United Airlines Is Teaming Up with Boom Supersonic to Make Ultra-Fast Travel a Reality

United and Boom hope to make supersonic travel real and affordable in the near future.

Courtesy of Boom Supersonic

Supersonic travel is closer to being a reality (again) than you may have thought. Boom Supersonic, considered a leader in the world of high-speed travel, rolled out its XB1 aircraft in 2020 to demonstrate its plans for travel that's faster than the speed of light and cheaper than most other flights.

Now, the company has teamed up with United Airlines to get you where you want to be in no time at all, and that relatively soon.

Boom has plans to begin developing a new supersonic commercial jet called Overture. Commercial supersonic travel hasn't existed since the Concorde, which went out of business in 2003.

United announced that it would buy 15 of these planes, with the option of buying 35 more in the future. According to a release from Boom Supersonic, the company and United hope to have the plane in the air with passengers on board by 2029, though testing will begin much sooner.

Overture planes will be capable of traveling at Mach-1.7 speeds, which is nearly twice the speed of the fastest airplanes today, meaning that they could cut travel times in half. For example, you could get from New York to London in three and a half hours, or San Francisco to Tokyo in six. The aircraft will have all the comforts of traditional planes, including in-seat entertainment and touch-free technology, and will run on mostly sustainable fuel, a release from the company revealed. As some of you may recall, a major issue for Concorde was its immense negative impact on the environment. 

"United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today's advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom's vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry's most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience," Scott Kirby, CEO of United, said in a press release. "Our mission has always been about connecting people, and now working with Boom, we'll be able to do that on an even greater scale."

Boom Supersonic's current plane, the XB1, is designed to seat 65 to 88 people. Per the company's site, it travels at Mach-2.2 speeds. CEO Blake Scholl told CNN he hopes to get one of Boom Supersonic's aircraft in the air by 2026, though the company website suggests commercial air travel likely won't begin until closer to 2030. He also noted that keeping costs down was a focal point. Where Concorde was charging close to $12,000 for a round trip when it was still around, Boom Supersonic hopes to keep flight costs closer to $100. The company doesn't anticipate that it will be able to do that right out of the gate, however, so start saving your pennies now if you want to get on one of those early flights.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.