Passengers at the Tom Bradley International Terminal alerted police to the message at 9:47 p.m.
It read: “An emergency has been declared in the terminal. Please evacuate.”
“After the mistake was discovered, airport staff removed the message from all the monitors by 9:54 p.m.,” LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles told the L.A. Times.
Airport authorities initially thought the message was the work of a hacker, but they later discovered it was just an accident.
An airline contractor with authorized access to the display system accidentally caused the override of the screens, Castles said.
The airline contract employee was apparently programming airline check-in information when he accidentally activated the pre-programmed emergency evacuation message.
“The airport’s information technology staff will be looking at ways to ensure this accident does not happen again in the future,” Castles told the Times.