Passengers on a British Airways flight to England were terrified after an emergency announcement told them the plane was going to crash.
British Airways flight 0206 wasn't in fact going to crash, but a false announcement told passengers to prepare for an emergency water landing. Instantly passengers began crying and screaming frantically, while the plane was flying safely over 30,000 feet in the air.
London couple Duncan and Tracey Farquharson, accused the airline of trivializing passengers' concerns, according to The Daily Mail. They felt that the staff issued an inadequate apology and never explained exactly what the error was until they landed.
Duncan Farquharson, 58, an engineer, said the incident happened nearly three hours into the flight.
"We were about three hours into the flight when an automated message came over the [speaker system] saying, 'This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water.'"
He said that he and his wife exchanged looks and thought they were about to die.
"Families with children were distraught and people were in tears," Farquharson said. "It was very distressing."
He said that after 30 seconds of terrifying anxiety, the cabin crew told them to ignore the announcement and accept their apologies. He added that their tone didn't reflect how seriously the passengers had taken it.
"Imagine yourself plunging towards a cold, watery grave in the middle of the Atlantic is a pretty horrific thought but they seemed very blase about it," Farquharson said.
His wife, Tracey Farquharson, 51, an administrator, said that the captain neglected to address the mistake and didn't even explain what happened until the plane was about to land.
"It still makes me very emotional thinking about it now- it was very traumatic," Mrs. Farquharson said. The cabin staff quickly reassured passengers that the message had been played by accident.
The accident happened at about 3 a.m. halfway through a flight from Miami to Heathrow, according to The Telegraph.
"I thought we were going to die," the passenger told The Telegraph. "My wife was crying and passengers were screaming. Then they played an announcement telling us to just ignore the warnings."
According to passengers' accounts, the staff also handed out letters apologizing, but it wasn't enough for the petrified passengers.
"It was the worst experience of my life," another passenger said. "I don't think BA should get away with this."
British Airways later confirmed that the pre-recorded emergency announcement was activated in error.
A British Airways spokesperson said that the cabin crew immediately tried to reassure customers that the flight was operating normally before apologizing for causing undue concern.