A British Airways (BA) 747 departed New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport on Saturday night for the scheduled 6hr 13min flight to London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport. This night would be different for this and all of the other flights traveling eastbound towards the United Kingdom. Storm Ciara, while sporting winds of up to 80mph and torrential rains, provided a unique opportunity for airplanes to significantly reduce the flight time to London.
The BA 747, flight BA112, was able to ride the jet stream created by Storm Ciara to a record transatlantic flight. The 200 mph winds from the jet stream allowed the huge 747 to reach London in a record 4hr 56min. WOW! That is a full hour and seventeen minutes from the scheduled time. The aircraft was able o reach a top speed of 825 mph during the journey.
This flight was able to take the crown from fastest transatlantic commercial flight from Norwegian Airlines. A Norwegian aircraft made the trip in 5hr 13min in January 2018.
To show you how impressive this jet stream was, there were two Virgin Atlantic flights beat the Norwegian record as well. One flight completed the trip in 4hr 57min, while the other completed it in 4hr 59min.
If we're not mistaken, BA now retakes the fastest subsonic NY-London crossing from Norwegian. pic.twitter.com/Sr1GPeAjuh
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 9, 2020
While the commercial airliners enjoyed record speeds. These flights did not come close to the a record established nearly four decades ago. For comparison, and since I am in the military, a SR-71 flight from New York to London in September 1974 was completed in 1hr 54min. This included a refueling mission over the Atlantic. The SR-71 flexed its muscles on the return flight from London to Los Angeles. One it completed in a superb 3hr 47min. This was done despite two inflight refuels.
While I am always happy for reduced traveling time, especially while flying in Economy, four hours is not enough time to do anything on the international flight. Since two meals are the norm on such flights, service must have been continuous for the duration. At least the customers arrived in London full, if not rested.