A Southwest passenger says the plastic barrier on her plane window was shattered during a flight to Las Vegas. An aircraft expert says it did not pose a safety risk.

Southwest Airlines.

Joaquim Martins, a professor at the University of Michigan and expert in aircraft design, told Insider that the broken plastic barrier did not pose a safety risk.Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

  • A viral TikTok showed what appeared to be a shattered window on a flight in the Southwest.

  • The broken piece was actually the plastic barrier, which one aircraft expert says is “non-structural.”

  • The passenger said she had been given a $300 flight voucher from the airline.

A passenger on a Southwest flight posted a TikTok that quickly went viral from what appeared to be a shattered window, but she later explained that it was only the plastic layer that broke.

The passenger was en route from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas when she said she rested her arm on the window next to her seat, which immediately broke the plastic layer.

“As soon as my elbow applied any kind of light pressure, as soon as it did, the whole window just broke, shattered, the whole thing,” she said in a statement. TikTok explains the situation.

Later in the video, she said a flight attendant was in contact with the pilot and assured her that there were no problems with cabin pressure and that they could safely complete their flight to Las Vegas.

Southwest did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Joaquim Martins, a professor at the University of Michigan and expert in aircraft design, told Insider that while he’s never seen a plastic barrier break on an airplane, it didn’t pose a safety risk.

Martins said the plastic part of the window is not affected by the pressure in the cabin. Instead, the outer glass window absorbs all the force.

Breaking non-structural items on airplanes is “completely normal,” Martins said, and the video’s virality likely came from the shock of what appeared to be a broken window.

Martins clarified that if it had been the actual glass panel, “things would have been sucked out and she would have had to put on an oxygen mask.”

In 2018, a Southwest passenger was killed after being partially sucked out of a window that broke after the plane’s left engine exploded in mid-air.

In the TikTok explaining the incident, the passenger said Southwest grounded the plane for repairs — Martin said that’s standard practice if something breaks on the plane.

“There are several items that are perfectly safe to fly, but they need to be repaired before they fly,” Martin said.

The passenger said she received a $300 flight voucher from Southwest after the incident.

Read the original article Insider

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