Passengers aboard an Airbus A321LR departing from a London airport in October experienced an unexpected and chilly journey when it was discovered, post-takeoff, that two windows were missing from the aircraft. Titan Airways Flight AWC305Y, en route to Orlando International Airport in Florida, took off from London’s Stansted Airport. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of Britain reported that the charter flight, carrying 11 crew members and nine passengers, including airline employees, encountered excessive noise from the left side of the cabin’s rear shortly after departure.
Several passengers noted that the cabin felt noisier and colder than usual. Upon closer inspection by a crew member, it was discovered that the seal around one of the window panes had become dislodged, generating a loud noise described as potentially damaging to hearing. The incident occurred during the take-off climb at an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,200m). The pilots leveled out the plane, reduced airspeed, and one of the pilots inspected the windows.
Following the assessment, the decision was made to execute a U-turn, and the aircraft returned to land at Stansted after being in the air for 36 minutes. Subsequent examination revealed that two window assemblies were missing from the exterior of the aircraft, and the inner pane and seal of a third window were dislodged. An aircraft window assembly comprises the inner and outer panes and the window seal.
Despite the missing windows, the report highlighted that there were no abnormal indications on the flight deck, and the aircraft’s pressurization system operated normally, maintaining cabin pressure throughout the flight.