NEW DELHI: Air India temporarily grounded flights between Newark and Mumbai this week after passengers complained of bed bug bites.
Business class passengers aboard an Air India flight from Newark to Mumbai said on Twitter that their seats were infested with bed bugs and that they had “bites all over their body” after the flight.
“We alerted the crew who sprayed a repellent,” passenger Kashmira Tonsekar told The Hindustan Times. “After a while, more bugs started coming out from that and other seats.”
Passengers who complained of the bug bites were moved back to the main cabin, but they had already been bitten.
“Air India is deeply concerned with a few reports of ‘bugs’ causing inconvenience to its esteemed passengers,” a statement from the airline said. “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 offered a partial refund to passengers affected by the bed bugs.
“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,” Air India told NBC News.
A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told NJ.com that there have been no other reports of bed bugs in the terminal or other areas of Newark International Airport.
Air India is India’s national airline. It has not turned a profit since 2007 and is currently up for sale. The new owner would take on $5 billion in debt. No prospective buyers have stepped forward so far.