Why it’s faster flying East across the USA than West

Ever notice how it’s a shorter trip going from SFO to JFK (making those redeyes just too short to get enough sleep even if you’re lucky enough to sleep the entire flight)?

It’s the jet stream! These are narrow, fast-flowing air currents that pilots ride like nature’s autobahn.

It is not, in fact, Red Bull, which you may have read on our twitter account. That said, we’re quite pleased Jaunted called our joke the Tweet of the Week.


Their first commercial use was a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Honolulu in 1952 – it cut the trip time by over one-third. Not only is it faster, but it also saves fuel, which is a big deal for cost-conscious airlines.

Next time you’re making smalltalk at 30,000ft and the person beside you remarks on how short/long this cross country trip is, grab a pen and show them the beauty of the jet stream.

Here’s a helpful illustration from Wikipedia:


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