Budget airline Scoot has been in the headlines lately after frequent flyer Jiamin Han took to Facebook to complain of several red bed bug bite marks on her arms and back that she noticed after taking a round trip flight between Singapore and Hong Kong via the airline.
Han asserted in a Facebook page last Friday that she had tried contacting the airline via private message but had to resort to posting a public complaint on their Facebook page since they didn’t respond to her even though they continued “pushing promo stuff” on their social networking page. She said:
“I’ve taken FlyScoot’s planes a couple of times now so the fact that there are bed bugs on the seats of your planes is extremely concerning for me…What’s even more appalling is your careless attitude to what appears to be a serious issue which concerns the health of passengers onboard your planes.”
Hi there, I really didn't want to post this here but given that you chose to ignore my private FB messages and continue…
Scoot quickly released a statement to a local news site, that no bed bugs were found on board the aircraft, but that the matter is still being investigated:
“We regularly clean and disinfect our seats to ensure a pleasant and clean cabin experience for our guests. Our investigation into the previously reported case found that there were no bed bugs on board our aircraft. Regardless, we take this seriously and are currently investigating after having gotten in touch with the guest for more details. Thank you.”
Yesterday, the airline published a more lengthy clarification on its Facebook page declaring that it had conducted a thorough examination on its planes and has concluded that there was no evidence of any bed bug infestation:
“Dear Scoot Community
“We refer to the recent reports of a guest claiming to have been bitten by bed bugs on our flights. We would like to reassure everyone that we take the health and safety of our guests seriously and have conducted an investigation including thoroughly examining all the crevices around the seats, such as below the seat cushion, lifting the seat pan flap, and punching the life vest to check for evidence of bed bugs.
“We can confirm that there is no evidence of bed bug infestation in this instance. However, as a pre-emptive measure, we will be carrying out a disinfection of the seats and the seats around it, in addition to replacing the seat cushion covers.
“Bed bugs can spread in areas where there is frequent turnover of people, where people are in close proximity, as well as via their belongings. In view of this, Scoot has in place a rigorous cleaning and maintenance schedule to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of our fleet, comprising a monthly pest treatment, as well as aircraft cabin deep cleaning and residual disinfection every seven to eight weeks.
“We thank all of you for this opportunity to clarify matters on this issue.
Instead of being reassured, flyers were quick to dispute Scoot’s “rigorous cleaning schedule,” calling the airline “filthy.”
This is not the first time Scoot has been in the news over bed bug bites. In September 2016, a flyer alleged that they saw a bed bug on a Taipei-Singapore flight and that they were bitten by the bugs.
The flyer said in a post online that they informed the air stewardess who asked them to write in to the airline. When they did, they were allegedly told that there was nothing that can be done about the issue:
“I had one of the worst flight ever. My partner and I was taking a flight TZ201 by Scoot from Taipei to Singapore which was suppose to depart at 1535. However it delayed to 1915 but we boarded the plane only at 1932.
“Just like any regular planes, we want a peaceful and safe flight but it turned out to be a nightmare.
“45 minutes before landing, my partners’s arm were itching like crazy. It turned out to be bed-bugs bite.
“We even saw the bug itself being brown and about 0.5cm on the chair. But we were panicking and didn’t manage to take a snapshot of the bug.
“Upon landing, we informed an air stewardess on the flight but she told us to write into the company regarding this matter, however she would inform Scoot on behalf of us as well.
“When we called into the company regarding this issue, a Philippino customer service agent named Gino simply told us that there’s nothing we can do regarding this issue and let it go.
“He even mentioned that we can simply make a fuss regarding this issue online and let people know about it despite the fact that people can avoid taking this airline again.
“We were simply seeking for a solution whether we can do an insurance claim etc. but he mentioned that we can go online and spread the word, make a big hoo-ha about this issue. How unprofessional.
“Is there anything we can do about it?”