Storm Ciara hit parts of the UK, Ireland, and Northern Europe. British Airways took advantage of the stronger than usual jet stream to set a record. It broke the record for the fastest-ever subsonic flight between New York and London. Helped by the tailwind, its Boeing 747 attained a top speed exceeding 800 mph and reached its destination in slightly less than five hours. The plane landed nearly two hours before its scheduled time. Flightradar24, an online flight-tracking service, confirmed this. Two other flights by Virgin Airlines followed the tactics of BA but could not beat it.

The earlier record for the New York - London flight was of five hours and 13 minutes set by Norwegian Plane in January 2018.

CNN says Storm Ciara, like any other climatic disturbance, brought damaging wind gusts and massive waves to parts of Europe. Airlines tried to outdo each other to get into the record books and British Airways succeeded. A meteorologist explained that "the flight was riding a much stronger than usual jet stream, with winds over 200 mph propelling the aircraft." He described the jet stream as a fast-moving "river of air." It remains at a high altitude, which is comparable to the altitude where commercial airlines operate.

The pilots of British Airways did it

There were severe Travel disruptions due to Storm Ciara in the United Kingdom. It made landfall over the weekend and some major airports like Frankfurt and Amsterdam faced difficulties. The bad weather led to the grounding of a large number of flights, inconveniencing travelers. Normally, the journey between London and New York takes six hours and 13 minutes.

The pilots of British Airways saw an opportunity to shorten the time, used it to perfection, and lay claim to a record. Flightradar24 has made a relevant announcement on twitter about this feat.

CNN adds that the speed of sound is 767 mph and the British Airways Boeing 747 plane was traveling at 800 mph – which is faster than sound.

However, it does not qualify as having crossed the sonic barrier. This is because the air around it was pushing it forward. A spokesperson for BA used the occasion to praise the pilots who “made the most of the conditions to get customers back to London well ahead of time."

Storm Ciara helped British Airways

According to Independent UK, Storm Ciara was a curse for flights traveling in the opposite direction. Their travel time was more than two and a half hours longer because they had to battle against headwinds. Three flights including British Airways plus Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 flight and another Virgin plane tried to set a record for the fastest-ever subsonic New York to London. BA won while Virgin Atlantic took one-minute longer.

The BA flight is believed to have reached its peak ground speed of 825 mph while at the eastern edge of Newfoundland at about 35,000ft. This is as per the tracking tool of Flightradar24. On the flip side, Storm Ciara has thrown travel plans haywire for many travelers. It is the UK's worst storm in seven years. On a rough estimate, at least 25,000 passengers face cancellation to and from Heathrow. British Airways has canceled at least 140 flights to and from Heathrow. Nine of these are long-haul round-trips.

British Airways and travel disruptions

Travel by air is the trend today. Storm Ciara helped British Airways to set a record but the airline has faced embarrassment in the past due to various factors.

Once, British Airways faced a chaotic situation after an IT glitch. It happened at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The second time, pilots of British Airways went on a two-day strike. It affected the travel plans of thousands of people who had to arrange alternate transport at short notice.