How the high-speed jet stream affects the airline industry – Quartz



Flying east through the United States has rarely been so fast.

Non-stop flights between Los Angeles and the New York area regularly take less than four hours (240 minutes) in recent days. These commercial flights are among the fastest ever to have crossed two of the most popular routes in the United States, from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and from LAX to Newark Liberty International Airport.

United Airlines Flight 415 was at the front of the pack. On February 17, he took off from LAX at 11:28 pm to land in Newark, New Jersey 226 minutes later at 6:14 am (ET). Upon landing, the pilot told the passengers that it was the fastest on his journey in decades. According to Quartz flight data analysis, it was the sixth fastest LAX to Newark commercial flight ever recorded.

Date Airline company flight number Minutes
October 27, 1996 Continental 18 201
April 5, 1997 Continental 18 208
October 24, 1998 United 80 220
October 29, 1995 Continental 186 225
April 1, 2000 Continental 144 225
February 17, 2019 United 415 226

The faster speeds are entirely the result of the jet stream. The high altitude western air current is currently at a record speed compared to the United States, giving a boost to travel in the West and East of the United States. .

Speed ​​could generate savings for airlines. Shorter flight times mean less fuel consumption and lower worker pay. It can also increase costs, however. A tailwind in one direction is a headwind in the other. Taking longer flight paths to avoid winds increases costs. When planes arrive early, it can be difficult to find an open door to park the plane and allow passengers to leave, which creates frustration. (The American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and United companies all offer flights between LAX and the New York area.)

When the pilot and future astronaut John Glenn set the transcontinental flight speed record in 1957, he made a trip from outside Los Angeles to New York in 203 minutes aboard a supersonic plane from the US Navy. In 1990, Ed Yeilding flew a Blackbird SR-71 from Los Angeles to Washington, in 64 minutes, after taking a dazzling departure for a slightly shorter trip.

Since 1995, 323,042 commercial flights have been flown from LAX to Newark or JFK. Only 189 did it in less than 240 minutes, according to government data. (We excluded flights for which reported figures are likely to be wrong, such as an estimated 1995 TWA flight of 42 minutes.)

The US Bureau of Transportation Statistics stores flight duration data dating back to 1995 and the current version dates from November 2018. Since then, nine flights have made a LAX-NYC connection in less than 240 minutes, according to the flight tracking company. FlightAware. One of these flights took place in January and eight in the last week. The durations here only measure the time in flight. The boarding, taxi and unloading are not included.


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