$10,000 for a bed bug nightmare!!!

Old Jun 23, 19, 3:59 pm
  #1  
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Angry $10,000 for a bed bug nightmare!!!

It has been a year of going back and forth with Cathay and, now in the courts, I am passing a warning to my flying brethren.
In July of 2018, I flew from Perth Australia to New York City via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
Where the work in Perth was short and taxing I was looking forward to a good 15 hours of rest in a nice business class seat on an airline known for their service.
I boarded the flight, stowed my things waited for our taxi out and promptly fell asleep upon liftoff. about 30 - 45 minutes into the flight I woke up itching and burning. I went to the washroom to discover bites all over my torso. Quickly alerting the flight crew I was told a few things:
  1. We are over The Pacific and there is nothing we can really do ("would you like another Diet Coke?")
  2. The flight is very full and there is simply nowhere else we can seat you
  3. We will file a report when we get to New York
I spent the next 15 hours alternating between sitting in an infested seat and being bitten until I could stand no more, then standing in the aisle until being instructed by the flight crew this was unsafe behavior.

Upon landing in New York my usual car service was awaiting my arrival. "Sir you do not look good" was how my driver greeted me after the journey.
I gave him an extra $200 to have his car thoroughly cleaned upon my arrival home where I proceeded to strip naked (sorry to the neighbors but I wasn't risking bringing this in the house) threw my full suitcase in the garbage and went in to shower.
Itching, burning, and in pain from what had become welts I headed to urgent care.

The doctor looked concerned and stated; "I hope this is regular bed bugs and not some crazy super infestation carried around the world". She proceeded to prescribe a cream for the welts, steroids, and a very powerful antibiotic to be taken every 4 hours without fail.

I went home. I slept for 12 hours (waking up, of course, to take the medications)...
The next day I am standing in the washroom and promptly pass out. My blood pressure had dropped significantly from the attack and I was rushed back to the doctor.

All in it took 9 weeks of barely being able to work and making constant calls to Cathay with no reply.
Eventually, I was offered an upgrade on my next Cathay flight. Sorry but not good enough. I paid good money for that ticket and spent many days on my back because of their failure to maintain a safe cabin environment. Plus: what value is a Cathay upgrade when they fly one place from my country and I only go there for work? Would you fly an airline again after such a traumatic event?

What bothers me here is not the fact that the seat was infested. It is the ease with which Cathay can make this right and yet has repeatedly refused to do so.
I urge all those here; please do not take for granted that your seat is clean, especially on Cathay Pacific. You may spend thousands of dollars but in the rush to turn jets from one pole to the other, things are missed and Cathay is not willing to make right by their customers.

P.S. I apologize for the graphic nature of the attached images but I think the story just isn't done the right justice without them.

My legs were just as bad as my arms...

Just after arriving home from the airport
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Old Jun 23, 19, 4:17 pm
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$10,000
Why did you put this figure into the headline?
Could you please share a photo of the infested seat?
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Old Jun 23, 19, 4:31 pm
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OP - because this is formally a legal proceeding now, I would suggest you not discussing this case further. Even what you have said is true, it may harm your offense.

Also - I would like to also remind you about the Montreal Convention, which allows damages without showing of faults.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Why did you put this figure into the headline?
Could you please share a photo of the infested seat?
T
That was the approximate cost of the ticket. I can't share any more photos as I am still awaiting Cathay's response through the courts.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 8:54 pm
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I'm not sure those are bedbug bites. Did you ever actually see the bugs? The size of the welts suggests an allergic reaction. Could have been something else in the seat that you reacted to. Looks absolutely miserable either way.

If you haven't already, you better be prepared to provide clear evidence of the infestation or substance in the seat to the court. Otherwise, I'd guess you have no case. Cathay is just going to say there's no evidence the seat was responsible.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 9:05 pm
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This is a fascinating thread.

For sure, CX and other parties will know if they're bedbugs or not. Bedbugs are not discriminating.... There would've been a problem on the return flight, and the next flight, and the next flight, and they almost certainly would've spread to other seats. After all bedbugs feed on blood I'm pretty sure, they do not just want the pax in 16A because he/she has some special characteristics. I think you'd have to decontaminate the entire plane to be honest, what a mess.

It's not something Cathay could cover up even if they wanted to. Friends of ours had a bedbug infestation in Singapore; it was a complete nightmare.

CX may try to protect their own interests but they're not evil. There will be a record at whatever the OPs destination was, back in Hong Kong when the plane returned, from other complaining passengers, etc. But one thing is certain bed bugs don't just disappear on their own. They multiply. If that seat was infested it's likely they spread, and 100% it had to be cleaned / completely replaced if they were there.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 10:01 pm
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Having seen bed bug bites on a friend who spent the night at the Pennsylvania hotel in Manhattan they do look similar to the bites she had. Sorry you went through that.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 12:26 am
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Would be interesting to know more details about the OPís case...

the only recent bedbug infestation was on B-KQC, but that frame does not fly to New York.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 1:36 am
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Yeah, and also the "timing" PER - HKG - JFK seems a bit odd. It's far from 15 hours PER - HKG whereas the issue started 30-45 mins out of PER over the Pacific. And to get bed bug bites "All over the Torso", in that small period, would be a challenge to.

And why seek publicity, when a lawsuit is running ? Put pressure on CX for an $M out-of-court settlement ?

Throw away a suitcase of cloths & belongings, while the suitcase has nowhere been near to the seat ?

Oh, and it was not CX, bringing the bed bugs on the airplane. Other passengers did so, if it happened.

As QRC writes: CX is not evil, other people would have reported the same and this would have reached government healthcare organizations to, if it is something serious. I can not imagine, an ISM / Captain NOT reporting such an issue, if it is omitted, they would be personally liable. These people do write a report of "special" items for every flight and OP's complaint would certainly fall into that category.

To me, it looks much more like an allergic reaction, and if indeed bed bugs, then just a few bed (?) bugs, instead of being infested. The doctor did not give any conclusive diagnose and came spontaneously with another diagnose.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 3:25 am
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Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
Oh, and it was not CX, bringing the bed bugs on the airplane. Other passengers did so, if it happened.
This is where I would need to put a stop here.

While I understand others' POV that whether OP's condition might cause by bedbugs, but in the matter of law, it does not matter who brought the bedbugs up. What matters only is whether OP caught this on a CX flight, which would be sufficient.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 5:01 am
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Originally Posted by hotturnip View Post
I'm not sure those are bedbug bites. Did you ever actually see the bugs? The size of the welts suggests an allergic reaction. Could have been something else in the seat that you reacted to. Looks absolutely miserable either way.

If you haven't already, you better be prepared to provide clear evidence of the infestation or substance in the seat to the court. Otherwise, I'd guess you have no case. Cathay is just going to say there's no evidence the seat was responsible.
Originally Posted by HWGeeks View Post
Having seen bed bug bites on a friend who spent the night at the Pennsylvania hotel in Manhattan they do look similar to the bites she had. Sorry you went through that.
Those look like an allergic reaction to bedbug bites, to be specific

Most humans have little to no reaction to bedbug bites, which is how they're so easily spread. As many welts as OP has, the last person in OP's seat absolutely got chewed up but was probably one of the majority of people who never know.

I'm allergic to bedbug bites; my wife isn't. I looked like the OP after a night in a rental flat once. She was 20cm away in the same bed and didn't have a mark on her. Doing laundry wasn't how I wanted to spend my vacation.

ETA: and in my case, I caught a couple of them, so there was no doubt...
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Last edited by der_saeufer; Jun 24, 19 at 9:09 am
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Old Jun 24, 19, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
Yeah, and also the "timing" PER - HKG - JFK seems a bit odd. It's far from 15 hours PER - HKG whereas the issue started 30-45 mins out of PER over the Pacific. And to get bed bug bites "All over the Torso", in that small period, would be a challenge to.

And why seek publicity, when a lawsuit is running ? Put pressure on CX for an $M out-of-court settlement ?

Throw away a suitcase of cloths & belongings, while the suitcase has nowhere been near to the seat ?

Oh, and it was not CX, bringing the bed bugs on the airplane. Other passengers did so, if it happened.

As QRC writes: CX is not evil, other people would have reported the same and this would have reached government healthcare organizations to, if it is something serious. I can not imagine, an ISM / Captain NOT reporting such an issue, if it is omitted, they would be personally liable. These people do write a report of "special" items for every flight and OP's complaint would certainly fall into that category.

To me, it looks much more like an allergic reaction, and if indeed bed bugs, then just a few bed (?) bugs, instead of being infested. The doctor did not give any conclusive diagnose and came spontaneously with another diagnose.
CX is not evil. The issue was HKG-JFK which is 15 hours.
No one is looking for $1M. Just for CX to do the right thing.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 7:59 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
This is a fascinating thread.

For sure, CX and other parties will know if they're bedbugs or not. Bedbugs are not discriminating.... There would've been a problem on the return flight, and the next flight, and the next flight, and they almost certainly would've spread to other seats. After all bedbugs feed on blood I'm pretty sure, they do not just want the pax in 16A because he/she has some special characteristics. I think you'd have to decontaminate the entire plane to be honest, what a mess.

It's not something Cathay could cover up even if they wanted to. Friends of ours had a bedbug infestation in Singapore; it was a complete nightmare.

CX may try to protect their own interests but they're not evil. There will be a record at whatever the OPs destination was, back in Hong Kong when the plane returned, from other complaining passengers, etc. But one thing is certain bed bugs don't just disappear on their own. They multiply. If that seat was infested it's likely they spread, and 100% it had to be cleaned / completely replaced if they were there.
Fully agreed. CX are not evil. If there was evidence of bug infestation CX would have taken measures and that would show in their records. If you have taken pictures of the seat with bugs, the cause would be unchallenged. The only question would be what is the proper compensation.
A problem with bugs is the allergic reaction they can provoke.among some persons, and you clearly had a big one.

A few years ago, I had a bad incident of bug bites that brought a reaction with red burns like yours and high fever about 24 hours after landing in Europe from Boracay.
This was eventually diagnosed as sand flies and given a massive dose of antibiotics. The reason being that flies lay eggs. My MD wife tells me that it is highly unusual to give antibiotics for bed bugs. You doctor must have suspected something more serious than bed bugs and gave you a massive dose of antibiotics. Maybe he is right and you got something in Perth before boarding or he was just risk averse.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:05 am
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you can file a report to HK government's Port Health Office of the Department of Health here: [email protected]
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:26 am
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feel sorry for the OP.. our college dorms in India had a issue with those bug.. we would spend the night awake with a jar of gasoline
finding the bugs and dropping them in the jar..end of 5 days the jar was full
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