Buggin out over in-flight bed bugs


Any bug with an exoskeleton makes my skin crawl. So when I learned a few years ago that New York hotels – and progressively hotels around the country – were being overrun with bed bugs this road warrior implemented a few new practices. As soon as I know the name of the hotel in which I’ll be staying I Google it and the words “bed bugs” to see if any reports or reviews have been filed. When I arrive at the hotel, I head to the top of the bed, pull back the sheets, lift up the mattress and check around the bed board for any signs of bed bugs such as red stains, bed bug feces and those exoskeletons, which bed bugs leave behind when they grow and go through the process of molting (i.e. when they get fat and happy after feeding on people for a while).

We all know that bed bugs like to travel – they’ll hitch a ride on your suitcase, in your purse or on your person – so it probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise that bed bugs have jumped from the hotel bed to the in-flight bed, as LA computer executive Zane Selkirk discovered on a British Airways flight (Zane must be particularly tasty – she claims she was bitten about 90 times….and oh those photos are NOT pretty). British Airways has since fumigated two Boeing 747s for bed bugs, and confirmed to the Daily Mail what we’ve all suspected for a while: “The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world.” Except pull out the word “occasionally”.

So what can we do? Drawing from her own experience (and riding a wave of anti-bed bug sentiment) Zane has published Three Tips for Flying Bedbug-Free. Among the best advice is this:

If you find bugs in your luggage or on your person, do NOT get in your car or set foot in your house! This is critical. If you step into your car or your house, you will be risking $2000-$5000 or more to fumigate.

Unfortunately, fumigation doesn’t always work, which begs the question – .how much money are airlines now spending to keep bed bugs from taking a bite?

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3 Responses to Buggin out over in-flight bed bugs

  1. glen towler March 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    I have a matress at home which has a label on it says it is treated with a chemical which stops bed bugs it not new bought about 5 years ago so its not that diffcult to buy matresses that are bug proof so why don’t all Hotels/Motels/Airlines buy them ?

  2. Mary Kirby March 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Glen, I was unaware that such a mattress exists! Have you put it to the test? (i.e. would you let a single bed beg loose on the thing?) Mary

  3. BB Alert April 5, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Bed bugs are really hard to get rid of and multiply like wildfire. It doesn’t surprise me that they can travel!