Passengers on a British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong were greeted by this lovely automated message, while flying above the North Sea in the middle of the night: "We're about to crash."
Flight crew, quickly corrected the error and told passengers, Oops, our bad!
This is funny, but mostly in that "Ha ha! I'm not gonna die, so I feel like laughing uncontrollably!" sort of way.
The one sorta genuinely funny thing about it though is that one passenger, interviewed after the plane safely landed, was quoted as saying "I can't think of anything worse than being told your plane's about to crash."
I have one: Your plane actually crashing.
So here's a great question posed by Gawker: Who knew that airliners had pre-recorded messages for this kind of stuff? I've been on planes where it seemed like the end was near - like the flight back to Chicago from Aruba, after my honeymoon a few years ago, and always a crew member got on the horn and - sometimes nervously - told everyone it was all good. And we'd survive. I think if I'm on a plane and about to eat it, I want to hear a human freaking out just like I'd be.
I'm already a semi-nervous flier, not so much 'cause I doubt the mechanical ability of planes. I worked on 'em in college. And depending on which way the wind is blowing, that experience makes me either slightly more or much less confident in airline safety. We worked on Navy fighter jets in my college job. And sometimes to mess with the pilots' heads, some of the more veteran techs used to place random Band-aids on different parts of the wings or fuselages. When the pilots came to retrieve their jets, they'd see these bandages intended for flesh and reasonably freak out and ask things like "Um, should that be there? Don't you guys have rivets or something for this stuff?" Then the old techs with the twisted humor would let them in on the joke. At least I think it was a joke.
No, my nervousness stems more from not knowing who the other folks on the plane are and whether or not the crew is competent. Hey, if a flight attendant can lose it and slide down the emergency shoot when the plane is parked and at the terminal, what makes you think the next fed up flight attendant won't do that mid-flight?
Anyway, if this happened to me, it would be at least a year if ever before I got on a plane again. I think I'd try to take a bus even for inter-continental flights, or a submarine, or cruise ship or something.
PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.