A heavy tailwind helped a British Airways 747 set a new record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean this weekend. Saturday's flight from New York City (JFK) to London-Heathrow (LHR) took just 4 hours 56 minutes, beating the previous record set by Norwegian Air in 2018 by more than 10 minutes.
That's the fastest subsonic flight across the Atlantic Ocean between the two cities. Supersonic flights on the Concorde – which stopped flying in 2003 – were significantly faster, once making the same flight in under three hours.
Fastest across the Atlantic tonight from New York to London so far is #BA112 at 4hr56m. #VS4 in 4:57, and #VS46 in 4:59. https://t.co/gfYoHGV3Y6https://t.co/kMhjCqdEtt
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
Flight BA112 was scheduled to last 6 hours 30 minutes, landing in London at 6:25 a.m. Instead, it landed at 4:43 a.m. on Sunday – almost two hours ahead of schedule!
Jetstreams and strong winds can easily help airlines make up lost time or even get in early – or delay them, if there are headwinds. But the winds this weekend were unusually strong, as Storm Ciara bears down on the United Kingdom. The jetstream clocked in as high as 260 miles per hour!
British Airways wasn't the only airline that benefited from the strong winds. Virgin Atlantic Flight VS4 made the same flight on its new Airbus A350-1000 in 4 hours 57 minutes – just one minute longer.
It's amazing what a little help from the wind can do – or in this case, a lot. We're guessing this latest record from British Airways will stand for a while.