A window on Southwest Airlines flight 957 from Chicago to New Jersey today cracked while airborne, causing the plane to make a diverted landing in Cleveland.
Passengers said they heard the window popping on the Boeing 737, and according to the airline, the decision was made to divert the aircraft so that the window could be examined.
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Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said the pilots did not declare the event an emergency, and the plane did not lose cabin pressure.
It was reported that there was damage to one of the three layers in the window, but how it cracked was not explained.
There were 76 passengers onboard. No injuries were reported. The aircraft has been taken out of service.
An airline consultant, Robert Mann, who is a former American Airlines executive, said windows are periodically polished to remove crazing, the formation of tiny cracks in the acrylic windows from exposure to chemicals and the sun’s rays. He said he couldn’t recall a similar incident caused by crazing, and the pilots were right to make the decision to land the plane.
The manufacturer of the Boeing windows on the line of 737-700 model is unknown at this time, and Boeing refused to identify the supplier.