Bed Bugs bite kids in Air India Business Class from New York

I’ve long maintained that while Air India has been a great airline for their service, they are the worst for their product. I had awesome service from them on the Air India Business Class on my Mumbai to London flight, which was the last time I flew them long-haul International, about a year ago. But the product is broken. And that is the domain of the management and Ground Services team which is responsible to design the product

Their 777s are in bad shape for many years, but seems the airline is putting lipstick on a pig by changing the upholstery. I wrote a detailed email to the CEO many years ago, enclosing pictures here, but never heard back. Heck, I was just surprised and frustrated at the apathy inside the airline for all of these issues, things which need to be fixed but they can’t even respond to the customers coherently.

Now, a new case has emerged, where things have gone to a limit which is the heights of deplorability, and the airline has not even acknowledged the case, forget making it good. And I am enraged because this involves a small kid.

An Air India AI 144 flight operated from Newark to Mumbai, which is a 17 hour long flight, had business class seats infested with bed bugs.

The patron has put out pictures of his daughter as well, who was covered with bed bug bites on her face.

As per a news report on this subject, the bug bites on the 8-month old girl were discovered in preparation for landing. She had been crying and the mom discovered the bite marks. Not just that, it was also unfortunate that blood was found on the duvet etc.

I really hope the father sues Air India for this negligence. This is not a case where Air India just needs to fix their planes, but also their mindset. No amount of changing the upholstery will make it a premium experience, so just hand over the keys to someone who can, and move out of it.

I am so glad that Delta is coming in and United is upping their game on this non-stop 17 hour long flight, and this should mean people, except the political class and bureaucracy, will have options to fly a better product.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I agree that AI has lost its lustre .Service is served in deplorable tray.Travelling from India to USA .I was in economy class. The seat cushion was so thin that the butt was hurting.and to top it all it kept sliding forward and you could see the floor beneath.
    Sent email complaining about it,but as usual no response.Looks like their attitude as always “who cares.chalta hai”.another time the whole journey was going to be without tv,no overhead lights to read,had I not complained in a serious tone.then it was taken are of.Can you imagine what the 16hrs of journey would have been?
    route to India is always like this.Fly to another country on AI,it will be better.Desi log attitude.

  2. According the picture , these are adult bugs and according to news report it seems they lived in the plane for some time….

  3. Bed bugs sadly arent an issue only on AI. There have been a couple of high profile cases on BA as well if memory serves me correctly.
    The problem with the little buggers is that they can be in someones bag or elsewhere and then make their home in a seat. Its sadly the price we pay for our interconnected world.

  4. Delta’s product is subpar too in most of the aircrafts they have except A350. Hopefully they commit flying that to Mumbai. The B777 seats are too old and uncomfortable for long flights. United recently announced flying Polaris seats configured 777 to that should be a big change for people flying from New York area.

  5. I think AI needs to be winded up and all it’s landing slots etc needs to go to a NewCo which hold all assets. Fire all employees.

    NewCo will become New Air India and hire fresh employees, run it like a for profit airline and take it back to AI’s glory days pre nationalization.

    And since this is a special situation, no unionization to be allowed by law as long as it does not make profit not just +Ve EBITDA or free cash flow but actual profit after wiping out losses.

    And no appointing IAS officers to run the show.

    • I am about to take 3 air segments on Air India this coming November/December. Questioning if this is wise. I will be in Biz Class. Suggestions?

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