Bright Side

What Would Happen If a Plane Window Blew Off During a Flight

For many of us, traveling by plane is full of stress, even though emergency situations occur very rarely. With that said, there are some people who can find a way out of seemingly any situation: for example, this man who fixed the cracked plane window next to him with just some clear tape.

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We at Bright Side are aware that there are other serious cases connected to window failures in aircraft, so we decided to find out what could happen if a window blows off during a flight.

This has happened before

There have been several stories connected to broken airplane windows, here are some of them:

  • In 1990, during British Airways flight 5390, one of the windscreen panels got separated, and the plane’s captain was nearly sucked out of the cabin. Fortunately, an air steward caught the pilot last second and held onto him until the plane landed, so he survived.
  • A similar incident happened in the middle of an Airbus A319 flight in 2018 when a windshield got blown off. Luckily, the plane’s co-pilot had his seatbelt on, so he was only partially blown out of the aircraft and didn’t have any serious injuries.

What is going on onboard

In this situation, before anything else, you would hear a very loud noise because of depressurization. Basically, the air pressure inside the cabin is higher than it is outside of the plane to enable the people onboard to breathe normally. That’s why, if a window happens to break, the air inside would escape at high speeds, taking small objects like phones or magazines (or sometimes larger things, like people) with it.

Other effects of depressurization include a decrease in temperature and air pressure (accompanied by a “popping” of the ears), and mist or fog from condensation inside the plane.

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In case this happens to you

Like with many emergency situations, the most important rule is to not panic. In addition, it’s better to have your seat belt fastened at all times when you’re in your sit. Once the oxygen masks drop, put one on, then help your child or other people around you. The crew will start the emergency landing and the descent will be rapid to minimize the risks for passengers.

As soon as the plane is at a safe altitude, you’ll be able to remove the mask.

Planes are safe still

Air travel is one of the safest ways of getting around, and it only gets safer. Besides, when an emergency situation like depressurization does occur, windows are rarely the reason: it happens only in 2.7% of all pressurization failure events. They have multiple layers made from plexiglass or acrylic plastics, which are durable, and have a tiny hole (it’s there to avoid condensation).

How often do you travel by plane?

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