There are the travel nightmares that you can walk away from after you leave the plane, and then there are those that stick with you. Literally: British Airways has apologized to a family who claim they had to endure an overnight flight while being bedeviled by bed bugs.
A woman traveling with her seven-year-old daughter and fiancé on a nine-hour flight from Vancouver to London recently says she spotted one of the little critters climb out from behind the TV monitor on on the seat in front of her, reports CTV News.
As someone who’s worked in the hospitality industry, the woman says she knew immediately what she was facing.
“I wanted to grab it but they’re quick, and it crawled back inside, behind the screen,” she told CTV.
After she spotted a few more crawling around later, she says she told a flight attendant — who apologized, but seemed to take it in stride.
“She was like, ‘Oh ok, sorry about that. We’re sold out. We don’t have anywhere to move you,’” the passenger recalls.
So they somehow went to sleep, knowing they were going to likely get bitten, the woman says, but unable to do anything about it.
When they reached their final destination in Slovakia, she claims that she and her daughter were “absolutely covered” in bed bug bites.
She says she started trying to get in touch with British Airways, especially in case they were put on the same plane going home. However, she was frustrated in her efforts to talk to someone on the phone, as she said she would hear a recorded message saying the customer service line was busy before her calls were dropped.
The airline responded when she snapped photos of their bites and Tweeted them at British Airways. British Airways upgraded the family to business class for their return trip, and apologized for the experience.
“We have been in touch with our customer to apologize and investigate further,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement to CTV. “British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft.”