The two fastest speeds achieved by commercial planes were both done by Boeings

  • Boeing 747s are used all over the world for commercial flights
  • One used on a trip from London to New York set the record for the fastest commercial plane
  • But four years later, that record was beaten

Published on Jun 27, 2024 at 3:50 PM (UTC+4)
by Ben Thompson

Last updated on Jun 28, 2024 at 1:29 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

Boeing aircraft may be among the most recognizable commercial planes out there, but they’re also the fastest.

It was one of British Airways’ Boeing 747s that broke the record for fastest flight from London Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport.

This cross-Atlantic flight was completed at a maximum speed of 825mph.

That’s seriously fast, and – even though it required some assistance from the weather – seriously impressive.

READ MORE: Boeing 747 taking off with incredible power from Sint Maarten with spectators close by

How Boeing broke the record

It was back in February 2020 that British Airways broke the record.

The journey would usually take seven hours, but on this occasion, it was finished two hours earlier.

All in all, passengers arrived in New York from London in four hours and 56 minutes.

Science magazine Popular Mechanics reports that this was because of a ‘bomb cyclone’ near Greenland.

This caused hurricane-like winds to pick up, with them reaching 200 mph even from afar.

Those winds sped the plane along at extra speed, helping them cruise through the distance in record time.

Of course, Concorde could travel much faster than these planes, but there are a bunch of reasons that Concorde no longer flies any route at all, let alone these routes.

How Boeing beat their own record

You’d think smashing the record once would be enough.

But Boeing had to better themselves four years later.

In January 2024, China Airlines Flight 5116 flew at a speed of 826 mph as it crossed the Pacific Ocean from Taipei, Taiwan to Los Angeles.

Flight 5116, a Boeing 777, owed its swift speed to the Pacific jet stream, which was boosted by warmer-than-usual sea surface temperatures.

Again, the weather plays a massive part in how long flights take.

The journey, which is 7,205 miles long, was completed in 10 hours and 18 minutes.

This equals an average speed of 700mph.

For reference, the speed of sound is just over 767mph.

A westbound flight from Los Angeles to Taipei, fighting against the jet stream, would take around 14 hours and 40 minutes to complete.

After seeing how fast they’re capable of going, it’s sad to think that Boeing planes can end up being left to rot.

One photographer visited an airplane boneyard where the jets had been left rusting for decades.


Ben Thompson

Ben got his start in journalism at Kennedy News and Media, writing stories for national newspapers, websites and magazines. Now working as a freelancer, he divides his time between teaching at News Associates and writing for news sites on all subjects.