I was on a domestic flight from DCA to ORD in December on an Airbus A319. I was in row 31 and two rows ahead of me on the left side of the plane, I noticed while deplaning at ORD the passenger window insert was partially popped out. It was pushed out by about 2-4 inches at the top angled inward and near flush at the bottom. I didn’t hear a noise in flight and as the passenger in that row was leaving I asked if he noticed it mid-flight and he said no. The outer window on the skin of the plane looked undisturbed with no cracks fortunately. I informed the flight attendant upon leaving to make sure maintenance looked at it right away.

Today’s story of the Alaska Airlines 737-9 Max losing its side panel and window between PDX and ONT reminded me of it.

Different airframe, but what could have happened if my flight’s window had failed? Would the localized damage resulted in losing the entire panel as was shown in press reports for the 737-9 Max? For my flight, would it have been an easy fix of popping it back in or do you think they grounded that plane and taken it to the hanger for a more serious repair and inspection?

Subsequently, based on a helpful comment and some more sleuthing. I can confirm that the window was clamped in vice bolted and the appearance was similar to this video on an A320neo interior.

You can see the frame around the window was the piece protruding out.

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    $\begingroup$ It’s worth noting that in the Alaska Airlines 1282 incident, it isn’t a part of the fuselage which got ripped away, and it’s unlikely it had anything to do with a window: it was an extra emergency exit, supposedly factory plugged, which failed. You can very clearly see the shape of the door from the inside, and even more from the outside. $\endgroup$
    – jcaron
    Jan 7 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ blancolirio covered the Alaska Airlines 1282 one. $\endgroup$ Jan 8 at 0:13
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    $\begingroup$ The link at the bottom of your post is just a link to your google search results, it does not provide any specific video. Do you have an accurate link to the video you intended? $\endgroup$
    – Darren H
    Jan 8 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ Here’s a link to a video with the same windows. youtu.be/cAgAXRgwKfQ?si=BeY8o3VYuf2nSXG0 $\endgroup$
    – MJBS02384
    Jan 13 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


Copied from https://thepointsguy.com/news/what-are-airplane-windows-made-of/:

A cabin window consists of three panes: 1) an outer pane flush with the outside fuselage, 2) an inner pane — which has a little hole in it you may have spotted, and 3) a thinner, non-structural plastic pane called a scratch pane. Passengers can't touch the inner pane (the one with the hole in it) or the outer pane, for safety reasons. Instead, passengers can rest their weary heads against the scratch pane, press their iPhone against it, or simply muck it up with greasy fingers. The scratch pane isn't actually part of the window assembly itself, but installed separately.

So it looks like it was the innermost scratch pane that was loose. So as long as the other panes remain intact, there was not danger, although I wouldn't recommend removing the scratch pane. Since it is installed separately, it was probably closer to "popping it back in" than a major repair.

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    $\begingroup$ The repair probably involves popping out the inner trim ring, possibly by undoing a few screws, putting the scratch pane back in, the replacing the trim ring. The trim ring might just be a press-fit affair... $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Jan 8 at 15:38

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