American Airlines New Supersonic Jets Could Slash Flight Times In Half

Many travelers find that their flights are taking too long these days, and American Airlines wants to speed things up.

The airline has entered into a deal with Boom Supersonic to purchase up to 20 of the manufacturer's Overture aircraft — and possibly an additional 40 at some point in the future. The agreement is similar to the deal that United struck with the company in June of 2021.

"We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers," said American's Chief Financial Officer, Derek Kerr, in the announcement, "Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers."

A flight in an Overture jet could cut cross-country flights — or any flight that passes over a large body of water — in half, with Boom claiming that a trip from Miami to London could take less than five hours. It doesn't quite attain the speeds of the Concorde, which was discontinued in 2003 primarily due to operating costs and dissuasive ticket prices, but the Overture would certainly put every other commercial aircraft's flight times to shame.

What this means for flyers

Being built to travel at Mach 1.7, or about 1,304 miles per hour (when traveling over water), the Overture would get passengers to their destinations much faster than the average commercial flight. Though one of its primary trade-offs is capacity, as Boom says the jet can only manage between 65 to 80 passengers at a time. That's roughly half of the commonly-used Airbus A320's 140 to 170 passenger capacity or the 149 to 220 maximum seating of the Boeing 737 series. Though on paper the Overture does boast more range — up to 4,250 nautical miles — than either of its mass transit contemporaries.

A ride in an Overture aircraft should also be just as safe as today's typical flights, with Boom on the hook to make sure the new plane meets the current industry standards. Additionally, the new models will also have to meet American's own requirements even before it delivers its first plane.

If all goes according to plan, Boom should begin rolling out manufactured Overtures sometime in 2025. It expects to start carrying passengers by 2029. So far nothing has been said about the availability of Overture flights to American Airline customers once it has the planes in hand, nor anything about ticket pricing.