I ran across this very interesting article by Jason Paur of Wired, on the history and current state of supersonic air travel. It gives a good history lesson on high speed air travel. Typical commercial jet planes travel at a speed of 550 miles per hour (mph). This despite jet travel being capable of supersonic (faster than sound – 768 mph) since 1941! Other than the the Concorde, no commercial jet airplane has been brought into service that provides supersonic transport. With the decommissioning of the Concorde there is no commercial mode of air transport available that can go faster than 550 mph.
The reason, according to Jason, is that we are too cheap. We refuse to pay for faster air travel and in fact want to pay even less than we do. Faster air travel will cost more due to the extensively higher amount of fuel that would be needed to fly the same distances faster. Today’s jet engines are fine tunes for fuel efficiency at their cruising speed. The Boeing 787, which is the most efficient aircraft in commercial service focussed on making the aircraft lighter, so it used less fuel, and more comfortable for travel, but not faster.
Is that true? Would you be willing to pay more to travel faster? As someone who travels internationally (and beginning to get even more), I would answer Yes! Leave your answer as a comment below.
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