This post is brought to you by the phrases “locked in an airplane cabin” and “blood-sucking insects,” and by the number 2, two being the number of different long haul British Airways flights that Yahoo executive Zane Selkirk discovered where bedbugs were devouring her body. To make things even more perfect, BA’s flight attendants and customer service reps treated Ms. Selkirk horribly throughout and after her flights from Los Angeles to Heathrow to Bangalore. She’s helpfully set up a website called BA Bites! to describe the experience.
We don’t want to get into too many details, on account of how thinking about this nightmare kind of makes us throw up in our mouths. It suffices to say that at various points during her in-flight journey Selkirk observed: live bugs clinging to her blood-stained shirt next to their dead crushed friends on her shoulder, multiple generations of bugs crawling around and infesting the headrest and seat, and over 90 bites covering her body. The flight attendant on her first flight responded to the earliest of these episodes by angrily demanding “why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?” Because that’s obviously what the problem was.
This is now brewing, as well it should, into a full-blown social media disaster for British Airways. As of this morning, Selkirk’s site—not her story, just the site itself—has been Facebook liked over 600 times. The site also boasts hundreds of outraged comments, some of which are links to blogs and newspapers that picked up the story.
In response BA has set up their own website for complaints. This move—in our estimation, as bloggers who observe and report on the intersection of new media technology and airline industry dynamics, and who are insanely grossed out by this story—probably will not prove adequate.