Airline: You're All Gonna Die! (Just Kidding)

Ever hit the wrong button on a computer? Hopefully it didn't send hundreds of people into hysterical panic, as it did on British Airways flight 0206. One minute passengers were calmly snoozing or reading at 3:00 a.m. as they flew from Miami to London. The next minute, an alarm sounds, and everyone is told to prepare for an emergency water landing.

Fortunately, there was no emergency, and the recording was played accidentally. Oops! To make up for it, the airline handed out apology letters to all of the passengers once they reached their final destination (we hope that wasn't the in-flight movie). Which raises the question—does British Airways always fly with a stack of pre-printed "sorry we made you think you were going to die" letters, or were the poor flight attendants frantically hand-writing them over and over?

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One might think British Airways, of all airlines, would have learned its lesson after a similar incident on a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong in which the pilot "hit the wrong button, because they were so close together," according to an account by the Telegraph.

My real question here is why this recorded announcement even exists in the first place. Also: Why is it located so near everyday announcements like "fasten your seat-belts." If the plane really is going down, shouldn't the flight attendants be giving passengers real-time instructions anyway? I also wonder what other emergency recorded announcements there are on planes—is there one for every potential disaster?

 

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