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How the super-fast jet stream affects the airline industry – Kvarts



Flying eastward in the US has rarely been so fast.

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

Leading Package was United Airlines flight 415. On February 17, it departed from LAX at 11:28 PT and landed in Newark, New Jersey 226 minutes later at 6:14 ET. Upon landing, the pilot told passengers it was the fastest he had ever traveled on the route in his decades of flying. It was the sixth fastest commercial flight ticket from LAX to Newark on record, according to a quarterly flight data analysis.

Airline Flight number Minutes
Oct. 27, 1996 Continental 18 201
5. April 1997 Continental 18 208
Oct. 24, 1998 United 80 220
oct. 29, 1995 Continental 186 225
1. April 2000 Continental 144 225
Feb. 17, 2019 United 415 226

The faster speed is quite a result of the jet stream. The high altitude, west-east air flow, now record highs across the US gives the west-east US a rise in time.

The speed can provide savings for the airlines. Shorter flight times mean you burn less fuel and pay workers for less time of day. It can also increase costs, though. A tail in one direction is a hoof wind in the other. Taking longer flights to avoid the winds adds to the cost. When the plans arrive early, there may be problems finding an open gate to park the aircraft and leave passengers off, causing frustration. (USA, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and United all operate flights from LAX to New York City area.)

When pilot and future astronaut John Glenn set the transcontinental airspeed record in 1957, he took a trip from outside LA to New York City in 203 minutes flying a supersonic US Navy Jet. In 1990, Ed Yeilding launched an SR-71 Blackbird from Los Angeles to Washington, for 64 minutes, after taking a flying start on a slightly shorter trip.

Since 1995, there have been 323,042 commercial aircraft that have flown from LAX to Newark or JFK. Only 189 did it in under 240 minutes, according to government data. (We excluded flights where reported numbers are likely to be erroneous – as a TWA aircraft in 1995 listed in 42 minutes.)

The US Bureau of Transportation Statistics stores flight time data back to 1995 and today's release is through November 2018. Since then, Have nine flights completed a LAX NYC route in under 240 minutes under FlightAware. One of these planes was in January, and eight were last week. The duration here only measures time on the run. Boarding, taxi and unloading are not included.


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