A British Airways plane returned to London Gatwick mid-flight yesterday after crewmembers detected a windshield crack en route to Orlando International Airport.
The BA2037 flight left Gatwick for the Sunshine State at 11.08am.
Holidaymakers were scheduled to depart at 10.40am but were faced to wait almost half an hour following an unidentified delay to the long-haul transatlantic flight.
However, crewmembers spotted the technical issue aboard the 24-year-old Boeing 777-200ER mid-way through the journey.
Passengers at Gatwick airport, London
The fault was detected while the jet was flying between Ireland and Iceland.
Despite data showing the flight had established itself as hitting cruising altitude, BA started its return to the United Kingdom at around 12.26pm.
The aircraft landed at Gatwick at 3.36pm and was met by emergency vehicles before being taxied to the gate.
Aviation consultant John Nance said there are two main reasons behind cracked windshields.
British Airways (BA CityFlyer) Embraer EMB-190 jet , taking off from London City Airport in east London
He said: "The two most likely causes of cracked windshields are simply the internal heat systems being misapplied or not heating uniformly or having a bird hit it at a really high rate of speed in the air."
Shattered windscreens impact flights on a fortnightly basis, former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Transportation Oliver McGee has claimed.
The engineering professor previously wrote: "Airlines typically do not like to widely disclose such safety breaches for obvious reasons of natural passenger and crew uneasiness, apprehension, and discomfort."
Richard Taylor of the Civil Aviation Authority stressed airlines have bespoke procedures when dealing with cracked windshields.
Taylor told The Telegraph: "There are no set protocols for dealing with an incident.
British Airways planes at Heathrow Airport
"Every airline develops its own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which its pilots will follow in a given situation.
"These SOPs are unique to an airline’s operation and take into account the type of aircraft and routes flown."
The decision to return yesterday's Orlando-bound flight to the UK's second-largest airport is likely to have derailed holiday plans for British tourists travelling to Florida.
The Sunshine State welcomed 1.11 million visitors from the UK last year, data from Visit Florida has revealed.
The UK is also the second-largest international source market for the state of Florida after Canada.