Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Commercial Flight Hits Record 801 MPH With Epic Jet Stream Assist

It is almost always nice when your flight lands a little early, but one recent flight landed quite a bit earlier than usual. A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 reached 801 mph thanks to the help from a jet stream. This flight broke the Boeing 787-9’s previous record of 776 mph.

The Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London reached 801 mph on Monday night while flying over central Pennsylvania. At one point in the air, the plane was traveling faster than the speed of sound. The flight landed 48 minutes earlier than expected and many other flights in the United States were shortened by at least half an hour.

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9

Why was the plane able to topple previous speed records? A jet stream is a quick-moving air current that flows several miles above the earth’s surface. They are caused by atmospheric heating from solar radiation and the the “Coriolis force” or a force that is influenced by the earth’s rotation on its axis.

Most jet streams average speeds of about 110 mph, but this past Monday the jet stream over New York reached 230 mph. Jet streams tend to stay between the boundaries of hot and cold air. The greater the difference in temperatures, the faster the jet stream. At the moment, there are extreme temperature differences on the North American continent. This disparity is responsible for the “fastest 250-millibar wind speed” ever recorded in the state of New York.

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Virgin Atlantic Economy Cabin-- Image from Fly With Virgin Atlantic 

Most commercial flights cruise somewhere between 30,000 feet to 35,000 feet and are close to some of the strongest jet streams on the planet. The length of a flight can be reduced if a plane manages to ride a jet stream even for a short while. The ordinary “cruising” speed of a Boeing 787-9 is 561 mph, and can only be increased with the help of a jet stream or other natural phenomenon. Monday’s record-breaking jet stream speeds were certainly enough to propel the Boeing 787-9 to its own record.

For better or for worse, these record-breaking speeds will soon be coming to end. Perhaps free Wi-Fi will be able to console you on your average-paced flight. Apple Music subscribers are now able to access their music on any domestic American Airlines flight with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi. Apple Music subscribers will simply need to connect to the Viasat Wi-Fi and log-in with their Apple Music subscription to access their music, exclusive artist interview, and city-themed playlists. Anything that makes the stressful and crowded experience of flying better is probably a good thing.