More Bed Bugs on British Airways, This Time is an Elite Flying Business Class

I wrote about bed bugs on British Airways in October and I wrote about it the year before. That isn’t worth covering on its own usually, in fact both times I merely included the stories in a list of links.

Usually by the way reports seem to be in economy, which may just be that there are more economy seats. Since I don’t usually choose to buy BA economy, and fuel surcharges make redeeming for economy un-economic, I figure I have a better than average shot at avoiding them.

British Airways isn’t much for compensating passengers either, this man who sat in a urine-soaked seat was told to clean it himself. BA’s initial offer was 5000 Avios for an 11 hour flight from London to Cape Town.

Well a man got bed bug bites on a December 30th London – Capetown flight and BA is apologizing saying that bed bugs are ‘extremely rare’.

British Airways Operates a Boeing 747-400 to Capetown

This time it happened to a British Airways Gold member flying business class on a £4,000 ticket.
The man reports that BA replayed “the plane had been fumigated but only several days after he raised the alarm.”

Bed bug lawsuits against hotels can be lucrative, and of course shocking photos can be persuasive to juries. Perhaps lifting liability limits for airlines would improve airline avoidance procedures. Or maybe it’s just time for British Airways to invest in new seats.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Like I need another reason besides their rip off fuel charges to book another carrier?
    British Bed BUG Airways premium cabin the only way to fly

  2. Bed bugs are a reflection of poor hygiene and cleaning standards. Who services their aircraft? Who in management is responsible for these contracts? There is your problem. BA has cut back all over so is it any wonder that their contractors
    dont make an effort anymore either? If it invades the corporate culture the not my problem attitude becomes all pervasive.

  3. I have been bitten by insects on a plane, in economy class,. It was some 15 years ago. Might have been bed bugs. A number of bites on lower back. My recollection was that it was a BA Flight HKG to LHR. I can not be certain now, but I do have the recollection in my mind of finding bites, it being BA and traveling back from Asia. if this is the case then this issue could have been going on for years.

  4. This airline is a joke. I got off a First Class flight with them two years. The crew were horrendous. They were mixed fleet and looked fresh out of highschool. They were tired, had little training, and did the service in a way that made you know that they couldn’t care a bit. I have flown them for years but with Señor Penny pincher in charge I will do my best to stay clear. Lufthansa has gotten my European business for now despite their average product. (They do have above average crews I should say and a world class First cabin)

  5. I flew ba club lhr to ewr on New Year’s Day – the seat, carpet and surrounding plastics were dirty and hadn’t been cleaned properly for a long time. I don’t think bed bugs are completely avoidable but it’s hard not to link the frequency of these stories with cost cuts. I feel bad for a crew that has to stand behind a product that the management has gutted.

  6. Stephan – if you have ever seen or had the misfortune of being in a home or hotel with bedbugs, you would know that they are very, very difficult to get rid of. It is not a reflection of poor hygiene or cleaning standards. Don’t get me wrong, I would be pissed if I got bit on a plane. But this isn’t about contractors not making an effort.

  7. The re-emergence of bed bugs is more about the Left’s war on pesticides (including DDT) than cleanliness.

  8. Oh well, this probably happens on all planes. The airlines rarely clean the seats even after 15 hour flights.

  9. In apartments, fumigation is not very effective, because (1) the living bed bugs flee into surrounding apartments, (2) it does not always reach into crevices where bed bugs hide, and (3) it does not kill the eggs that hatch in two weeks. The egg part is the worst, because bed bug infestations tend to come back.

    However, it may be different in an airplane. The airplane is an airtight container and bedbugs might not be able to escape. Plus, the industrial strength fumigation might also kill the eggs better than that allowed in apartments. To be honest, I am speculating about what they can do on a plane.

  10. To those saying “This probably happens on all planes.” Well, maybe. But can we just consider that the last few major cases of bedbug stories have occurred on BA planes? There’s a pattern that shouldn’t be ignored. If they’re cutting corners to save money, then they should be called on it. There have been a lot of poor hygiene stories about BA in the last couple years. I can’t imagine all of this is a coincidence, and we shouldn’t be apologists for it.

  11. I hope someone is designing cushions and seating that somehow makes it impossible for bed bugs to either get into the cushion or exist if they do get in their or that the cushions can be removed and cleaned if they do get bed bugs or coffee spilled in them or whatever.
    Aren’t seat cushions suppose to be removable flotation devices? Seat backs need to be sealed up and maybe removable. Seats on a plane have to be easier to maintain than big mattresses and endless carpet in a hotel.

  12. What would Boarding Area do without BA to bash. I’m no longer a fan either but it’s really dull constantly moaning about one airline.

  13. In addition to the British Airways fuel surcharge, I anticipate this airline will soon begin billing passengers for an extra British Airways bedbug surcharge.

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