You may have heard of Sir Richard Branson’s newest endeavor: a super-sonic jet potentially able to travel from New York to London in three hours. The mogul behind Virgin brands (records, airlines, galactic, etc.) insists the idea will be a reality by the early 2020s.
The New York to London example would come with a hefty price tag, however: more than $5,000 per traveler. The initial sticker shock of that price has put many off to the idea, but when considering total travel expenses, it may end up being a wise decision.
Add ‘Em Up
As of this writing, no airline exists charging less than $2,000 for the international trip in our example. Flight time from New York to London is just under eight hours. Assuming the time spent getting to the airport, passing through security, and other travel-related tasks remain constant, that still leaves nearly five extra hours by using the super-sonic option.
Pleasure travelers can do a lot in five hours. For many, it’s the equivalent of one day of sight-seeing. What I mean to suggest is that visitors could, theoretically, “gain” an extra day of vacation going the super-sonic route. This means one less day of hotel, transportation, and food expenses. Now that $5,000 isn’t sounding so bad.
Further, provided the casual traveler isn’t prone to the effects of jet lag, it would be entirely possible — even with the time change — to make a quick visit (business or pleasure) to London and be back in New York in one day. Perhaps not ideal, but possible.
There are, of course, many yet unanswered questions about the idea, and it’s unlikely that the “early 2020s” time table could be realistically reached. But, as with driverless cars, the technology exists and the motivation to make the dream a reality is not going away.
by Eloise Khutaninyeava
Consumer Advocacy Editor