Every time I’m on a plane, usually in the moments right after the seat belt sign goes off, I think to myself “Jesus Christ this is going to take FOREVER! Can’t we speed this up?!?” Even if it’s an hour flight. Time just drags stuck in a bucket of metal thousands of feet about the ground.
Passengers aboard a Boeing 777 from London to New York got their wishes for a quick flight granted — their British Airways flight broke a commercial plane record as it approached the speed of sound after catching a ride on a powerful jet stream. All that wind cut the normal travel time of around seven hours to just over 5 hours.
To break the sound barrier, a plane must hit a speed of 761mph. The British Airways Boeing 777-200 reached a ground speed of 745mph after getting caught up in winds of more than 200mph. Not even enough time to finish a third drink!
Alastair Rosenschein, a former British Airways pilot, compared getting caught in a jet stream to surfing.
“You try to sit in the core of the jet where it’s not too turbulent and where you can pick up some free mileage. It’s not unusual to get 100mph tailwinds but they have got more than that,” he said. “This must be a record.”
It’s just like surfing, except, when you shit your pants in fear in the ocean it washes out.