‘Terrifying’: Emergency landing after windshield of British Airways plane ‘broke’

British Airways says the aircraft had ‘landed safely’ in Athens [file photo]  (Frank Augstein/AP)
British Airways says the aircraft had ‘landed safely’ in Athens [file photo] (Frank Augstein/AP)

A British Airways passenger described the “terrifying” moment the pilot had to perform an emergency landing because the plane’s windshield shattered mid-flight.

Flight BA624 was flying from London Heathrow to the Greek island of Rhodes on Saturday (24 September).

But during the journey, the aircraft windshield in the cockpit suffered multiple cracks.

The pilot had to make an emergency landing in Athens so that passengers could board an alternative flight to Rhodes.

Caroline Edmunds tweeted: “A big ‘thank you’ to the @British_Airways pilot who got us safely diverted to Athens after our plane’s windscreen broke ... terrifying.

“Now happily waiting for another not so dramatic flight to Rhodes!”

In responding to another tweet, Ms Edmunds said that travellers had to wait for 11 hours in Athens airport for another flight.

The Independent has contacted BA for comment. The airline was also asked to clarify whether passengers have been offered compensation for the long wait.

BA told Insider in an email: “Due to a technical issue, the flight diverted to Athens and landed safely. We apologised to the customers and a replacement aircraft was arranged to get them to their final destination.”

It appears that the windshield shattered while the plane was at high altitude, as the aircraft rapidly descended from about 36,000 feet, data from tracking website FlightRadar24 shows.

The shattering of plane windows and windshields, which have many layers, is not uncommon and is usually caused by a collision with an object or bird, hailstones, cabin pressure, or temperature changes.

Cracked windows typically do not lead to a catastrophe, but often end up in emergency landings and lengthy delays.

Last month, an Air Canada Express plane bound for the US had to return to Toronto 20 minutes after take-off after windshield cracks were spotted.

Sometimes passengers’ windows crack during flights. Also in August, a passenger on board a LOT Polish Airlines flight filmed the moment travellers “freaked out” after a window cracked before the plane landed in New York.