British Airways records its fastest ever transatlantic flight as Storm Ciara blows jet from the US to Heathrow at more than 800mph
- British Airways Boeing 747 crossed the pond in just four hours and 56 minutes
- The plane rode Storm Ciara’s 200mph tailwinds as it flew from JFK to Heathrow
- Beat a Virgin Atlantic Airbus by a minute and a Virgin plane by three minutes
British Airways has recorded its fastest ever transatlantic flight after a plane flew from New York to London in just four hours and 56 minutes.
The Boeing 747 hurtled across the Atlantic at more than 800mph on the back of Storm Ciara’s 200mph winds before touching down at Heathrow at 4.48am today.
It is thought to have set a new record for subsonic passenger planes as its time exceeds the current record of a Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which made the crossing in five hours and 13 minutes.
British Airways today recorded its fastest every transatlantic flight has the Boeing 747 hurtled to Heathrow this morning
The Boeing 747 completed the flight in just four hours and 56 minutes, which is thought to be a new record for a passenger plane
It touched down in Heathrow, London, as early as 11.20pm yesterday after travelling at more than 800mph
The plane was a minute faster than a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350, which landed moments later after also taking off in New York, and three minutes ahead of a Virgin Airways plane that arrived at Heathrow at 5.12am.
Its time exceeds the 2018 fastest record set by Norwegian and also a 2015 record when a British Airways Boeing 777-200 completed the journey in five hours and 16 minutes.
Flight Radar tweeted the extraordinary flight, saying: ‘If we’re not mistaken, BA now retakes the fastest subsonic NY-London crossing from Norwegian.’
Passenger David Redhill, a global consultant who was on the flight, told MailOnline that everyone burst into applause when the pilot announced the achievement.
‘I didn’t have enough time to catch some sleep the flight was so fast,’ he said. ‘There was a round of applause from the passengers. I looked around at everyone’s face – everyone was astonished.
The plane completed the 3,459 mile journey in what is believed to be a record time
The plane pictured on Flight Radar as it came in to land at Heathrow, London
‘The woman opposite me was more like “what?!” “How?!” I’m going to keep my boarding pass as a momento.’
‘I think we caught immigration by surprise. We all trooped in pretty cheered up. It was a unique experience. I’ve flown hundreds of times.’
He said that as they left JFK airport, New York, the pilot said he was going to fly in the jet stream to try and get in just ahead of Storm Ciara. He said there was some turbulence on the route, but nothing major.
Speaking to the Independent, a BA spokesman said: ‘We always prioritise 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.’
The journey takes the record-setting plane an average of six hours and 13 minutes to complete.
Aviation consultant and former BA pilot Alastair Rosenschein told the BBC: ‘The pilot will have sat their aircraft in the core of the jet stream and at this time of year it’s quite strong.
‘Turbulence in those jet streams can be quite severe, but you can also find it can be a very smooth journey.’
Passenger John Welch, who appears to have been on the plane, tweeted: ‘British Airways thanks for getting me home two hours early from New York. Fastest flight across the Atlantic since Concorde? Nearly 800mph ground speed.’
The fastest transatlantic crossing was completed by a BA Concorde, which completed the journey in two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds in 1996 after hitting top speeds of 1,350mph.
It comes as Storm Ciara batters the UK leaving flights cancelled, flooding and fallen trees across the country.