Even though there is limited news coverage, bed bugs hitch rides on passenger aircrafts and establish themselves on-board.
Bed bug complaints against a flag carrier
Recently this year, a British Airways has grounded a 787 following the discovery of bed bugs and their eggs on-board after the passengers also repeatedly complained. However, the bed bug complaints against the flag carrier have been adding up through the years, and the problem is just overlooked.
The Mirror reported that last September, a passenger claimed about being bitten repeatedly on-board the flight from Heathrow going to Boston.
Despite him capturing a bed bug and presenting it to the airline crew, as well as photographing the bites instantly upon arrival, only a £50 future travel voucher was offered, no apologies given.
Bed bugs making way to aircrafts
BA is not alone in this issue. It is easy for these bugs to enter an aircraft. There are people shoulder-to-shoulder for several hours, and luggage left immobile in overhead compartments, which might have been left on an infested hotel.
Airlines are interested in making money. A complaint to the maintenance department will probably mean just a quick wipe down using antibacterial cleaner. It may not be seriously taken until many people are going to complain.
Suggestions from a flight attendant
Amanda Pleva, a flight attendant, suggested that once a flyer suspects of being bitten by these bed bugs on the aircraft, he or she shouldn’t wait to report the incident. She added that one should take pictures of bed bug bites. And once the aircraft has landed, one should make sure that customer service is contacted immediately, with all information about the flight ready. Most importantly, one should not carry the pest. In order to protect oneself, she recommended to:
- Check the edges of the headboard, mattress and luggage storage areas during travel.
- Never put the suitcase on the bed, where bed bugs can hitch a ride. Instead, use a desk or luggage rack.
- Wash the clothes at dry them at high heat. The heat will kill them.
- Not store luggage near the bed between trips.