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Why flight from and to on the same destination varies in flying time?
Weather - General
Written by Capt Lim   
Sunday, 12 September 2010 13:37
 
Dear Captain Lim

May I know the reason why flight from and to on the same destination varies in flying time.
 
My husband said that if we follow the turning of the earth the flying time will be the correct time frame and against the turning result in taking longer to reach the destination.

I thought that the longer time to fly because of the head wind whereas if we fly along the tail wind we reach our destination on time.

We are betting. I hope I win

Thank you

Irene
 
Hi Irene,
 
You have won the bet!
 
I have answered this question in one in-flight magazine. I reproduce it below:
 
Why do some flights take longer to fly one direction on a route than it does returning in the opposite direction?
 
"You may be flying on an Airbus A340 whilst reading this article and yes, your cruising speed would probably be around 475 knots now. If you are a frequent traveler, you may notice on some days, it takes 13 ½ hours to fly from Kuala Lumpur to London and only 12 ½ hours to return home.
 
Why is this so? Very simple indeed! This is due to the strong westerly winds or jet streams which can be up to 150 knots or more in strength. During the winter seasons, there are always headwinds blowing against the plane. It is just like walking against a walkalator at the airport. If you want to go faster, get on the walkalator that is going the direction you are heading!
 
So when flying to London, one is usually affected by headwind and on the return flight; you have the benefit of a tailwind. It is indeed true that you can save up to one hour on the way home! Hence, planes normally arrive earlier than scheduled from London."

Effect of Jet Stream on an Airplane

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Comments (3)

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Why flight from and to on the same destination varies in flying time?
Does this apply to short haul flights.Suppose we say the distance is 1500 miles.
Daan , 06 Jul, 2012
Yes
Dana, depends. On a 1500 mile flight, probably, by 10 or so minutes.smilies/smiley.gif
Rahul , 15 Apr, 2015
time diference
1400 mile flight from east to west 1:13 pm to 2:22pm
return west to east 9:35am to 12:20pm why the big difference? both non stop
Tim , 14 May, 2017

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