We’ve all heard about the problem of bed bugs in hotels. But this isn’t the only risk travellers might face. Recent years have seen an increase in reports of bed bugs on airplanes. And these insects don’t distinguish between economy and business class!
Airplanes provide an ideal environment for bed bugs to thrive in. People’s belongings are left unattended for hours. Passengers sit close to each other and do not move for long periods. In such confined spaces, it’s not surprising that bugs can be transmitted from person to person.
There have been reports in recent years of passengers being bitten by more than the travel bug when they boarded airplanes. And they took to social media to express their outrage. No airline can afford the bad press and reputational loss that can follow a bed bug infestation.
Prevent bed bugs on airplanes
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop flying. As Christmas approaches, more people will be taking to the skies to visit loved ones. Instead, you can take these simple precautions to reduce your risk of bed bug encounters:
- Protect your seat: Even if you’re sitting in luxurious first class, your seat could possibly be home to some bed bugs. You can protect yourself by putting a layer between yourself and the seat. You can easily slide Bug Off seat covers over your seat. Other options include Seat Defender or BedGuard. You might even use a DIY approach and cover the seat in sarin wrap or cling film! Just make sure that your cover is comfortable and durable enough for a long-haul flight.
- Protect your blanket: Airline-supplied blankets and pillows could potentially be the source of the problem. As well as bed bugs, these blankets might contain germs or bacteria. You can avoid contact with supplied fabrics by bringing your own blanket and pillow on board. Alternatively, you could wear warm, casual gear that will help you snooze in comfort without needing blankets.
- Protect your luggage: Bed bugs could be travelling in carry-on or checked-in luggage. And with luggage lying unattended, the insects could move from suitcase to suitcase. To protect your luggage, you can simply wrap it in cling film or put it in a sealed plastic bag.
- Protect your home: Even if you take all practical precautions, you might arrive home from your flight with some unexpected passengers. Your main goal now is to prevent any stray bed bugs getting into your home. Check and unpack your luggage as soon as possible (preferably outside). Wash all clothes and fabrics immediately. If you cannot wash the clothes, put them in a hot dryer to kill the bugs. And remember to wrap your luggage in plastic for two weeks in order to isolate any lingering bugs. Bed bugs breed quickly, so don’t delay in taking action!
Prevent bed bugs when returning from a trip
At home use your WITS:
- Wash your bed clothes on a temperature of at least 60℃, and if possible place the items into a tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes. Bed bugs aren’t great survivors in high temperatures. Washing clothing will help eliminate both adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs, reducing the risk of a bed bugs in your home
- Inspect your luggage, clothes, beds and furniture for signs of infestation. And remember to check after visitors too.
- Tidy your rooms. You can see signs of infestation more clearly when your rooms are clean and tidy.
- Send old clothes and lined to charity shops. Don’t leave them lying around in closets. If you don’t wear it, you don’t need it
By taking these precautions, you can reduce your risk of being exposed to bed bugs. We wish you a pleasant flight!