To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

What happened when commercial plane accidentally hit supersonic speeds faster than the speed of sound

What happened when commercial plane accidentally hit supersonic speeds faster than the speed of sound

The Virgin Atlantic plane accidentally topped 800 miles per hour.

Freak winds led passenger planes flying from the US toward the UK and Europe to go way, way faster than intended this month.

Huge winds in the Atlantic jet stream gave flights an enormous tailwind, one far more powerful than usual, which saw their speeds hit heights that were never really expected.

In fact, one Virgin Atlantic flight from Washington to London reportedly hit a top speed of over 800 miles per hour, which is well over the speed of sound. It's the sort of speed that hasn't been seen in passenger jet travel since the Concorde fleet retired back in 2003.

eejay62 / Getty

Sounds a bit scary, but it was good news for the passengers - not only did they arrive safe and sound, they were 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

In fact, even though it exceeded the speed of sound, experts say the plane technically didn't break the sound barrier. That metric is actually relative, and the air around the plane was also travelling really quickly - meaning the aircraft itself was actually moving at its normal cruise speed.

According to the US National Weather Service, some of those winds were as fast as a crazy 265 miles per hour, so the boost being given to airliners was significant.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we assess all factors involving weather including jet streams. Utilizing the strong tail winds associated with the jet stream increases aircraft fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and can benefit our customers with early arrivals to their destination. When planning the aircraft’s route and flight level, the safety and comfort of our customers and crew is always our top priority and is never compromised.”

Wind is often a factor in travel times and jet fuel usage, of course, which is why a two-way trip over the Atlantic generally doesn't have identical in-flight times despite very similar distances of travel.

Greg Bajor / Getty

The jet stream is generally baked into flight plans to cut down on fuel and power - but this shows that the weather can sometimes be unpredictable.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are plenty of scientists looking into the broad increase in windspeed averages in the Atlantic jet stream right now, and one very prominent theory is that it's all to do with climate change.

The winds are heavily related to cold and warmer air interacting, so as the planet's atmospheric temperature rises, it looks like these severe winds could become far more normal.

In fact, they could get much more intense, for all we know - which doesn't bode particularly well for turbulence-free travel, but could be brilliant for flight times.

Featured Image Credit: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / Contributor / Daniel Garrido/Getty