A flight from Salt Lake City to DC made an unexpected landing this week, with passengers now expressing gratitude that things didn't turn out much worse. While a statement from Delta Air Lines to ABC4 simply notes that the Thursday flight was safely diverted to Denver after a "maintenance issue midflight," passengers relay that it was a cracked windshield that forced the change in plans. They say that around 90 minutes into the trip, when the plane was cruising at more than 30,000 feet, crew members made an announcement about the shattered windshield and informed passengers they were heading to the Colorado capital to land, per the AP.
"They kept coming on saying for everyone to stay calm, to be calm, and we were calm, so being told to stay calm while we were calm made us feel a little panicky," passenger Rachel Wright tells KUTV, via the AP. Once the plane landed, at least one passenger took a picture of the windshield, which didn't just have a few cracks—its entire face was pretty much marred, though the glass stayed intact inside the frame. According to commercial pilots, airplane windshields of this sort are typically made of multipaned glass that's a couple of inches thick.
It's not clear what caused the crack, but passenger Kirk Knowlton tweeted it apparently occurred "spontaneous[ly]." Passengers were able to board a new plane at the Denver airport that was set to arrive in Washington shortly before midnight. "Out of an abundance of caution, the flight crew diverted into Denver and the plane landed routinely," Delta's statement notes. "We sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to [passengers'] travel plans." Knowlton tells FOX 13 the crew handled the situation "very nicely" and that "we are grateful for safe flights." Wright echoes that sentiment: "I've never been more grateful to spend an extra three hours in an airport." (Read more Delta Air Lines stories.)