Passengers on a British Airway flight from Miami to Heathrow got the scare of their lives yesterday. It was about 3 a.m., and they were mid-air when an automated announcement started playing in error. It said there was an emergency, and the plane was about to make a water landing. As people began to freak out, the message played another time—just to make sure everyone would be at maximum panic level. One man on board described the scene:
An alarm sounded and we were told we were about to land in the sea. I thought we were going to die. My wife was crying and passengers were screaming. Then they played an announcement telling us to just ignore the warnings.
The plane was actually cruising safely at 35,000 feet, and the flight attendants quickly reassured passengers that they weren't in any danger. But the psychological damage was done. The airline handed out letters of apology after the plane landed, but it didn't do much to sooth people's jangled nerves. A similar incident happened on another British Airways flight in 2010. They need to get it together!
Why do they even have automated announcements to give such terrible news? And how many different scenarios do they have covered? Is there a button you can press for "Ladies and gentleman, please brace yourselves, we are going to be making an emergency landing because a UFO has just zapped us with its ray and disabled one of our engines"? It seems like such moments of peril really call for a more personal touch. If I am going to go down in flames, I want to find out via a calm and comforting announcement made by one of the plane's human crew members, thank you very much!
Image via ruzanna/Shutterstock.