It is 2018, but bed bugs on a plane are very much a reality. Recently, an infant on an Air India flight to Newark suffered serious bed bug bites all over its body. The shocking fact was the bugs were present in the Business Class section and the child’s parents had paid hundreds of thousands of Indian rupees for that seat. The family was later moved to economy class where they had to spend the rest of the flight under lot of discomfort. The father later tweeted about their experience and many other passengers also posted pictures of bed bugs roaming about on seats. In another incident, British Airways also issued an apology to their passengers who were bitten by bed bugs on a flight from Vancouver to London. The shocking fact was that the bitten victim was not allowed to change seats and had to suffer for the entire duration of the flight. Yes, bed bugs on flights is very much a reality. So today we will discuss some important steps to avoid bed bugs on planes.
Steps to avoid bed bugs on planes
Use the right luggage
A hard sided luggage or a nylon backpack is much more difficult for the bed bugs to climb into. Keep your carry-on handbag on your lap for the duration of the flight. The key is to avoid letting your luggage touch that of other passengers.
To avoid getting bed bugs home after a flight, it is best to pack as light as you can. This way, you will have fewer infested items when you return. Should you happen to face the misfortune of getting bed bugs in your luggage, you’d have to treat or throw away fewer items if you have packed light. Take clothing that can withstand high heat and leave the delicates at home.
Check in most of your stuff
Do try to check in nearly all your luggage since most bed bugs on planes usually hide in between the seats or in areas where they can easily get access to blood meals. Checking in luggage may be costly but you will save yourself a lot of money on pest control. Bed bugs are usually not present in the flight’s cargo area. However, we also need to be open to the possibility of getting bugs from other luggage in the cargo. Therefore, a thorough inspection of your luggage is must upon your arrival.
Spray the luggage with insecticide
Spray all your suitcases and bags with DEET spray to deter all kinds of bugs. Next, place all your clothing and other items in small Ziploc bags, trash bags or plastic bags. Now, place these smaller bags inside the suitcases or bags you plan on traveling with. This way your clothing will not smell of chemicals and you will easily avoid bringing bed bugs in your home.
Use essential oils
If you are not fond of DEET, you can use essential oil sprays inside the luggage. The best essential oils to deter bed bugs are Lavender, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass and Peppermint. Place cotton balls soaked in these oils inside your luggage before packing. The strong scent of the oils will deter and repel roaches, flies, ants, ticks, fleas and bed bugs. Your clothing will also smell fresh and clean due to these oils.
What to do if you see bed bugs on your flight
- In you have a camera/phone within reach, snap a photo of the bed bug. This is necessary to file a complaint later.
- Push the flight attendant overhead button and let them what you have seen.
- Ask if there are any open seats available. Move to another seat if there are.
- Once you disembark, let the airline authorities know of your experience. You can also call them later from your home/hotel. However, be sure to follow up again and again. You may not receive compensation but you’d do other potential passengers a world of good by getting the authorities to become more vigilant and proactive in handling bed bugs on their flights.
The best thing to avoid bed bugs on a plane is to have all your fellow passengers complain as well so as to put pressure on the airlines. There is no way to be sure that you can avoid these pesky creatures on flights. But you can always be more vigilant. If we all start calling up airlines asking them to inspect their planes, the authorities will have no option but to start paying attention to protocol. This is the simple rule to avoid bed bugs during travel-hold the authorities accountable. Also, once you have disembarked from your flight, do all the things we have mentioned in this article. Use garbage bags to protect your luggage. The resources on this site will help you stop bed bugs from crossing your threshold!