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I noticed that my flight going east to west took almost an hour longer than when coming back from west to east in continental US. What is the reason for this?

marked as duplicate by jpatokal, Doc, Flimzy, Nean Der Thal, Nate Eldredge Dec 24 '15 at 9:07

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  • I blame it on the wind (no, seriously - if the wind is blowing east to west, that will speed up travel in that direction, and slow it down in the other direction) – user2813274 Dec 24 '15 at 5:49
  • Note that it doesn't have to be that way and can also be the other way around. – Belle-Sophie Dec 24 '15 at 7:08

Wind affects how long a flight takes.

A jet plane travels at about 550 miles per hour. If you have a 100 mph head wind then your speed overland is around 450 miles per hour. If you have a 100 mph tail wind than your speed over land is about 650 miles per hour. Over the course of a 3600 mile or longer flight (about 6.5 hours without wind) the difference can be quite noticeable.

Furthermore, wind patterns can be seasonal. There are some flights that take 6 hours during part of the year and 9 hours during other parts of the year.

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