- AIR INDIA Boeing 787-8 lands at Frankfurt airport.
- shutterstock/Vytautas Kielaitis
- Air Indiagrounded two aircraft operating between Mumbai and Newark after passengers complained of being bitten by bedbugs on two flights last week.
- Passengers posted pictures and vented their frustrations on Twitter.
- The airline said that affected aircraft have been fumigated and its upholstery overhauled.
Air India temporarily grounded two aircraft operating between Mumbai and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey after passengers complained of being bitten by bedbugs last week.
Business class passengers on board Flight 144 reported bedbug bites on two separate segments last week.
Air India was not immediately available for comment on the matter. However, in a statement to NBC News, the airline said that it is “deeply concerned with a few reports of ‘bugs’ causing inconvenience to its esteemed passengers.”
“The issue has been viewed seriously and every possible step is being taken to closely inspect and further strengthen our system at every level to ensure that such isolated incidents of passenger discomfiture do not affect our consistent performance,” the airline added.
While the origin of the insects on the plane is not yet known, Air India has worked to them exterminate them from its aircraft.
“Experienced experts have carried out extensive service on the aircraft from fumigation to overhaul of the upholstery, seat covers, carpets etc to ensure that passengers keep enjoying their in-flight experience with us as always without any complaint of inconvenience,” the airline said in a statement.
Two aircraft used to operate the flight the Mumbai-Newark route were grounded one day each, an airline official told the Hindustan Times.
Multiple passengers of Air India Flight took to Twitter to express both their frustration and disgust of being bitten by the insects while flying.
“Just arrived in New York on Air India 144 business class with family. All our seats infested with bed bugs,” one passenger complained.
Another passenger wrote that his wife and three children were on Air India 144 from Newark to Mumbai and “have bedbug bites all of their body.”
“Is this what we paid $10,000 for?” the passenger complained.
@airindiain @sureshpprabhu @narendramodi_in Suresh Prabhuji – just arrived from New York on Air India 144 business class with family . All our seats infested with bed bugs . Sir , have heard of bed bugs on trains but shocked to experience on our maharaja and that too business pic.twitter.com/m2GnfOpTO3
— Pravin Tonsekar (@pat_tons) July 17, 2018
What an #airindia #businessclass would do to you? AI still has to get in touch with me inspite if my repeated attempts to get in touch with them. @airindiain @NewYorkTimes11 @cnni pic.twitter.com/tDHfmhX0Vx
— Saumya Shetty (@saumshetty) July 20, 2018
@airindiain my wife and three kids flex business class AI 144 from Newark to mumbai; now they have bed bug bites all over their body; is this is what we paid $10,000 for???
— Rohan (@roscrow) July 19, 2018
Air India, which is India’s national airline, has been looking for a buyer since being put up for sale by the Indian government in March.
The airline hasn’t turned a profit since 2007 and has 27,000 employees along with $5 billion in debt. While a deadline has been extended to facilitate a purchase, a buyer has yet to emerge.