Great story from Johnny Jet & Yahoo! News –
Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles seemed to be an ordinary flight…but this transcontinental flight turned out to be everything but ordinary. We later learned, when the captain got on the PA system about 45 minutes prior to landing, that we were transporting a fallen soldier. The plane went quiet as he explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get off first. He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks since Los Angeles greets their fallen military with a water canon salute. It only got more emotional when I deplaned. There was a large number of passengers, who are normally in a hurry to get home or make a connection, standing by the window to witness something truly moving. To see the Honor Guard and family waiting patiently, while LAX baggage handlers and a military loadmaster removed the flag covered casket first from the cargo hold, was humbling to say the least.
Read Johnny Jets entire poignant report and see his pictures and video from the flight here.
Airliners.net started a thread on the subject as this unfortunately isn’t a rare occurrence. N1805bn had this to say:
I have been a passenger on DL on one of these flights and agree, the level of respect shown to the soldier and those accompanying the casket was simply astounding. The crew made an announcement advising the passengers about the situation on arrival, and asked everyone to remain seated while the team accompanying the remains were allowed to deplane and go down to the ramp to oversee the transfer to the hearse. The captain went to the door and saluted the team. Not only did everyone stay seated, after the team left nearly every single passenger went to the gate area and watched the ceremony on the ramp in complete silence. The entire DL team-from the crew to the ground handlers-displayed the utmost respect. Very, very classy.