A father was left “scarred and disgusted” after a mass attack of bed bugs on an international flight left him with more than 100 nasty bites, according to British media.
Paul Standerwick told the Mirror Online he flew British Airways from Britain to Boston for a family holiday with his wife and two young children when the bed bugs – parasitic insects which feed on people’s blood – struck without mercy.
Standerwick says the family first faced a 24-hour delay, presumably over a mechanical issue, which led to their having to stay on a plane without air-conditioning for two hours on the hottest day of the year.
The plane finally returned to the gate and passengers were told to go home as there would be no flight that night.
The next day, a few hours into the flight, a passenger allegedly approached Standerwick to warn him that the previous occupant of his seat had been moved because of bed bugs.
Standerwick said he was eaten alive by bed bugs “and when we went to the beach they got infected and nasty”, leaving him with scarring.
He says BA offered him a GBP 50 voucher (that’s AUD 88.60) by way of compensation. He is demanding an apology.
A BA spokesman told the Mirror Online: “We have said sorry to our customers for their experience and appreciate it must have been upsetting.
“We work hard to provide the best possible experience for customers on our flights and we’re sorry that on this occasion we haven’t met our customer’s expectations.
“Our customer relations has been in contact with the Standerwick family and have offered a gesture of goodwill.”
In March, Britain’s Sun newspaper said it had uncovered bed bugs on an earlier BA transatlantic flight.
BA’s official statement on that occasion said: “Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a investigation and use specialist teams to treat it.
“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.”
Bed bugs (sometimes known as bedbugs or bed-bugs, depending on your taste in punctuation) are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood and cause an itchy rash. The common variety, Cimex lectularius, prefers to feed on human blood although other types of Cimex prey on the blood of specific animals.
Written by Peter Needham