Plane bound for Florida had missing and damaged windows after takeoff

A plane flying from London to Orlando, Florida, last month was forced to turn around because some window panes were missing or damaged, startling passengers who reported hearing booming noises in the cabin, authorities said.

According to a report released last week by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the plane, an Airbus A321, had four damaged windows, including two that were completely missing, when it took off from London Stansted Airport on October 4.

There were no injuries aboard the flight, which included 11 crew members and nine passengers seated in the middle of the plane, all of whom were employees of a “travel company or the company operating the aircraft,” authorities said.

The names of the companies were not included in the report.

After takeoff, some passengers noticed that “the aircraft cabin seemed louder and colder than they were used to,” the report said. Someone walking to the back of the plane noticed a loud noise and saw a window seal rattling and the window pane appearing to have slipped down.

That passenger described the cabin noise to an investigator as “loud enough to damage your hearing,” the report said.

The cabin crew were informed and, after further inspection of the window, agreed to return the aircraft to Stansted.

The plane remained normally pressurized throughout the 36-minute flight, investigators said.

After the plane landed, the crew members found the three additional damaged window panes.

The report said the plane was filmed on the ground a day before the flight and that it was illuminated by external lights for more than five hours “to create the illusion of a sunrise,” authorities said.

But the hot lights caused thermal damage and warping to the windows, authorities said.

The report warned that while the episode ended “uneventfully,” more serious damage “could have potentially had more serious consequences, particularly if window integrity was lost at higher differential pressures.”

In 2018, one person was killed on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas when an engine exploded in mid-air, a window shattered and a woman was partially pulled from the plane, resulting in fatal injuries.

Originally posted 2023-11-11 04:22:19.