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Cleaning Crews Accuse British Airways of Flying Bedbugs

Dating as far back as 2016, British Airways has faced accusations of harboring bed bugs aboard their long-haul flights. Flight crews are now stepping forward and accusing the flag carrier of neglecting cleaning duties aboard aircraft, putting them back in operation while allegedly carrying unwanted guests that are affecting flyers.

British Airways is facing scrutiny about their lack of cleanliness from a group who knows their habits very well: flight attendants. Speaking to flight crew blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo, in-flight teams are accusing the airline of putting profits over people by skimping on cleaning time to put aircraft back in flight.

Accusations of bed bugs aboard British Airways is nothing new, as allegations of flyers getting bit date back to 2016, leading to the carrier grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner when eggs were found. In 2017, a flyer posted graphic pictures on Twitter of alleged bed bug bites after flying with the airline, and in January 2018, the Ghana Aviation Ministry publicly called out British Airways over bed bugs on airplanes.

Speaking to the blog anonymously, cabin-cleaning crewmembers and flight attendants now claim the issue of bed bugs on aircraft are bigger than anyone believes. Cabin team members say they have been bitten by the parasites while on duty, particularly when working on long-haul flights.

Furthermore, the members accuse the airline of being reluctant to pull aircraft out of service to remove the pests. Citing an airline policy, the crew members claim the carrier will only fumigate an aircraft if crews report seeing six bed bugs visible to the naked eye, instead of basing an investigation and fumigation on injury reports.

In previous statements, the blog notes British Airways has stood behind statistics, noting they operate “…more than 280,000 flights on 280 routes every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare.” The airline claims to continually monitor aircraft for pests and resolve complaints as they happen. In 2018, at least one FlyerTalker claimed they were bitten by bed bugs while aboard a trans-Atlantic flight from New York to London.

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SQjunkie February 18, 2018

I was devoured by bedbugs on the BA flight CPT-LHR a couple of months ago. Told BA and got an apologetic call to say that it's very rare and they would investigate (hmmmm). My colleague had the same experience on the CPT-LHR a month before this. Both of us took photos of the bites.

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Wunk January 26, 2018

For a moment there I went with "Flying bedbugs?? THEY'RE MUTATING"