This weekend an unusually powerful jet stream supercharged Storm Ciara, which brought massive waves and mighty winds to the UK and Northern Europe. But while many flights were canceled in the UK and Ireland because of the storm, the jet stream conditions actually accelerated flights departing from across the pond. So much so that a Boeing 747 aircraft operated by British Airways that left New York for London reached a top speed of 825 mph (1,327 km/h), making it the new record for the fastest-ever subsonic flight for this route.
The fastest-ever transatlantic flight
The plane landed at Heathrow airport in London at 4:43 a.m., almost two hours earlier than scheduled. The total flight duration was only four hours and 56 minutes.
The British Airways plane wasn’t the only one that was hastened by the jetstream, whose wind topped 200 mph (321 km/h). The record-breaking flight was only one minute faster than a Virgin Airbus 350 flight, which touched down at the London international airport just moments later. Another Virgin plane that landed half an hour later was only three minutes shy of the record.
A typical transatlantic flight on this route takes around six hours and 13 minutes. All three of these flights beat the previous subsonic transatlantic flight record holder, which was held by Norwegian.
The absolute record for the fastest transatlantic flight belongs to a Concorde supersonic aircraft, which completed the journey between NYC and London in just two hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds. The 1994 Concorde flight reached a top speed of 1,350 mph (2,170 km/h)
Although the speed of sound is set at around 767 mph, the British Airways flight isn’t considered super-sonic because the plane was being pushed by the air around it, preventing it from breaching the sonic barrier.
While the storm may have been fortuitous for some travelers from overseas, the UK’s Met Office warned that gusts up to 70 mph (112 km/h) would strike again on Monday. Network Rail said it expected further disruption to trains as its engineers scramble to restore services. Events canceled due to the weather conditions included a 6-mile (10km) run in London that was expected to draw 25,000 runners, a Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham, as well as six scheduled matches in the FA Women’s Super League.