British Airways cabin crew sparked panic by mistakenly activating an emergency announcement that said the plane was going down, and passengers should brace for a water landing.
The message on the Miami-London flight reportedly said: "This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water."
A flight attendant came on the public address system about 30 seconds later to apologize, saying the message was played by mistake, according to the Daily Mail.
A spokesman for the airline confirmed the incident and said: "The cabin crew canceled the announcement immediately and sought to reassure customers that the flight was operating normally."
However, the experience was far from normal according to a father from Edinburgh, Scotland, who told Britain's Daily Telegraph that:
"It was about 3 a.m.. 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."
Another passenger told the paper that: "When we landed they were handing out letters apologizing, but it was the worst experience of my life. I don't think BA should get away with this."
Duncan and Tracey Farquharson, of London, meantime, said the airline trivialized the fear of passengers by issuing a "blasé" apology and failing to explain how the error occurred until the plane arrived at Heathrow.
"We were about three hours into the flight when an automated message came over the [public address system] saying: 'This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water,'" Farquharson reportedly said. "We looked at each other and figured we were both about to die. Families with children were distraught and people were in tears. It was very distressing."