British Airways has reclaimed the crown for fastest transatlantic subsonic flight, with a record-breaking journey from New York to London.
In 2015, British Airways set a transatlantic speed record for subsonic travel by crossing the Pond (JFK-LHR) in 5 hours, 16 minutes.
On January 17, 2018, A Norwegian 787-9 shattered the record on a daytime flight from New York to London Gatwick by completing the journey in 5 hours, 13 minutes. Then on February 8, 2018 Norwegian broke its own record, competing the journey in 5 hours, 9 minutes.
That record has stood…until yesterday.
As Storm Ciara approached the United Kingdom, pilots onboard BA112 put the pedal to the medal. Strong tailwinds helped British Airways break Norwegian’s record and recapture the crown for fastest (non-Concorde) flight time between New York and London.
British Airways completed the journey in just 4 hours, 56 minutes. BA112 landed in London Heathrow at 4:43AM, nearly two hours ahead of schedule.
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
Interestingly, British Airways finished only one minute ahead of Virgin Atlantic, which also broke the previous record. VS4 from JFK-LHR, operated by an Airbus A350-1000, completed the journey in 4 hours, 57 minutes. For good measure, VS46, traveling on the same route, finished in 4 hours, 59 minutes.
A British Airways spokesperson said:
“We always prioritize safety over speed records, but our highly trained pilots made the most of the conditions to get customers back to London well ahead of time.”
I’m sure economy passengers appreciated the short and relatively painless journey. But how about premium cabin passengers? If I paid top dollar for a lie-flat seat, I’d feel ripped off. Who wants to land at 4:13AM after only a couple hours of sleep? I say that half-jokingly, but you might want to re-consider upgrades from New York to London during the winter months, as flight times are much shorter than average.