holiday jet passenger has been charged with endangering a flight after allegedly cracking a window with a single punch. The pilot of Thomson Airways flight Tom145 radioed a message to police at Manchester Airport after the window cracked as the jet travelled 35,000ft over Ireland. Officers went to the gate and arrested Nicholas Whittaker, 43, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, before he disembarked.
The drama happened at about 5.30am as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was coming to the end of its flight from Sanford Airport in Florida on May 25. It is understood it was approaching the coast of Ireland when the incident happened. Nobody was injured. The aircraft was packed with families returning to Manchester from holidays in Florida, with many having enjoyed trips to Disney World in Orlando. Whittaker, of Bentinck Street in Ashton, was charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or anyone on board, in accordance with Regulation 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.
He is due to appear before Trafford Magistrates’ Court on August 11. Aviation experts say passengers are only in jeopardy if both the inner and outer pane of an aircraft window are breached. It is understood only the inner pane was cracked. One said: “To break the inner pane is difficult and to break the outer pane is almost impossible. “If it did happen, the cabin will decompress and essentially everything will be sucked out of the aircraft.” A spokeswoman for Thomson Airways declined to comment on the matter in detail because of the criminal charges, but added: “We do have a zero-tolerance approach on all our aircraft. “Passenger safety is our paramount priority.” A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “At about 5.30am on May 25, 2014, police at the airport were informed by a member of the crew that a passenger on an inbound flight from Florida had struck an aircraft window, causing it to crack. “On arrival, a 43-year-old man was arrested on the aircraft.”