A strong river of air moving along the Northern Hemisphere helped propel a New York to London flight to a record speed, making the flight in only 4 hours, and 56 minutes, beating the previous subsonic record set in 2018 by Norwegian Airlines which flew from New York to London in 5 hours and 13 minutes.
An active jet stream and severe storms around the United Kingdom have led to turbulence in the air and cancelled flights on the ground. But the same conditions that lead to travel issues there also helped set the stage for this record speed.
Although the British Airways plane was clocked apparently going faster than the speed of sound at about 767 mph, it wouldn’t have breached the sonic barrier because it was being pushed by the air around it. Even when traveling at more than 800 mph, the 747 was traveling much slower than the speed of sound relative to the air around it.
British Airways also holds the record for the fastest ever transatlantic flight time by a passenger plane too, although that was on the supersonic Concorde. That record-breaking New York to London flight happened on February 7, 1996; it only took 2 hours 53 minutes to complete the flight.