations around carrying a human organ for transplant vary depending on the country.

Experts from the charity Donor Alliance explained: “Organs recovered for transplant include: heart, lungs, kidney, liver, pancreas and small intestine.”

They explained there are strict procedures to prepare, preserve and care for the organ being transported to a patient.”

They added: “If a commercial flight is needed, the organs are always accompanied by a certified courier and/or tracked using a monitoring device.”

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