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Powerful jet stream pushing commercial planes to destinations faster


(NEW YORK) — Some commercial flights have been getting to their destinations faster than normal over the past few days – all thanks to an extra push from the jet stream.

Data from flight tracking site FlightRadar24 shows several flights traveling east to west are flying as much as 200 miles per hour faster than usual.

American Airlines flight 104 from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to London’s Heathrow International Airport (LHR), for example, reached a top speed of 777 MPH, according to the site, cutting its trip duration by nearly an hour on Wednesday.

Emirates flight 522 from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) touched down almost an hour ahead of schedule. That flight also reached a top speed of 777 MPH during the trip, according to flight tracking data.

ABC News Contributor and former commercial pilot John Nance described the jet stream as “a network of very high-altitude rivers of air, flowing at very high rates of speed.”

The jet stream isn’t visible to pilots, Nance said, but meteorologists can estimate where it will be, and the approximate speed at which it moves.

“For instance, if you decided to fly from Seattle to Chicago ,you would take a look at the jet stream. And if you’ve got a high-enough altitude airplane and you see it roaring at about 33,000 to 34,000 feet – then you want to put your aircraft right in the middle of it, take advantage of it,” Nance said.

Nance said passengers may feel “minor turbulence” associated with travel in the jet stream, but that its “nothing like what you find in a thunderstorm.”

ABC News’ Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.

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