A passenger has posted a picture of a cracked aircraft window taped over with sticky tape whilst onboard a SpiceJet Boeing 737. The passenger expressed some concern but it didn’t prevent him flying – so he can’t have been that worried. And it appears the posting caused a flurry over nothing much. The crack was on an inner flexi pane that does not bear structural pressurization loads.
Taped up window
According to a report in The Independent, Hariharan Sankaran was on SG8152 from Mumbai to Delhi on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. There is a decent looking crack at his window. The crack was covered with cellotape. No doubt it would raise my eyebrows too. Instead of being, I dunno, normal, pointing out the issue to crew and asking if all was okay with this, Mr Sankaran went all millenial and posted about it on social media.
Spicejet flight SG8152 (VT-SYG) Mumbai to Delhi flying (5 Nov 2019) with a broken window stuck with cello tape. Isn’t it a major safety concern? Anyone listening?@flyspicejet @DGCAIndia pic.twitter.com/8gflCyEBcT
— Hariharan Sankaran (@mahamosam) November 5, 2019
Mr Sankaran asked it was a major safety concern. Fair enough. SpiceJet responded swiftly. Now, the cellotape might look a little bit B grade but as they pointed out, the crack was on an inner flexi pane that doesn’t carry structural pressurization loads.
In fact, the role of the inner flexi pane is to protect the real window from scratches. The cracked pane was replaced later that day. So it was merely dodgy-looking rather than actually being dodgy. This was pointed out pretty quickly by SpiceJet. Mr Sankaran flew to Delhi and all went well.
Social media frenzy
Mr Sankaran got 235 likes and 201 retweets for his posting – a little bit ordinary for a story that has been widely picked up. When a respondent got all boring and pointed out there was no safety risk, well, that only got ten likes.
Airlines responded on this- the crack was on the inner flexi pane and was fixed the same day. The purpose of the inner pane is to protect the window from scratches. The inner pane doesn’t carry structural pressurization loads. FYI to all the Aviation Gyanis😅
— Aviation Troller (@AviationTroller) November 6, 2019
But why run with facts when you can do a beat-up. News-18 called the cracked window “a major safety event” and suggested lives were at stake. This, of course, brings out the twits on Twitter who talk about negligence and being sucked out of windows. Except none of this was true
As for SpiceJet, they said;
“Hi Hariharan, at SpiceJet, safety is our utmost concern and at no point in time does the airline compromise on the same.
“We shall surely convey this to the concerned head for necessary action. The inconvenience caused is regretted.”
“Please be assured that at no point in time was safety compromised.”
Not the window
The Independent goes on to say that airtight windows are a must on any commercial jet. The point remains that the cracked pane wasn’t the window proper.
SpiceJet is receiving some flack for the incident. Its sin appears to be giving the appearance of compromising safety rather than actually compromising safety. Granted, it’s not a great look and it could have been discretely resolved by securing the window shade down (or otherwise covering the window and blocking off the row) prior to operating the aircraft. SpiceJet further compromised themselves but stating that it wasn’t a safety risk and failing to appropriately self-flagellate.
Simple Flying has approached SpiceJet for a comment but has received no response prior to publication.