Why Hasn’t Commercial Air Gotten Faster?

The Concord stopped flying eight years ago, and in that time commercial air travel has remained fairly … slow. Now, obviously, it’s very fast relative to Lewis and Clark. Getting from one side of the globe to the other in 24 hours or one side of America to the other in five is and always will be remarkable.

But the Concord was fast. You could get from New York to Paris in two hours. So why hasn’t that technology migrated to regular commercial flights in the decade since it was retired from use?

Two different manufacturers unveiled supersonic jets at this year’s Paris Air Show, but one suspects they will hardly be used commercially anytime soon. Even Boing’s Dreamliner feels as if it will never be used commercially even though it’s as close to production as you can be for an airplane.

According to Slate, flights today are actually slower than they were in the 70s and 80s because of rising fuel costs, there are more planes in the sky that at any time in history, commercial jets must slow down and give the right of way to corporate jets, and oddly enough the slower times are due slightly to airlines practice of block padding — juking their “on-time” stats by saying flights take longer than they actually do.

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