In what could’ve ended badly, a place recently took off from London with two windows missing. Crew members realized such a development mid-flight after the plane reached 14,500 feet.
A commercial plane took off with 2 missing windows and reached 10,000 feet before anyone realized there was a problem https://t.co/Kxhij1HzqE
— Insider Transportation (@insidertranspo) November 8, 2023
Interestingly, the plane had been previously boarded by Britain’s King Charles and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
On Oct. 4, 2023, the Airbus A321 took off from London Stansted Airport for Orlando, Florida, with two windows that were reportedly damaged by high-powered lights used during a film shoot a couple of days before takeoff, according to the New York Post.
The plane, which belongs to Titan Airways, was carrying 11 crew members and nine passengers who are employees of the airline company and the world-class, renowned travel agency TCS World Travel, as indicated in an incident report by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB).
Shortly after takeoff, one of the crew members took a close look at the seal around one of the aircraft’s windows that was “flapping.” The individual later said that the noise was so aggravating to the point where it could “damage your hearing,” Sky News reported.
The crew later discovered that two windows’ inner, outer and rubber seals had been missing. Only the plastic window scratch panes had remained in place, per the New York Post.
Upon discovering the broken windows, the crew reduced its airspeed and returned to London. There were no “abnormal indications” that something disastrous could have happened to the plane.
Investigators reported that the incident occurred just one day after the plane was used for a photo shoot, containing powerful lights to “give the illusion of a sunrise.”
The AAIB said that the lights had been shone on the plane’s right side for more than five hours and on the left for four hours. The organization added that the lights were designed to be used at a proximity less than 32 feet from an object but, in this case, were used about 20 feet from the windows.
The AAIB said the damaged panes were “deformed and shrunk[en].”
“Whereas in this case the damage became apparent at around FL100 (10,000 feet) and the flight was concluded uneventfully, a different level of damage by the same means might have resulted in more serious consequences, especially if window integrity was lost at higher differential pressure,” the organization said.