Planes making the trip across the Atlantic yesterday were able to shave a serious amount of time off their journey thanks to the windy conditions.
The powerful winds that we experienced a bit of here in Ireland over the past few days were particularly strong over the Atlantic yesterday, and were hitting speeds of around 200mph early yesterday morning. If that sounds strong to you, then you're right, as the winds were so powerful that they managed to speed up the flight of a Boeing 777-200 to near super-sonic levels, the likes of which haven't been seen since the Concorde.
The British Airways flight managed to make the trip from JFK to Heathrow in just five hours 16 minutes instead of the usual six hours plus, and managed to rack up some fairly high top speeds. According to Mashable, at one point "the jet was traveling at a groundspeed, which is the speed at which the plane is traveling relative to ground level, of 745 miles per hour. For comparison, the speed of sound at sea level is 761 miles per hour". The speed of sound is 768 mph, so they weren't that far off.
That's a little bit slower than the Concorde used to travel (up to 1,350 mph) and within the normal limits of design for the planes. In order to avoid the effects of the jet stream, a number of flights are being diverted through Greenland, which is adding a couple of extra hours to the journey, so not everyone has been as fortunate as the passengers on board British Airways flight 114 yesterday morning. In fact, the conditions have been so difficult for air travel that Dublin airport ceased operations for a period yesterday evening, so you might want to keep an eye out for delays if you're catching or expecting someone to visit.