British Airways apologized Thursday for a poorly timed series of ads encouraging travelers to “discover the Indian Ocean” that ran amid the search in the southern Indian Ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The ads on the London Underground say, “Escape the commute and discover the Indian Ocean,” while a similar piece that ran last week in the Times of London says, “Escape to the Indian Ocean. It’s a long way from the everyday.” Both ads display images of water, with the Times of London ad showing fish.

Here’s that unfortunately timed @British_Airways ad running a... on Twitpic




British Airways apologized via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.


A British Airways spokesperson told the marketing and media website The Drum that the ad campaign was created well before Flight MH370 disappeared earlier this month. The spokesperson said the ads will be taken down.

“We are very sorry for any offense caused, and the advertising is being withdrawn,” the spokesperson said. “This campaign was planned some months ago and we recognize that its appearance at this time is inappropriate.”

The ads raised eyebrows on Reddit, where an image of one of the advertisements generated more than 483 comments as of Thursday afternoon.

“Man I hope the families don't see this,” said Reddit user Versaeus.

“Oh dear. This was bad timing to be sure,” added hiyosilver04.

Although Flight MH370 has yet to be found, officials believe the plane crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Satellite images picked up what may be a debris field from the missing plane off the southwest coast of Australia, but the aircraft has yet to be recovered.