A Delta Air Lines 747 with nearly 380 passengers and crew made an emergency stop at the Midway Atoll wildlife refuge part of the way between Hawaii and Japan after the plane developed a crack in the cockpit windshield.
The airplane was flying from Honolulu to Osaka when pilots noticed the crack and landed at the former military base about 1,300 miles northwest of Oahu at about 5.40pm on Thursday.
Midway is home to about one million Laysan albatross seabirds.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs the refuge, said that Delta kept the passengers on board until a second 747 arrived from Japan to fly the passengers to Osaka.
The replacement plane left about 5am yesterday, just before light and before the seabirds began to fly.