A British Airways plane infested with bed bugs was allegedly kept in service despite staff knowing about the problem - a claim the airline denies.
U.K. newspaper The Sun reports that BA staff logged the issue after the insects were spotted – and passengers bitten – on a flight from the U.S.to LHRlast week. So serious was the problem that an entire row was closed in economy class, the newspaper said.
But staff claimed that engineers did not have time to deal with the bugs and bosses decided to keep the aircraft in service. Days later another “severe” infestation was reported on the same 747 during a flight from CPT to LHR.
BA denied that it had allowed the plane to return to the sky after the outbreak was discovered. "Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, remove the aircraft from service and use specialist teams to treat it," a spokesman told Telegraph Travel.
"The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world. British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant about the issue and continually monitor our aircraft."
The aircraft has now been fully disinfected and cleaned.
As the name would suggest, the insects are more commonly spotted in bedrooms, and outbreaks sometimes occur in hotels. But the pests do sometimes make their way onto planes.
“There are numerous cases of bed bugs being spread on airplanes,” according to Bed-Bugs.com, which offers extermination services.
“Bed bugs can spread through close proximity with fellow travellers as well as their belongings. They also thrive where there is frequent turnover of people. On airplanes, people are in close proximity, are not able to move other than on the plane, and their belongings are required to stay untouched for long periods of time. This is an excellent recipe for bed bug transmittal.”
By the way, bed bugs can’t fly. They’re wingless. But they can hitch rides.