Anyone who has flown on a plane recently knows that the experience is more one to be endured rather than to look forward to. Delays, ever-shrinking seats, batshit crazy fellow passengers, and a general disregard for customer service have become the norm, one that even premium membership status does little to assuage.
But one startup hopes to bring a sense of excitement back to air travel and save passengers a ton of time by creating a new fleet of supersonic jets. Boom is developing a prototype of a new plane that would fly at more than two times the speed of sound. That means the plane would travel at 1,451 miles per hour and be able to make the trip from New York to London in 3.4 hours, cutting the current travel time of 7 hours in half. Boom claims its planes would also be able to go from San Francisco to Tokyo in 4.7 hours (compared with the current time of 11 hours) and from Los Angeles to Sydney in 6 hours compared to 15.
This isn’t the first time that supersonic jets have been used for commercial aircrafts. British Airways and Air France operated the Concorde from 1976 until 2003. The airlines retired the Concorde because of low demand and a decrease in air travel following 9/11. By lowering airfare costs, Boom hopes to make supersonic travel a more viable option. It posits that a round-trip from New York to London would cost $5,000 and the SF-to-Tokyo route would be $6,500.
It is still early days yet. Right now, a lot of this purely hypothetical. But Boom has established a team with a lot of experience in airplane design and engineering and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has secured an option to purchase 10 planes should Boom’s plans come to fruition.