A British Airways plane infested with bed bugs was allegedly kept in service despite staff knowing about the problem – a claim the airline denies.
The Sun reports that staff at the airline logged the issue after the insects were spotted – and passengers bitten – on a flight from the US to Heathrow last week. So serious was the problem that an entire row – 47 – 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 Boeing 747 during a flight from Cape Town to Heathrow.
British Airways 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 on-board 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.