In the summer of 2010, bed bugs were becoming "a national epidemic." Local governments struggled to squash the outbreak--authorities in Ohio got into an environmental tussle --and the little pests even hit the Empire State Building.
Now, the problem has arisen again, this time on a trans-continental British Airways flight. A 28-year old passenger named Zane Selkirk, was on a BA flight from Los Angeles to Bangalore on January 28th when she spotted the bugs on her airplane-given blanket and fingers, according to the Daily Mail.
Selkirk was three hours into the first leg of the flight to Heathrow in a premium economy seat when she first started itching. She claims to have asked flight attendants for help to no avail. Instead, they moved her and her seatmates to business class seats. Once she arrived in Bangalore she washed her clothes and spoke with an airline representative who told her "nobody had the authority to help customers."
As a result, Selkirk set up a blog, aptly named BA Bites! describing the incident and showing pictures of her bites. Selkirk recalls heading to the restroom and finding several bugs crawling on her shirt, two crushed on her shoulder and a blood stain on the back of her shirt where she says "I must have leaned back on a full-size (and full-stomached) one."
Selkirk recalls her conversations with a flight attendant, who wrote up an official report, as being nice and apologetic. She was given a leftover bottle of champagne after the flight and was upgraded the rest of the way. The story continues; to read her full account click here.
The Financial Times contacted Selkirk who told them, "I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would be excited about flying on BA ever again. In this day and age of infestations in major cities around the world, is some sort of regular fumigation schedule by airlines such a crazy thing to expect? Does one have to build websites in order for an airline to even sort-of-not-really acknowledge that there was a problem?"
BA did apologize to Selkirk in a written letter and offer her money. A BA spokesman told the FT that it was "extremely rare" to encounter bed bugs on a flight but "we are vigilant about the issue and continually monitor our aircraft."