British Airways has confirmed that it was forced to remove a plane from service after bed bugs were found on board.
The airline confirmed to the Independent that the plane was taken out of circulation after reports in The Sun that an infested plane was allowed to keep flying.
The Sun said that a row had been closed on a 747 flying from the US to Heathrow after bed bugs had been spotted on board.
British Airways said that it would never allow a plane to continue to fly if it knew there was an issue.
A spokeswoman told the Independent: “Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, remove the aircraft from service and use specialist teams to treat it.
“The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world. British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare.
“Nevertheless, we are vigilant about the issue and continually monitor our aircraft.”
There are no official statistics for bed bugs on aeroplanes, but a referal site for extermination services called Bed-Bugs.com said that bed bugs thrive when people are kept in close proximity and where there is a frequent turnover of people.
“On aeroplanes, people are in close proximity, are not able to move other than on the plane, and their belongings are required to stay untouched for long periods of time. This is an excellent recipe for bed bug transmittal,” the website said.