It is merely an inner window pane, right? A photo taken by a passenger on board a SpiceJet flight showing a cracked cabin window patched up with cello tape has stirred up quite a storm on social media amongst travelers shocked and concerned regarding the safety and maintenance practices of the airline. The Indian low-cost carrier has apologized, saying safety is their top priority and that the incident has been highlighted to concerned authorities. But it is not the first time this type of “situation” has occurred on a SpiceJet flight.
A passenger on board flight SG8152 from Mumbai (BOM) to Delhi (DEL) on November 5, 2019, was shocked when he saw that a crack in the cabin window he sat down next to had apparently been patched up with cello tape. The passenger took a photo of the window from inside of the Boeing 737-800 (VT-SYG) sharing it on Twitter:
Spicejet flight SG8152 (VT-SYG) Mumbai to Delhi flying (5 Nov 2019) with a broken window stuck with cello tape. Isn’t it a major safety concern? Anyone listening?@flyspicejet @DGCAIndia pic.twitter.com/8gflCyEBcT
— Hariharan Sankaran (@mahamosam) November 5, 2019
SpiceJet was quick to respond to the tweet stating that safety is the airline’s top priority: “at SpiceJet, safety is our utmost concern and at no point in time does the airline compromise on the same. We shall surely convey this to the concerned head for necessary action. The inconvenience caused is regretted.”
The following day, SpiceJet also clarified:
We would like to update you that the crack was on the inner flexi pane and was fixed the same day. The purpose of the inner pane is to protect the window from scratches. The inner pane doesn’t carry structural pressurization loads. 1/2
— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) November 6, 2019
The airline assured “that at no point in time was safety compromised”.
However, what disturbed the passenger, as he noted in his own words, was that the relevant employees of the airline must have been aware of the state of the inner window pane before it was brought to the airline’s attention with the particular photo posted on social media. And indeed it was.
On November 6, 2019, as SpiceJet was dealing with the fallout from the photo taken on board flight SG8152, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) informed of an incident that occurred nearly three weeks prior, on October 17, 2019, on board the same aircraft, a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 (VT-SYG) operating flight SG6438 from Trivandrum International Airport (TRV) to Mumbai (BOM).
In a Tweet, the regulator stated: “On 17th October 2019, SpiceJet Boeing B737-800 aircraft VYT-SYG was operated SG-6438, sector TRV-BOM. This was the fifth sector of the day for the aircraft… [The] Flight was uneventful. However, during post flight, cabin crew made a CDL entry, “Observed cracked in viewing pane of window shade and reveal assembly of seat 25F”.
Under the acceptable company deferred defect (ADD) policy, as explained by the DGCA, SpiceJet had 90 days to replace the window, that is, until January 15, 2020. It seems the disgruntled passenger’s picture sped up the process, as the affected cabin window was replaced on the very same day of the flight, November 5, 2019, the regulator confirmed.
The incident sparked a wave of responses on social media from passengers who had travelled with SpiceJet posting pictures showing other cases when cello tape had allegedly been applied to fix cracked cabin window panes as well as detached cabin window frames, shades, and even cabin seats, including tv screens installed in the seats and broken arm rests.