Last week, Air India reportedly set a record with its flight from Delhi to San Francisco. Instead of traveling West over the Atlantic, it flew East over the Pacific on an over 15,000-kilometre, 14-and-a-half-hourjourney. In March, the record for the world’s longest non-stop flight was held by Emirates with its Dubai-Auckland route that covered 14,200 km in around 16-and-a-half hours.
On 15 October, Air India adjusted the routing of its Delhi—San Francisco flight to increase the distance of the flight by over 1000 kilometers. In doing so, however, the airline saved 2 hours and 15 minutes of flying time. How did they manage that? In a word: Wind.
What exactly is jet stream?
Jet streams are relatively narrow bands of strong wind in the upper levels of the atmosphere. The winds blows from west to east in jet streams but the flow often shifts to the north and south. Jet streams follow the boundaries between hot and cold air.
As per the Quartz report, Air India currently runs flights on the Delhi-San Francisco route three times a week but its growing popularity has prompted the airline to double this from November, flying east each time for the next six months. The success of the route is great news for the beleaguered airline which has struggled with losses and bad press for nearly a decade.
Air India’s record comes as airlines around the world try to one-up each other to cover longer distances. Qatar Airways had plans to top Emirates’ earlier record with its own ultra long-haul flights from Doha to Auckland and to Santiago. And Singapore Airlines has said it plans to re-launch its Singapore-New York route in 2018, which would cover around 15,300 km.
But it looks like Air India got there first.