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Virgin Flight Reaches 801 MPH as Furious Jet Stream Propels Plane Faster Than Speed of Sound

February 19, 2019 / Sam Blum

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London broke an unlikely milestone (and nearly the sound barrier) when it reached a screaming ground speed of 801 mph while traversing the skies some 35,000 feet above central Pennsylvania. No, this wasn't the rebirth of the Concorde or the dawn of a new era of supersonic jets: The aircraft merely flew into a furious jet stream that propelled its flight way faster than usual on Monday night. Jet streams are essentially rivers or currents of air that travel west to east across the planet. They exist high up in the atmosphere, often where commercial airliners reach their cruising altitudes. The jet stream is currently raging, the Washington Post reports, because of the convergence of abnormally hot air in the southern U.S. with frigid temperatures in the North.