People scared of flying might mark British Airways off their list of possible airline choices for good after an automated announcement mistakenly told passengers to prepare for a crash-landing — twice.

The flight was cruising safely at 35,000 feet, about halfway between London and its Miami destination, when the taped message saying the plane was about to make a water landing was played by accident.

And just to be sure it had been heard, the emergency missive then repeated itself.

Needless to say, passengers responded with panic, with one recounting the incident thusly: “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.”

Flight attendants were quick to let everyone know there was no danger, but the frayed nerves of many flyers weren’t terribly soothed.

After the plane landed, the airline handed out letters of apology and a BA spokesman said, “The cabin crew cancelled the announcement immediately and sought to reassure customers that the flight was operating normally. We apologize to customers for causing them undue concern.”

Worse yet, this isn’t the first time BA has had such an incident — in 2010, a similar message was played by mistake on a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong.

Call us old-fashioned, but it seems this type of emergency-landing communique should be delivered by an actual human being instead of a recording that has all the warmth of HAL.

[The Sun]