FAA investigating cracked windshield on Southwest flight diverted to HNL

A San Diego-bound Southwest Airlines flight returned to Honolulu on Sunday night about two hours into flight after the front windshield was cracked.
Published: May. 14, 2023 at 8:49 PM HST|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 12:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A San Diego-bound Southwest Airlines flight returned to Honolulu on Sunday night about two hours into flight after the front windshield was cracked.

Initial reports said there was “a shattered window” located near where the first officer sits on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

But according to preliminary information from the FAA, the flight crew reported “a cracked windshield” around 6:25 p.m. In response to the incident, Southwest Airlines issued a statement emphasizing that an individual window pane in the flight deck did not “shatter” and “remained intact due to the multiple layers of pane design redundancy.”

A passenger was able to take a photo of the cracked windshield while deplaning.

There were no injuries connected to the incident.

However, someone on board was transported to an area hospital following an unrelated medical emergency.

Southwest Flight 2367 had taken off from Honolulu’s airport about 4:20 p.m. Officials confirmed the plane landed safely in Honolulu about 7:30 p.m.

Emergency responders met the airplane on the tarmac.

“It was quite an excursion,” said passenger Grace Lantz. “We were told that there was a crack in the windshield and that if we felt a U-turn, that that’s what’s happening.”

Lantz described the accommodations given afterward as a “nightmare.”

“We were actually waiting for our hotel for a good hour in a line that look a lot like this,” Lantz explained as she pointed toward the check-in area for Southwest Airlines Monday morning. “They tried as hard, you know, as hard as they can. And we all know Southwest.”

Passenger Eric Seeman said him and his family were supposed to receive transportation vouchers but didn’t.

“I’ve got a dog that was boarded, so I’ve got an extra couple of days of boarding fees for him,” Seeman explained. “I’m actually going to Chicago — missed a day at work. My wife’s a nurse — she’s missing a day at work. Kids are going to be, late for school, another day.”

According to Southwest, customers were offered accommodations and were able to retrieve their checked baggage once it was removed from the aircraft.

Customers were also set also receive an electronic LUV voucher toward future travel on Southwest for their inconvenience, though they said they didn’t know exactly when that would arrive.

It’s not yet clear what caused the windshield to crack at this time but HNN aviation expert Peter Foreman says the aircraft was still considered safe.

“The glass in the windshields of airliners is really strong, and it’s multiple panes,” Foreman explained. “Now usually what causes a break is a heating element inside the between the two pieces of glass, you can get a bubble, you can get a crack, that type of thing.”

“But the airplane is still safe as long as it has either one of the panes of glass still intact,” Foreman said.

Southwest said the aircraft had been taken out of service for maintenance view and a different aircraft was scheduled Monday morning to complete the San Diego-bound flight.

At last check, officials said the plane has been repaired and is already back in service. It flew to Hilo Monday morning.

The FAA is investigating.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.