Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Many airlines are struggling to maintain a positive image these days.

That's what happens when you're a little too obvious in your pursuit of cash.

Still, I'm especially worried about one airline in whose planes, over the years, I've flown a lot.

It's British Airways. 

It once flew the flag for stiff upper lips and now bears the brunt of suggestions that it's service has dipped

To the level of a nasty budget airline, that is.

The airline does, though, appear to have other issues.

In October, BA apologized after a family was repeatedly bitten by bed bugs on an overnight flight from Vancouver. 

An isolated incident, I thought. It could happen to any airline.

But then this week I hear of a Business Class passenger, Mike Gregory, who says he was bitten 150 times by bed bugs on a BA flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa. 

That's one bite approximately every 55 miles.

Gregory says he slept on the flight and woke to the sight of a bloodied blanket.

No, he hadn't been dragged off by overenthusiastic staff who used to work for United. 

He had, though, endured some chomping of his body. He was left with itching all over his torso, waist and hands.

I'll refrain from suggesting this is a case of biting the hand that feeds you, but I'm beginning to wonder whether British Airways has something of a problem in this area.

I only ask because here's another report from this week. 

It says that BA had to ground a flight from London to Ghana after, oh, no, a bed bug infestation. 

I contacted the airline to ask whether it has issues.

An airline spokeswoman told me: "We have been in touch with Mr Gregory to apologize for his experience. 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 on 280 routes every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft."

Yes, but two in a week? What would algorithms have to say about that?

It seems that the report of bed bugs in the Ghana flight is also true. 

"The comfort of our customers is paramount, so as soon as this very rare issue was identified at Heathrow, we immediately took the aircraft out of service for treatment," said the spokeswoman. 

She is, of course, right that an airline that flies to so many places may have a statistically higher chance of creepies crawling onto its planes. 

But when it's an airline that's already been upbraided for featuring a urine-stained seat, it's inevitable that irrationality creeps in and fears take hold.

The BA spokeswoman is correct that bed bugs are a real problem for hotels. 

There's even a registry for you to check where they've been seen lately.

I pause for a fascinating fact: Bed bugs can ingest 7 times their own weight in blood.

Yes, they're resilient little things. (Here are some tips to help you protect yourself against them on flights.)

However, you really don't want your airline associated with them if you can help it.

Better to be associated with, oh, nickel-and-diming.

Published on: Jan 15, 2018