What Planes Reach Destinations Faster

Q: 757s always seem to reach their destination quicker than other planes. Should I look for a specific plane to get me to my destination faster?

No, unless you’re planning to fly to London or Paris in which case you can break the bank for a ride on Concorde. The speed of the airplane itself, while a factor over very long distances along straight courses, is not going to make a difference, generally, with your on-time status. The assigned routings and the air traffic situation are the big factors. Most jets cruise at roughly the same speed, measured at higher altitudes as “mach,” which is a percentage of the speed of sound.


This Q&A is part of a collection that originally appeared on Salon.com. Patrick Smith, 38, is an erstwhile airline pilot, retired punk rocker and air travel columnist. His book, Ask the Pilot (Riverhead) was voted “Best Travel Book of 2004” by Amazon.com. Patrick has traveled to more than 55 countries and always asks for a window seat. He lives near Boston.