The world’s longest flight now starts in India. Air India’s Delhi-to-San-Francisco service, which used to travel west in over the Atlantic, now heads east over the Pacific – and despite the distance being longer, the flight is actually quicker.

Why? Well, the redirected services are effectively pushed by 138 kph tailwinds, which allows aircraft to reach groundspeeds of 938 kph. Planes on the Atlantic route had to contend with 24 kph headwinds, which meant groundspeeds were limited to 776 kph.

“The Earth rotates from west to east, and winds flow in that direction too,” an Air India spokesperson told TNN. “Flying west means facing strong headwinds and flying east means getting strong tailwinds, which does the opposite.”

Air India’s new 15,100 km route – which beats the previous 14,203 km record held by Emirates’ Dubai-to-Auckland service – takes 15 hours and 55 minutes to reach San Francisco.

Image: Roderick Eime/Flickr CC BY 2.0