Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Avoid Getting Bedbugs When Traveling on an Airplane

Bedbugs can be on airplanes

(Photo: caribb @ Flickr)

In a recent discussion on the BedBugger Forum, it was widely acknowledged that airplanes are even more of a haven for bedbugs than movie theaters.


        • Luggage from all over the globe is piled together
        • Upholstered seats
        • Humans sitting motionless and sleeping in said seats

This issue has not yet hit the news. But it will.

Doug Summers opined:

I am a big proponent of hard sided luggage… If I was an investor… I would be researching bed bug resistant luggage designs.

Nylon cloth luggage can harbor bed bugs on the outer surfaces… also provides attractive crevices around the pockets and trim areas.

The airlines are still taking a head in the sand approach… eventually the news media will focus a spotlight on the issue and it will play out much like the clothing store and movie theater stories that have been featured in the media in the last few months.

The airlines are in a difficult position… It is impractical to screen all of the passengers and aircraft cabins are loaded with attractive harborage locations… much like cruise ships and hotels.

The obvious solution …K9 inspection, monitors and gas fumigation will be expensive on a fleet wide basis… The airlines are not eager to increase their overhead expenses until public perceptions of bed bug infestation risk threatens to start affecting their revenue stream.

We have actually GIVEN UP hard luggage in favor of duffle bags that can be thrown in the drier upon arrival back home. PackTite works great as well.

Others suggested triple wrapping bags in plastic wrap (available in some airports).

Some spouses of frequent travelers live in fear and an almost fatalistic outlook of their inevitable infestation. This lady is serious about preventing infestation; others would do well to follow her lead:

So this is what i have my husband do. He knows his luggage is clean when he leaves the house. He travels with 3 construction bags…everything is in a carryon bag — he doesn’t need to check anything unless he’s going far away and then, i don’ t worry about it. But on these short trips, he uses the carryon bag. Before he puts the bag in the overhead compartment, he puts a contractor bag on it and tapes it up well. Then when he’s getting off the plane he cuts the bag where the handle is as small as he can and then puts tape over that hole when he’s getting into the taxi cab. He takes the handle tape off when he gets to hotel. In hotel he puts the used bag in a smaller cheap plastic bag and tapes it up. Then he puts a fresh bag over his suitcase which is placed in the bathtub. He works out of that bag and then when he’s ready to come home he’ll toss that plastic bag and put the old plastic bag with the handle cut out on his suitcase…tape up the handle hole for the taxi ride and then retape it once he’s on board. When he lands he’ll tape up the handle hole again before getting in the taxi to come home and before coming in the front door of the buildling, he slips his carryon into a fresh contractor bag and tapes it up.

I meet him at the door and he gets one short peck before he steps in the house. (He’s negotiated that kiss because he says that otherwise coming home feels too clinical) Once inside the apartment door he strips down and while he’s carefully removing his clothing and putting those in a contractor bag (a used one from home that’s been PackTited)…i’m loading up the PT with the carryon bag. here’s where we have some exposure…i have to open the contractor bags…i try to save the new one but i have to get inside the carryon to take out the toothpaste, cologne, mustache wax (yes, ladies, mustache wax, but that’s another story..) etc., then i put those things in another bag i can closely inspect while i crank up the PT. His clothing gets tossed in there as well and i set it for a good long time.

Husband goes directly into the shower…it does not matter how tired he is.!! If he collapses in the shower, well…sorry….but there is no way he can go to his desk or sit down anywhere until he is completely showered head to toe!

If it’s a longer flight with a checked bag…just put a plastic bag on it after you get it out of baggage claim (if you can’t prewrap it with those big plastic wrap machines they have at JFK, for instance). Then follow the same procedure as outlined above. That should do it.


4 Responses to “How to Avoid Getting Bedbugs When Traveling on an Airplane”

  1. ba-bites says:

    bedbugs on airplanes are definitely a huge problem! i just created a website about a couple of horrific flights i took recently:

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