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Bedbug problem forces BA to ground Boeing 747

After a passenger on a flight between Los Angeles and London complained she had been bitten by bedbugs, British Airways was forced to take the aircraft out of service.

Zane Selkirk, 28, a Los Angeles business executive, had booked two long-haul return flights with BA, one to London and another from London to Bangalore a few days later. During the London flight, the California businesswoman woke, turned on her light and found bed bugs crawling on her blanket and her shirt spattered with blood.

On her return from Bangalore to London, a 10-hour flight, her encounter with the bed bugs was even worse, with the by then furious Ms Selkirk counting no less than 90 bites. Another cause of discontents was the less than enthusiastic reaction of the BA cabin crew to her problems on both flights, made worse by BA officials’ seemingly unconcerned initial response to her written complaint.

Finally, Ms Selkirk posted a full report and pictures of the bites on the internet, dumping her battle with BA’s bedbugs out there for all to see. In her report she added the worst part of the ordeal was BA’s non-existent customer service during the entire 10 days. After her revelations hit the web, a BA spokesman at least found time to comment, confirming the Boeing 747 concerned had been taken out of service and thoroughly fumigated.

The spokesman said the bedbug issue is faced by hotels and airlines the world over, insisting infestations are relatively rare on its 250,000 annual flights. He added the airline is vigilant, with continual monitoring of aircraft taking place. When a report is received, he continued, an investigation is launched and a specialist treatment team is sent in. Comforting words, but hardly explaining two bedbug-infested flights within a few days, with a complaint made after the first.

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