United Customers Could Soon Fly to London in Under 4 Hours Thanks to Futuristic New Planes

United wants to cut flight times in half.

United Airlines customers could soon fly from New York to London in just three and a half hours thanks to the airline's investment in supersonic planes.

The carrier this week agreed to purchase 15 Boom Supersonic 'Overture' planes capable of flying twice as fast as today's fastest airliners — as long as they meet the carrier's safety and sustainability standards — the company shared with Travel + Leisure. As part of the agreement, United has the option to buy 35 additional planes.

The super fast, futuristic planes would be capable of flying from Newark to Frankfurt, for example, in four hours (a trip that normally takes over 7 hours) and San Francisco to Tokyo in only six hours (the route currently clocks in at over 10 hours), according to United.

"United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today's advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom's vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry's most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience," United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. "Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we'll be able to do that on an even greater scale."

United Boom Supersonic plane
Courtesy of United Airlines

The planes are not only fast, they're efficient. The supersonic aircraft is expected to be net-zero carbon and fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel, according to United.

And comfort won't be forgotten with in-seat entertainment screens and contactless technology built in, the airline noted.

"United and Boom share a common purpose — to unite the world safely and sustainably," Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO, said in a statement. "At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations."

The supersonic aircraft is expected to take its first flights in 2026 and carry passengers in 2029.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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