A chunk of ice from a same-direction aircraft 1,000 feet higher is blamed for cracking the windshield of a British Airways Boeing 777ER. Operating as flight BA-2237, the 22-year-old airliner was less than halfway through 11-hour, Dec. 23 flight from London Gatwick Airport to Costa Rica when the chunk of ice hit the captain-side windshield, a “one in a million” chance—according to a British Airways publicist. Fortunately, the impact did not compromise the inner, pressure-bearing pane of the windshield, keeping the aircraft’s pressure vessel uncompromised.
In fact, the crew determined it was safe to continue to the destination. But BA was unable to complete repairs or scramble a replacement aircraft for the passengers scheduled on the return flight headed to the U.K. and expecting to be home for Christmas Day. “We would like to send a heartfelt apology to the customers on this flight who have had their Christmas plans ruined,” BA wrote in a statement. “We will never fly an aircraft unless we feel it is completely safe to do so, and on this occasion, our engineers were unable to clear it to fly.”
Those passengers were eventually repatriated to the U.K. on Christmas day on a replacement aircraft, while G-YMMB, with its shiny new windshield, had to wait another day to make the non-revenue positioning flight back to Gatwick.