British Airways has apologised to a Canadian family who were bitten by bed bugs during an overnight flight from Vancouver to London.
BA passenger Heather Szilagyi, who was travelling with her fiancé and eight-year-old daughter, said she identified the insects on the family's seats, but was told by cabin crew that there were no spare seats they could be moved to.
"It was nine hours of knowing that I was probably going to get bit, but not being sure,” Szilagyi told Canada's CTV. "But there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I was surprised I was able to relax, but what can you do?"
Szilagyi said that the following day, after the family reached their final destination of Slovakia, it became apparent that all three of them had been bitten.
"Me and my daughter are both really sensitive to insect bites, so she was just covered just all over. I've still got a really infected one," Szilagyi told CTV.
After Szilagyi posted pictures of their bite marks on Twitter, BA apologised and gave the family an upgrade for their return trip to Vancouver. "We were not asking for a refund. All we were asking for was a flight on a different plane, to make sure it was a different plane, to make sure that the plane that was infested with bed bugs was taken care of," Szilagyi said.
Writing on Twitter yesterday, Szilagyi said that another passenger on the flight was bitten by bed bugs, too.
A BA spokesperson said: "We have been in touch with our customer to apologise and investigate further. British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year and reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft."
If you suspect you have bed bugs in your home, the NHS recommends calling in a professional pest control company. Bites from bed bugs tend to fade in a few days, and can be treated with a mild steroid cream or antihistamine. But if you develop signs of a skin infection, such as pain, redness and swelling, you should make an appointment to see your GP.