Bed bugs force Air India to ground Mumbai-Newark planes

The airline received complaints from passengers who flew in the aircraft from Newark on Tuesday.
Complaints of bed bugs in the seats of two Air India aircraft forced the airline to ground them.(HT File)
Complaints of bed bugs in the seats of two Air India aircraft forced the airline to ground them.(HT File)
Updated on Jul 21, 2018 08:05 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByNeha LM Tripathi, Mumbai

Air India temporarily grounded B777 aircraft, which was scheduled to fly from Mumbai to Newark on Wednesday for fumigation, after passengers from business class complained of bed bugs.

The airline received complaints from passengers who flew in the aircraft from Newark on Tuesday. A Powai resident, Kashmira Tonsekar, who was returning with her family from a holiday in the United States, checked the seats after her younger daughter complained of rashes. She said she had seen a bed bug on her husband’s seat before taking off, but ignored it then thinking it was an insect. “We alerted the crew who sprayed a repellent. After a while, more bugs started coming out from that and other seats,” said Kashmira.

They were shifted to the economy class. Kashmira’s husband , Pravin Tonsekar, who wrote an email to the airline, said, “We were shocked to find bugs…The crew was shocked and apparently registered a complaint on our behalf. My wife and younger daughter were given the unsalable crew seats in the economy class which were in a bad condition. Its table was broken and TV couldn’t be switched off. The crew had to put a cloth to cover it.”

“It is such a pity that after paying a premium, we have to suffer owing to deficiency of services,” stated the complaint email.

Another passenger Vivek Modi from New Jersey from the same flight tweeted about the incident with pictures of bugs roaming around on the seats.

A similar incident took place on Thursday when an infant was bitten by bugs in another Mumbai-Newark flight.

An airline official said the two aircraft in which the incidents took place were grounded for one day each. However, an Air India spokesperson said, “The aircraft have been fumigated and seat covers etc. replaced. Schedule of Mumbai-Newark flight is not affected.”

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