A Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner departing from New York JFK reached London Gatwick in 5 hours 13 minutes on Monday — the fastest subsonic transatlantic flight recorded on a commercial aircraft. It beat the previous record of 5 hours 16 minutes.
There were 284 passengers on board, who, after leaving New York at 11.44 a.m. ET, were probably pretty happy to arrive in London at 9.57 p.m. GMT — 53 minutes ahead of schedule. Strong tailwinds over the Atlantic Ocean pushed the aircraft to a top speed of 776 mph during the flight.
Though impressive, the flight time was nowhere near rivaling transatlantic crossings made by Concorde when the supersonic aircraft was in service. The fastest Concorde flight from New York to London happened on February 7, 1996, when it crossed the pond in just shy of 2 hours 53 minutes, according to British Airways.
The Norwegian captain, Harold van Dam (pictured below), said: “We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster.”
The airline uses that same aircraft on its two daily flights between London and New York. The day before, Gatwick-based captain Pascal Niewold recorded his fastest-ever transatlantic flight: New York to London in 5 hours 20 minutes.
Niewold said: “The passengers and crew were very pleasantly surprised that we were already landing in London. It was a very smooth flight with almost no turbulence and as a result of the jet stream we arrived 25 minutes early.”