British Airways 747 set new record with London to New York flight in 5 hours in 2020

  • A British Airways Boeing 747 set a new record in 2020
  • The flight went from New York to London in under five hours
  • It was helped out by a powerful jet stream

Published on Jun 07, 2024 at 12:44 PM (UTC+4)
by Claire Reid

Last updated on Jun 07, 2024 at 7:24 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

A British Airways flight from New York to London set a new record for the fastest flight back in 2020. 

The Boeing 747 took off from New York’s JFK airport on February 9 2020 and landed at London Heathrow the following day – a very common route. 

However, this particular flight was a record-breaker; setting a brand-new subsonic flight time. 

READ MORE! Top 5 fastest single-engine private aircraft in the world

How long did the British Airways flight take?

The British Airways flight took just four hours and 56 minutes to complete the 3,440-mile journey, which is around an hour and 20 minutes shorter than the average flight time. 

Meanwhile, a supersonic plane being trialed by NASA would take just under four hours to travel between the two cities. 

The Boeing 747 reached a top speed of 825 miles per hour during the flight. 

It was helped by a stronger-than-usual jet stream caused by a ‘bomb cyclone’ near Greenland that generated powerful winds. 

Flightradar24’s Ian Petchenik told NPR that the jet stream could have added as much as 150 miles per hour to the plane’s speed. 

He told the publication: “We knew that the jet stream was going to be very well placed this week to possibly break that record.”

What was it like being onboard?

A passenger aboard the flight called Kubilay Kahveci told NPR: “I was definitely surprised.

“It felt like a European flight rather than a transatlantic one. 

“Turbulence woke me up a couple of times…

“But it wasn’t too bad after all and I’m glad they brought us home safely because I initially booked a Virgin Atlantic flight that was canceled due to Storm Ciara.”

According to Flightrader24, the flight was just one minute faster than a Virgin Atlantic flight that set off around the same time. 

The Virgin Airbus A350-1041 managed to do the journey in four hours and 57 minutes,

In a statement at the time of the record-breaking flight, British Airways 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.”

The fastest transatlantic passenger flight was set by Concorde in 1996 – flying from New York to London in two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds. It had an average speed of 1,250 mph.


Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist who hails from the UK but is now living in New Zealand. She began her career after graduating with a degree in Journalism from Liverpool John Moore’s University and has more than a decade of experience, writing for both local newspapers and national news sites. Across her career she's covered a wide variety of topics, including celebrity, cryptocurrency, politics, true crime and just about everything in between.