More international travel bed bug infestation news this month, with a British Airways cabin crew walking off a flight to Ghana minutes before its scheduled departure after determining that the cabin was infested with bed bugs.

A January 14 report in The Sun revealed the latest incident involving Britain’s flagship carrier and its problem with bed bug infestations, quoting a BA source who revealed growing concern that the repeated infestation by bed bugs creates an ‘unacceptable’ work environment. Cabin staff requested the last-minute cancellation after observing adult bed bugs crawling on seats and upholstery inside the aircraft. BA management then scrambled to organise a replacement aircraft which departed Heathrow four hours after the shock cancellation.

The four-hour delay, while inconvenient, undoubtedly saved passengers and crew from the pain, irritation, and risk of additional infestations had the flight left according to schedule. Bed bug bites are often painful and continue to swell and itch over the days following (especially for those that are sensitive to insect stings and bites). Besides your own bedroom, it’s difficult to imagine worse places to be bitten by bed bugs than on a long, uncomfortable flight in economy class.

The flight’s grounding comes less than a month after a business class passenger received dozens of painful bed bug bites on a British Airways flight from Cape Town to London at the new year. These events are an escalation of BA’s bed bug problem, which was publicly revealed in September when a Canadian family made headlines after suffering hundreds of bed bug bites on a BA flight to London. When issuing a formal apology for the first incident, BA announced a review of its cabin cleaning practices to prevent further bed bug infestations and biting incidents onboard its flights.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this review of aircraft cleaning policies didn’t solve the bed bug problem, which continues to plague British Airways staff and customers alike. Being the first to affect all passengers and staff by delaying a flight, this latest incident brings home the mounting costs for the airline and its stakeholders due to recurrent bed bug infestations. As we have reported previously, bed bug infestations are increasingly an international problem, traveller’s being a favourite host for these pests when hitching a ride to the next feeding ground.

This latest bed bug infestation news reveals the extent to which an increasingly common pest can damage business fortunes and slash customer confidence. However, we should remember that the British Airways bed bug infestation saga never had to happen. Effective protection from bed bugs is available, and more than capable of making airline upholstery a no-go zone for these increasingly frequent flyers. Travellers can only hope that other airlines across the globe are choosing to act where British Airlines has dramatically failed, by ensuring that their aircraft and traveller’s lounges are reliably protected from bed bug infestation.

Healthguard understands bed bug infestations and the pain they cause wherever they occur. This knowledge makes us proud to provide some of the world’s leading anti-bed bug solutions. For more on the nature of bed bugs and the effect of their infestations, view our article on bed bugs in Australia. And remember, this story is more than just bed bug infestation news, it is a warning to act before you wind up in a position like that of the beleaguered British Airways.

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