What Happens If A Window Breaks On A Plane

Imagine you’re on a plane, soaring through the sky, and suddenly you hear a loud *CRACK*. What happens if a window breaks on a plane? Is it as disastrous as it sounds? Don’t worry, young traveler, we’re here to shed some light on this fascinating topic!

When it comes to flying, safety is of utmost importance. So, let’s dive into the world of aviation and explore what happens if a window breaks on a plane. From the moment the glass shatters to the actions taken by the crew, we’ll uncover the measures in place to keep everyone on the aircraft safe.

Curious to know more? Buckle up, young adventurer, as we embark on a journey to discover the answers to your questions about what happens if a window breaks on a plane! Exciting adventures await us as we explore this intriguing topic together. So, fasten your seatbelt, and let’s take off into the fascinating world of aviation safety!

what happens if a window breaks on a plane

What Happens If a Window Breaks on a Plane: Exploring the Consequences

The Anatomy of an Aircraft Window

Before delving into the aftermath of a broken airplane window, let’s first understand the anatomy of an aircraft window. Modern aircraft windows are made from multiple layers of acrylic or polycarbonate materials. Typically, the window consists of an outer pane, an inner pane, and a middle pane known as the laminate. The purpose of this layered construction is to provide strength, insulation, and protection against cabin pressure changes and external forces.

The outer pane is the one in direct contact with the outside environment. It is specifically designed to withstand the impact of hail, bird strikes, and other external factors. The inner pane acts as a secondary barrier, ensuring the cabin remains pressurized in case the outer pane falters. Finally, the laminate, which is sandwiched between the outer and inner panes, provides additional strength and structural integrity.

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the structure, let’s explore the possible scenarios and consequences that may arise if a window breaks during a flight.

The Immediate Consequence: Decompression

If a window breaks on a plane, the immediate consequence is decompression, which occurs when the pressurized air inside the cabin rapidly escapes into the lower pressure outside the aircraft. This sudden loss of pressure can be a terrifying experience for passengers and crew members. Immediate symptoms of decompression may include dizziness, difficulty breathing, and a sensation of the ears popping.

Fortunately, modern aircraft are equipped with sophisticated systems that can quickly detect and respond to decompression events. These systems automatically activate oxygen masks, which drop from overhead compartments allowing passengers and crew to breathe without experiencing hypoxia, a condition caused by inadequate oxygen supply. Furthermore, emergency procedures are in place to reduce the altitude of the aircraft, where the air is denser, making it easier to breathe and minimizing the effects of decompression.

It’s important to note that while the decompression caused by a broken window is alarming, it does not result in immediate catastrophic failure of the aircraft. The structure of the plane is capable of withstanding such incidents, and pilots are trained to handle such emergencies.

The Impact on Flight Operations

While the breakage of a single window does not pose an immediate threat to the aircraft’s integrity or ability to fly, it does impact flight operations and may lead to certain precautionary measures. The first step taken by the pilots is to divert the aircraft to the nearest suitable airport where a comprehensive inspection and necessary repairs can be carried out.

During the diversion, the aircraft may experience some limitations in terms of speed and altitude to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. The decision to divert depends on various factors, including the severity of the damage, the availability of maintenance facilities, and the proximity of the airport. Air traffic control and ground crews are alerted in advance to ensure a swift response upon arrival.

Once on the ground, aviation engineers inspect the window, assess the extent of the damage, and determine the appropriate repairs or replacements. The entire process is aimed at restoring the aircraft to a fully operational and safe condition before it can resume its scheduled flights.

A Window Breakage vs. Other Aircraft Emergencies

While a broken window may cause panic among passengers, it is important to understand that it is not as severe as certain other aircraft emergencies. In fact, the occurrence of window breakage incidents is relatively rare thanks to stringent safety regulations and the rigorous testing of aircraft components.

When compared to other emergencies such as engine failure, severe turbulence, or structural damage, a broken window is relatively manageable and does not pose an immediate threat to the aircraft’s ability to remain airborne.

These comparisons highlight the importance of maintaining and adhering to the highest safety standards in the aviation industry. The occurrence of a window breakage incident serves as a reminder for the continuous improvement and stringent maintenance practices implemented by airlines and regulatory bodies.

Tips for Dealing with Window Breakage

While the chances of experiencing a broken window on a plane are slim, it is always beneficial to be prepared for any eventuality. Here are some tips to help you stay calm and respond effectively if such an incident were to occur during your flight:

  1. Stay calm: Panic only worsens the situation. Take slow, deep breaths and try to remain composed.
  2. Follow crew instructions: Flight attendants are trained to handle emergencies. Listen to their instructions and follow them promptly.
  3. Utilize oxygen masks: If necessary, put on your oxygen mask and assist others around you, especially those who may struggle to do so.
  4. Keep your seatbelt fastened: Ensure your seatbelt is securely fastened to protect yourself in case of turbulence or sudden movements.
  5. Trust the crew and pilots: Remember that the crew and pilots are highly trained professionals who are well-equipped to handle emergencies and ensure your safety.
  6. Stay informed: Pay attention to the announcements and any updates provided by the crew. They will keep you informed about the situation and the steps being taken.
  7. Remain patient during diversion: Understand that diverting the aircraft is a necessary precaution for everyone’s safety. Be patient and cooperative throughout the process.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can help maintain a calm and safe environment during a window breakage incident on a plane.


While the idea of a broken window on a plane may be disconcerting, it is essential to understand that modern aircraft are designed to withstand such incidents. The immediate consequence of a broken window is decompression, which triggers oxygen mask deployment and emergency procedures by the flight crew. While it impacts flight operations, a broken window does not pose an immediate threat to the aircraft’s integrity. By staying calm, following crew instructions, and trusting in the expertise of the pilots and crew, passengers can navigate through such incidents safely and efficiently.

Key Takeaways: What happens if a window breaks on a plane?

  • When a window breaks on a plane, it can cause a decrease in cabin pressure.
  • The cabin crew will take immediate action to control the situation and ensure the safety of passengers.
  • The pilot will descend to a lower altitude where the air is thicker and oxygen levels are normal.
  • Panicked reactions from passengers can worsen the situation, so it is important to remain calm and follow crew instructions.
  • Modern aircraft are designed with multiple layers of windows, so complete window failure is extremely rare.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you curious about what happens if a window breaks on a plane? We’ve got you covered! Below are some common questions and their answers related to this topic.

1. Can a window actually break on a plane?

While it’s rare, it is possible for a window to break on a plane. Modern aircraft windows are made of thick layers of high-strength materials to withstand extreme conditions during flight. However, factors such as high altitude, temperature changes, and impact from external objects could potentially lead to window damage.

In the event of a broken window, the aircraft is designed to handle the situation. The cabin is pressurized, not by the windows, but by the aircraft’s systems. Even if a window breaks, the pressurization will be maintained, keeping passengers safe.

2. What happens if a window breaks during a flight?

If a window breaks during a flight, immediate action is taken by the flight crew. The affected area will typically be cordoned off to prevent exposure to any potential hazards, such as high winds or debris. The crew will assess the situation and take steps to minimize any disruption to the flight.

In most cases, a broken window will not compromise the safety or integrity of the aircraft. Modern planes have redundancy systems in place, so even if one window breaks, there are multiple layers of protection to ensure the structural integrity and pressurization of the cabin.

3. Can passengers be sucked out of a broken window?

Movies often depict scenes where passengers are sucked out of a broken airplane window, but this is highly unlikely in reality. The pressure difference between the inside of the cabin and the outside is not strong enough to forcefully eject a person from a broken window.

In the rare event of a broken window, the cabin is designed to maintain pressurization. Additionally, there are safety measures in place, such as emergency oxygen masks, that provide passengers with breathing assistance in the event of a sudden depressurization, ensuring their well-being.

4. Is it possible for a pilot to land a plane with a broken window?

Pilots undergo rigorous training to handle various emergency scenarios, including flying with a broken window. While it may add complexity to the flight, it is possible for a pilot to safely land an aircraft even if a window is broken.

However, if the broken window significantly affects the pilot’s visibility or the aircraft’s performance, the pilot may choose to divert to the nearest suitable airport to ensure the safety of all on board.

5. How often do airplane windows break?

Instances of airplane windows breaking are extremely rare. Aircraft manufacturers follow strict regulations and conduct rigorous testing to ensure the durability and safety of airplane windows. Additionally, regular maintenance and inspections are carried out to identify and address any potential issues before they escalate.

The aviation industry prioritizes passenger safety, and window designs have evolved over the years to maximize strength and resilience. Passengers can rest assured that aircraft windows are safe and reliable for their journey.

What If Someone Broke a Plane Window


So, now you know what happens if a window breaks on a plane. First of all, don’t worry, because it’s actually very rare for this to happen. But if it does, the cabin will stay pressurized, and you will still be able to breathe normally. Phew! The airplane is designed to handle this kind of situation.

But, even though the plane will still fly safely, the broken window will be covered with a shut-off panel and a different window, just for extra protection. And the pilots will make an emergency landing, not because the plane is in danger, but to make sure everyone is safe and to fix the window. Safety always comes first!

Remember, airplanes are built to be super strong and reliable. And the next time you’re on a flight, you can feel even more confident knowing that even if a window breaks, everything will be okay. Safe travels!

This is an updated article. Originally posted on August 14, 2023 @ 12:47 pm